What does your computer brand tell about your spending habits? Apparently, mac users’ preference tells online travel booking agent, Orbitz, how much you’re willing to spend on a hotel.
In the recent article, “Is Orbitz steering Mac users toward pricier hotels?,” by Mallory Simon, Orbitz has allegedly created an algorithm to direct Mac users to higher priced hotels. Orbitz’s CEO, Barney Harford explained, “What we have found is … that Mac users are 40% more likely to book four- or five-star hotels than PC users,” Harford said. “That lines up with (the fact that) Mac users are typically more willing to spend more money on higher-end computers.” Harford, however, has denied the allegations that the company is blatantly charging higher prices to Mac computer users. Instead, Harford believes that Orbitz is creating a more customized experience for users.
This experimental process has already created a consumer backlash for Orbitz. Many Mac computer users feel there is no correlation between how much they are willing to spend on a hotel versus the brand of computer they own. Disgruntled users are voicing their discontent via social media. And Orbitz’s competitors have noticed. Many have already released statements stating they will not treat Mac computer users differently. Stay tuned to see what happens next…
Read an excerpt from the article.
Online marketers have long culled information about users in order to better target ads. And studies show that consumers are indeed targeted in different ways based on their devices. You may see different promoted products on many sites depending on whether you’re using a mobile app or a desktop.
Marketing analysts, reacting to the Orbitz story, say the thinking is that if you’re willing to shell out extra money for an iPad or MacBook, you may have more disposable income. They believe that Orbitz may be trying to skew their results for Mac users based on this perception.
Orbitz, on the other hand, says it’s trying to provide Mac users with the best hotel recommendations based on what other Mac users are choosing. Orbitz data show that Mac users are likely to spend $20 more a night on a hotel than PC users, on average, Harford said.
Harford said his company is in no way charging Mac users more for the same hotel as PC users.
“That would be absolute nonsense,” he told CNN.
Harford said customers can always ignore the recommended options and search specifically by price.