Smug Alert: Orbitz shows Mac users higher priced hotels by default

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?

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