Orbitz Thinks Mac Users Want To Pay More For Hotels

Travel reservation site Orbitz says it has data showing that customers who use Apple computers to book their hotel rooms have a tendency to go for pricier rooms, so Orbitz has just gone ahead and decided that when Mac users visit Orbitz, they will see more expensive options first.

“We had the intuition, and we were able to confirm it based on the data,” the Orbitz Chief Technology Officer tells the Wall Street Journal about the company’s decision to push Mac users toward higher-end hotel rooms.

He says that the data shows the average Mac user spends $20 to $30 more a night on hotels than those who book rooms using Windows-based PCs. Mac users are also 40% more likely to book a 4- or 5-star hotel, claims Orbitz.

Orbitz stresses that Mac users are not being asked to pay a higher rate than Windows users for the same room; instead, the default listings will feature ritzier rooms than you’d first see when booking on a non-Mac computer. Users, regardless of operating system, will still have the option of sorting by price.

Just like the Journal, we did some side-by-side comparisons on Mac and Windows laptops to see how different the results were.

Picking a random weekend in July, we looked at rooms available in the following cities:

LAS VEGAS: No differences between the first page of listings.
SAN FRANCISCO: Same hotels listed on both first pages, but not in the same order. Mac listings seemed to show slight favoritism to more expensive hotels.
MIAMI BEACH: Again, priority appears to be going to higher-priced offerings. The third listing on the Mac page is for $147/night at a 4-star hotel, compared to the $82/night hotel listed in the same spot on the PC. That listing doesn’t show up on the Mac until several offerings later.
CHICAGO: No differences found.

Orbitz says that Mac/PC is only one of several pieces of information used to determine which listings you see. The company also uses your location and your previous browsing history on the site to determine which hotels to show, so you may see different results than we found during our brief test.

It should be noted that while iPhones and iPads enjoy healthy market shares in the smartphone and tablet categories, Macs still only account for about 10% of computers in the U.S.

On Orbitz, Mac Users Steered to Pricier Hotels [WSJ.com]


Edit Your Comment

  1. qwickone says:

    I see no problem with this. They are using their market data to offer their customers what they think the customers will want most, near the top of their search. Isn’t that the point of targeted advertising? As long as everyone has access to the same info and can easily sort, their targeted search order is just that, targeted.

    • Mambru says:

      If I use Linux will they sent me straight to the roach motel?

      • elangomatt says:

        Maybe they just give you a link to couchsurfing.org

        • tanyaandkarl says:

          No, they give you a cord of wood, a box of nails, and the address of a guy who’ll loan you a hammer and a saw. Also, if the guy’s not busy and sees you’ve already got a good start, he’ll probably help you finish building the shack. After you’re done, you leave the shack and the next person who needs a place to sleep will add a door and a bed. 2 years later, there will be a little cottage made out of random trash that people found on the side of the road. It will be warm, clean and cozy, but you’ll have to climb an adjacent tree to get in because the door is on the roof.

      • Mr_Magoo says:

        No, if you use Linux, Orbitz will refer you to Home Depot, where you can buy everything you need to build your own hotel.

    • tanyaandkarl says:

      I completely agree–
      Mac users go for the style and dig the shiny-shiny. Not the “cheapest that will get by”.
      You don’t try to sell a KMart dress to the lady wearing Prada shoes.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        I’ll bet you that if you took that K-Mart dress and put an Alexander Wang label on it and bumped the price up to $2999.99 dollars, the Prada women would be scrambling all over each other to buy it.

    • MeowMaximus says:

      Well any CrApple fanboi can clearly afford to pay more, so I don’t have a problem with this.

  2. CaraD says:

    I do not really see an issue with this. They are not increasing the price, merely altering the order of display to better target a demographic. People aren’t forced to select the very first listing, or even a listing on the first page.

    When I use orbitz, I generally filter by distance to a destination and go from there.

  3. Starfury says:

    Well Mac users are willing to pay more for computers….

    • Megladon says:

      Thats what i thought, if i know your willing to spend more for less of a computer, i’m going to try to get all the money i can out of you when I sell you something.

