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]