Business, Economics and Jobs

Orbitz steers Mac users to pricier options


The Wall Street Journal revealed that Orbitz, the online travel company, provided pricier options to Mac users than PC users, based on a study that suggested they generally pay 30 percent more for hotel rooms.


Justin Sullivan

Owning a MacBook may cost you even after you've bought your computer.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the online travel agency Orbitz found that people who used Mac computers spent 30 percent more a night on hotels.

It then decided to show Mac users different, and sometimes more expensive, options for travel as compared to those shown to PC users.

"Orbitz executives confirmed that the company is experimenting with showing different hotel offers to Mac and PC visitors, but said the company isn't showing the same room to different users at different prices. They also pointed out that users can opt to rank results by price," said The Journal.

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The Journal noted that this type of online targeting will likely become more common as sites try to use people's browsing data to boost sales.

The New York Times, in a February article, explored how companies track their customers habits in order to improve marketing to them. It noted, "Almost every major retailer, from grocery chains to investment banks to the US Postal Service, has a 'predictive analytics' department devoted to understanding not just consumers’ shopping habits but also their personal habits, so as to more efficiently market to them."

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CNET noted that from an analytics perspective, the targeted pricing may not be such a bad idea. The mistake, it said, was in Orbitz revealing its strategy.

Forbes predicted that Mac users will likely take their travel business elsewhere, to sites like Priceline and Expedia, which have both confirmed that they do not separate users based on operating systems.

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