      • airren says:

        You just keep repeating that over and over. Feel better? Thought so.

      • MMD says:

        And if I know that you’re making ridiculous assumptions based on what you think you know about me, I won’t give you a dime.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        So cute those first two replies here…you just keep drinking that koolaid over and over. Feel better? Thought so.

        • MMD says:

          Thanks, as always, for proving my point that Apple haters are just as compulsive as fanbois.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            That statement would only be valid in the case that both of our positions were equal. That’s not the case…the position of non-Apple consumers is based on rational analysis of the available options. Apple purchases are utterly irrational and have no basis in any kind of analysis at all. Not equal. One right, one wrong. The earth is not flat.

  4. SerenityDan says:

    If you tell it to sort by price does it still list the pricier ones at the top? If yes then I have a problem with this. Otherwise who cares.

    • penuspenuspenus says:

      Yep. It all depends on who can get or give orbit the most money. If you sort by price check Page 2. I can almost guarantee the small business non corporate hotel is there despite pricong. Orbitz also penalizes hotels for different reasons that will also dump you off page 1 no matter the search criteria.

  5. Delicious Spam is delicious says:

    Orbitch can go suck it.

  6. CrazyEyed says:

    I don’t see anything wrong in taking advantage of poeple who are already hypnotized with an Apple logo. If they are as gullible and willing to shell out lots of green for Apple computers, whats wrong with marketing premium vacations to those very same people?

  7. Tim says:

    Don’t some browsers have a setting where you can essentially tell the website you’re on a different kind of device?

    • elangomatt says:

      Yeah, on Android anyway. Would Apple even allow something like that in their ecosystem? A quick google search didn’t show it being all that fast, but I don’t really care enough to look too hard.

      • Martha Gail says:

        It’s not difficult at all. There’s a handful of websites out there that I couldn’t view on my Mac, the most important one being where I logged in to see my paystub at work, and I would just change the user agent, log in, and change it back when I was done. The ones that didn’t work always seemed to be corporate sites.

  8. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Considering that the stats support it, and they’ve already purchased an overpriced item, they’re more likely to do so again. It’s the convenience tax.

  9. Blueskylaw says:

    Somehow, someway, I knew that Apple fanbois would eventually pay for their hubris.

  10. ferozadh says:

    I’m sure Mac users don’t “want” to pay more, but they’re definitely more prone to suggestion.

  11. MMD says:

    Insert a different arbitrary distinguishing factor and people would howl about this.

    Instead, most of the posters here have used this story as yet another excuse to bash Macs and Mac users. Thereby proving that they are just as irrationally biased as the Mac “fanbois” they have such disdain for.

    • ferozadh says:

      Empirical evidence is not irrational. It just adds to the profile.

      • MMD says:

        A) You’ve provided no evidence.
        B) Your opinion =/= evidence.
        C) You’re profiling people based on your opinion.
        D) You’ve proven my point. Thanks!

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          The internet is awash in information about how ridiculously poor a decision to buy a Mac is. You people don’t get to keep pretending it isn’t, and it’s not the job of non-morons to continuously list them all out for you.

          • MMD says:

            A) Everyone’s computing needs and desires are different. There is not one single answer. People get to make their own decisions.
            B) “The internet” is not a monolithic place in which there is one and only one point of view represented.
            C) Every post I’ve every read by you is angry. Why?
            D) Why do you care what other people use? Use what works for you and get over yourself.
            D) You, more than anyone else, prove my main point: Mac haters are just as fervent and unreasonable as the “fanbois” they love to bash.

            • MMD says:

              D = E. Edit button?

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              A. Yeah they are, fundamentally. There is categorically nothing a Mac does better than anything else. There is no valid reason for making a Mac decision, and nearly infinite reasons not to.

              B. The internet is awash in information about how poor a decision to by a Mac is. You don’t get to keep pretending you’ve never been made aware of these reasons, and it’s not the job of rational people to continually list them point-by-point. You lost the argument 15 years ago. Get over it.

