Orbitz shows different travel data for Mac users

When you go to a travel website, you expect to see the same kinds of sales and information that anyone else sees when they visit the site. However, Orbitz is doing things a little differently. The Wall Street Journal reports that people who head to their website and use Mac-based PCs actually see different information than those who use a Windows PC.

Mac owners even see prices for hotels that are higher on Orbitz.com than those with a Windows PC. That's because Orbitz has determined that Mac owners apparently have more money and are willing to spend more to reserve a hotel. So far, no other travel website has revealed that they treat their Mac customers differently than anyone else.

An example is a search for a hotel in Miami Beach for two nights in July. Searching on a Mac showed more expensive choice on the first page of results that didn't show up when someone searched the site on a PC with the same requirements.

So far, Orbitz is keeping this "feature" to hotel booking but it could expand it to car and flight reservations if this new move is successful. The company's chief scientist Wai Gen Yee said, ""It would be nice to say they book more Porsches, but at this point we're only looking at hotels,"

Source: Wall Street Journal

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56 Comments

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Nashy said,
I would have thought this would be illegal?

How so? it would be no different than using IP data to work out your location then combining that with demographic data to work out the kinds of hotels that are within your price range based on the statistics they have for your area of residency. It is called targeted marketing and has been done for years.

I have a hackintosh and Obitz offered me a fantastic deal with the freedom to customize to my heart's content, but unfortunately I have to build the hotel myself.

'Recommending' the more expensive choice is practically the same as forcing you to buy it, as any retail management person knows. Product placement is everything, almost no one these days does research or any sort of critical thinking.

I think its quite clever and have no doubt this sort of thing happens all the time. Go to a car dealer in nice clothes or a fancy loaner car and see what prices they quote you vs going in a tshirt. It happens in every service industry.

And yes, it does mean Mac users are as a group more gullible, superficial and brainwashed, as is obvious from their purchase in the first place.

guessing you are young

Defcon said,
'Recommending' the more expensive choice is practically the same as forcing you to buy it, as any retail management person knows. Product placement is everything, almost no one these days does research or any sort of critical thinking.

I think its quite clever and have no doubt this sort of thing happens all the time. Go to a car dealer in nice clothes or a fancy loaner car and see what prices they quote you vs going in a tshirt. It happens in every service industry.

And yes, it does mean Mac users are as a group more gullible, superficial and brainwashed, as is obvious from their purchase in the first place.

Defcon said,
'Recommending' the more expensive choice is practically the same as forcing you to buy it, as any retail management person knows. Product placement is everything, almost no one these days does research or any sort of critical thinking.

I think its quite clever and have no doubt this sort of thing happens all the time. Go to a car dealer in nice clothes or a fancy loaner car and see what prices they quote you vs going in a tshirt. It happens in every service industry.

And yes, it does mean Mac users are as a group more gullible, superficial and brainwashed, as is obvious from their purchase in the first place.

So tell me, when is Microsoft going to fix up Windows - you know, to finally move the whole operating system UI over to using Direct2D/DirectWrite? to have a consistent user interface? to have have a directory structure that doesn't place files in random locations? a system that allows me to uninstall things without leaving a trail of crap spewed around my hard disk?

Ever though that maybe we Mac users buy a Mac to use Mac OS X? it is amazing how critics of Mac's never have seemed to use a Mac for any more than a few minutes and then get frustrated because "it isn't working like Windows".

Read the original article guys. They are not charging more, they are "recommending" the more expensive ones.

just because i own a few apple products does not mean i have tons of monies on hand. i am frivolous, look for the best deals for my buck, cheap and i do not use orbitz.

I never use the default sort order on any webpage anyhow.
I always sort by price after I use the filters to show what I want.
I thought this was the norm?

What about Windows on a Mac. Do you get the middle-class results?

WTF is this? Im changing my user agent to Linux. You can't go poorer than that.

PS; there's a different between showing the more expensive choices first, than actually charging you more if you are using a mac. which is it?

Julius Caro said,
WTF is this? Im changing my user agent to Linux. You can't go poorer than that.

PS; there's a different between showing the more expensive choices first, than actually charging you more if you are using a mac. which is it?


I agree. Parts of the article seem to imply one thing, while other parts seem to imply the other.

Mac owners even see prices for hotels that are higher on Orbitz.com than those with a Windows PC.

That line sounds to me as if they are showing Mac users a higher price for the same hotel than they are showing Windows users. Maybe it is just poorly worded.

roadwarrior said,

That line sounds to me as if they are showing Mac users a higher price for the same hotel than they are showing Windows users. Maybe it is just poorly worded.

Yep that's inaccurate. Same prices for the same hotels with the same search criteria, irrespective of platform. Orbitz is simply showing default results in a different order, with better and costlier rooms shown higher up for Mac users.

