Mac Users Paying More at Orbitz?

Macs are more expensive than PCs and tend to be used by a more rarefied and appealing demographics (better educated, more disposable income), so it’s inevitable that online shopping by Mac users is different than online shopping by PC users. Orbitz noticed that the people accessing their site from Macs pay, on average, 30% more than people accessing from PCs, and are 40% more likely to book 4- and 5-star hotels.

You really didn’t think that data like that would remain unexploited, did you?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Orbitz is using basic tracking information to steer people towards vacations based on data like computer type and browsing habits. They aren’t quoting different prices for the same hotel (yet), but they are listing more expensive hotels first. The user can reorder this ranking by price (lowest to highest, highest to lowest), but of course there the first items in any list are the ones that draw the most attention. (Most people on Google never make it past the first page of search results.)

As the recession impacts companies (Orbitz lost $37 million last year) expect to see them reaching for more “creative” (ie: creepy and privacy-invading) methods to improve their bottom line. Most users are completely unaware of how much information can be extracted by data mining. which can determine browsing habits, OS, and other information every time you go to a web site.

Read the whole report at the Wall Street Journal.

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Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • victor

    I would suspect that most people who would buy a Mac over a PC are big on convenience and light on shopping around; in order to buy a PC these days you do have to do practically months of research whereas if you want a Mac, you pretty much pick your (over)price(d) range and that’s it. They’re more likely to want to buy the first thing they’re shown than spend hours obsessively tweaking and shaving that last 2-4% off the final cost.

    I personally don’t find what Orbitz is doing to be all that creepy — they’re using readily available information to provide tailor-made choices more in line with their customers’ buying habits. In retail, we used to call that convenience. At any rate, in the case of Orbitz, at least you have the choice NOT to use their site.

  • elGaucho

    I prefer PC(and linux) because it offers better solutions for the work that I do. I would assume this to be likely for many PC users. So a larger number of PC users are using it for work than Mac users. People using PC’s for work are probably less likely to buy expensive vacation packages because it isn’t practical for work travel. I am not suggesting this IS the case but I would like to see how MAC vs PC expenses on Orbitz compare to work vs home on orbitz.

  • nitnot

    lol … the wealthy are expected to pay more … sounds FAIR to me!