              C. For the same reason people get angry when confronted by someone selling homeopathic “cures” or playing 3-card monte on the street. It’s a scam, and people perpetuating the scam deserve to be gotten mad at.

              D. Why do I care if people get homeopathic “therapy” instead of actual medicine? Why do I care if people believe the earth is flat instead of round? Why do I care if my neighbor beats his dog? Because it’s wrong…that’s why I care.

              D the Second. As noted above, that statement would only be true if our two viewpoints were equivalent. They’re not…my position is correct, based on rational analysis of readily available information as has been widely available for a very long time. Your position is demonstrably incorrect, based on said information. When you see someone doing something stupid, if you do/say nothing, you are giving tacit approval to their stupid behavior. I wish to stop stupid behavior when I see it. Therefore, I care, and I speak.

          • Portlandia says:

            Right, I’m so glad you referenced all them for us. only thing worse than a fanboy is a basher who does nothing but spew hate without any support.

            My Mac and all my apple products work amazing for what I need. They work out of the box with minimal to zero intervention and outperform any PC I’ve ever owned in functionality and utility.

            I don’t care that they cost more, price is not an issue for me. If I did, I would also point out that apple products hold resale value at about 3 times what any other PC does. So while it may cost more upfront I get far more when I resell it 2 years from now closing part of the price gap.

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              “…spew hate without any support.”

              Like the other Macolyte up there, you also don’t get to pretend the world hasn’t been presenting you with voluminous data showing how poor a Mac purchase decision is. Not my job to keep listing everything out. You’re like an antivaxxer who keeps insisting that he’s never been shown any data that his viewpoint is wrong, when it most clearly has been shown false. Stop it and accept reality.

              “My Mac and all my apple products work amazing for what I need.”

              Sure they do. So would anything else.

              “They work out of the box with minimal to zero intervention and outperform any PC I’ve ever owned in functionality and utility.”

              That’s a falsehood. Pure and simple.

              “I don’t care that they cost more, price is not an issue for me. If I did, I would also point out that apple products hold resale value at about 3 times what any other PC does. So while it may cost more upfront I get far more when I resell it 2 years from now closing part of the price gap.”

              That proves nothing other than the fact that people are not only stupid enough to overpay for a new Mac, but they’re also stupid enough to overpay for a used Mac. As always, you’ve said nothing at all.

  12. Phildogger says:

    Been waiting years to say this… Buy a PC. Whenever there is any article on Consumerist about windows, PC, Microsoft, Bill Gates, Android, etc, I can count on seeing the usual “Buy a Mac” posts. Turnabout is fair play, and all that…

    • MMD says:

      How about just “Buy what suits your needs and don’t worry about what others buy”? Just about anything else becomes a pissing contest.

  13. Kuri says:

    Eh, maybe they just assume that Mac users have a ton more disposable income.

    I mean, they own a Mac.

  14. The Colonel says:

    It’s true. I use a PC and I try to get whatever priceline will give me for 30 bucks a night. My wife, the Mac user insists on the much more expensive hotels.

  15. Professor59 says:

    Mac users are well known as overspenders. Check out a golf catalog and really see who marketers considers spending idiots.

  16. Bryan Price says:

    I’m sure some people are outraged, but it sounds like no big deal to me.

    If you’re price conscious, you’re going to sort by that anyway, and which platform you’re on doesn’t affect that.

  17. balthisar says:

    I’m a Mac user, but not a fanboi. I’ve been using Macs since the late 80’s — you know, since before they were considered “cool.” Trust me, they’re a bargain today by the standards of 1990!

    I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that in addition to Macs I also prefer Levi’s to house brand, Lincoln to Ford, and (of course) a nice hotel instead of a Motel 6. I still fly economy, though!

    Targeting advertising is completely normal. Look at (for example) the ads in Wired versus the ads in People.

  18. Bickle says:

    Orbitz know that Apple customers are used to paying 30-300% markups for the same goods that are stylish and pretty. So why not jack them on other things?
    A fool and his money…..