The Wall Street Journal reported that travel-recommendation website Orbitz discovered that those of us who own a Mac are spending as much as $20 to $30 more a night on hotel rooms than PC users on average. That is a whopping 30 percent difference, and the smart folks over at Orbitz are looking to take advantage by changing what listings they show Mac users.
According to the WSJ, Orbitz has a new platform that tracks its visitors habits to recommend a room to match their spending habits, which can be oh-so expensive for those who own a Mac. The company is currently experimenting with a platform that shows hotel rooms matching a Mac user’s spending taste a little better, but Orbitz executives stressed that it is not showing the same room to different people for a different price. For example, the WSJ found listings for a Baton Rouge hotel room were 13 percent more expensive on a search from a Mac compared to a PC. In essence, Mac users are shown the nicer rooms.
(Update: UK retailler Tescos is taking it one step further)
In a Forrester research note released last October, the firm noted that Mac users are falling into the “power laptop user” range, or people who work 45 hours a week on average and have a solid 44 percent more income. They put it: “Most of the Macs today are being freewheeled into the office by executives, top sales reps, and other workaholics.” I certainly think that stands true, because owning an Apple product is an expensive investment. The lowest priced Mac laptop costs $999, which certainly is not cheap and not something everyone can buy. Despite the high price, you are buying a quality product.
To be clear, Orbitz is not putting an “Apple Tax” on the price of hotels. It is just defaulting the higher-end stuff to Mac users, because Orbitz believes Mac users are more likely to choose higher-end hotels.
It is a risky strategy and may put some people off, however. Moreover, as Mac users, it is very easy to get smug about something like this. But does it make good business sense?
Orbitz is not the only website online that is tracking your every move to better serve up content. Popular email service Gmail is very open about tracking to serve up better ads inside of emails, and even Facebook has been found to do it a ton through cookies. In a way, this could be marked as a good thing. Viewing more relevant ads may be more interesting to the user. However, in the case of a pricier hotel room, I think that is up to opinion. Luckily, Orbitz still makes its “list by pricing” feature available. If you do not like Orbitz tactics, the company’s rivals Expedia and Priceline do not look at whether customers are a PC or Mac user when giving travel recommendations. An executive of the parent company (Expedia and Priceline are both owned by Sagamore) said to the WSJ: “That’s incredible, but I wouldn’t want to miss out on PC users.”
RT @rajupp: Logged into Orbitz with my HTC Wildfire and it asked me to stay put at home—
Mahendra Palsule (@ScepticGeek) June 26, 2012
Orbitz could also potentially track Mac users to recommend flights and car rentals. Car rentals could be huge, because it could offer the more expensive cars to Mac users who are willing to spend a little more money. I wouldn’t be surprised if Orbitz is not the only company checking who is browsing with which operating system. Interestingly, along with personal wealth, Mac users have also recently been found to be more fashionable.
Check out the infographic below:
Image via John Topley