Tech Star said,
I guess I should run Linux now. Get a bigger discount because they will know I'm poor

More like they will know you are an intellectually superior species. They will know you are poor when your copy of Windows is pirated.

recursive said,

More like they will know you are an intellectually superior species. They will know you are poor when your copy of Windows is pirated.

Wow -- not touching any of that....

Tech Star said,
I guess I should run Linux now. Get a bigger discount because they will know I'm poor

I tried that and Orbitz gave me listings for tent communities instead of hotels.

Enron said,

I tried that and Orbitz gave me listings for tent communities instead of hotels.

Were you looking for a hotel in the middle of the desert?

No worries, apple can use that as a new line when they release their next os; 'Our system renders web pages properly and correctly whilst windows doesn`t'
...Cue 'you`re browsing it wrong' now...

swanlee said,
That's freaking funny,

The Apple tax extents to other products now to.


Almost as "freaking funny" as your poor comprehension.

Quoting 9to5Mac:

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.

Manish said,

Almost as "freaking funny" as your poor comprehension.

Quoting 9to5Mac:

Like I said Apple tax is now extending to other products,

swanlee said,

Like I said Apple tax is now extending to other products,


How embarrassing. You failed to understand, yet again.

I'll make this easier for you:
There is no price difference in hotels for PC or Mac users on their site, but more expensive hotels are shown more prominently to Mac users as they're more likely to spend more on hotel rooms. If you still don't understand, it's okay; I'll just roll my eyes at you and move on.

Manish said,

How embarrassing. You failed to understand, yet again.

I'll make this easier for you:
There is no price difference in hotels for PC or Mac users on their site, but more expensive hotels are shown more prominently to Mac users as they're more likely to spend more on hotel rooms. If you still don't understand, it's okay; I'll just roll my eyes at you and move on.

Yep Apple Tax, They should charge more at starbucks for people with apple bumper stickers.

Manish said,

How embarrassing. You failed to understand, yet again.

I'll make this easier for you:
There is no price difference in hotels for PC or Mac users on their site, but more expensive hotels are shown more prominently to Mac users as they're more likely to spend more on hotel rooms. If you still don't understand, it's okay; I'll just roll my eyes at you and move on.

Are you angry at someone over the internet?

swanlee said,

Yep Apple Tax, They should charge more at starbucks for people with apple bumper stickers.

It's actually quite sad that you don't understand what the article is trying to say...

Astra.Xtreme said,

It's actually quite sad that you don't understand what the article is trying to say...

Why on earth cant you understand what the article & astra are saying ? NOBODY is changing the prices ! They are simply adjusting the results do mac people wont see the bottom of the barrel stuff & maybe a few extra Ritz Carltons -
I wish I could use that head banging against the wall emoticon right now....

Manish said,

How embarrassing. You failed to understand, yet again.

I'll make this easier for you:
There is no price difference in hotels for PC or Mac users on their site, but more expensive hotels are shown more prominently to Mac users as they're more likely to spend more on hotel rooms. If you still don't understand, it's okay; I'll just roll my eyes at you and move on.

Now this is funny, as you are also failing to get the point of OP, which is a valid argument.

I can only note a portion of the point, the other part that is funny you will have to realize on your own.

If people are in a hurry or gullible, they will pick the higher rates without looking further to see how the results are provided. And if they are Apple product owners, there is a pattern of the psychological model of them being a bit gullible and impulsive. (Don't make me find the studies, that is something you can Bing/Google yourself.)

thenetavenger said,

Now this is funny, as you are also failing to get the point of OP, which is a valid argument.

I can only note a portion of the point, the other part that is funny you will have to realize on your own.

If people are in a hurry or gullible, they will pick the higher rates without looking further to see how the results are provided. And if they are Apple product owners, there is a pattern of the psychological model of them being a bit gullible and impulsive. (Don't make me find the studies, that is something you can Bing/Google yourself.)

well if you re-read the 1st sentence... "agency is starting to show them different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than Windows visitors see."
You are listing a study which shows what is common sense, but Orbitz is skewing results - you are statinh the reasoning behind it.... SO - THAT is funnier...err.... well I'd say you know what I mean - but I guess you dont.

Reading Comprehension 101 - you're doing it wrong

De.Bug said,

Are you angry at someone over the internet?


Nope. I just normally sound sarcastic and harsh, even more so when responding to something or someone stupid. Even if I was angry at someone over the internet, why would that be weird? Can words on the internet not influence emotion?

thenetavenger said,

Now this is funny, as you are also failing to get the point of OP, which is a valid argument.

If people are in a hurry or gullible, they will pick the higher rates without looking further to see how the results are provided. And if they are Apple product owners, there is a pattern of the psychological model of them being a bit gullible and impulsive. (Don't make me find the studies, that is something you can Bing/Google yourself.)


Which OP? swanlee's? His argument is not valid as, quite simply, there is no Apple tax on Orbitz.

Also, here's a tip: don't just make **** up and then tell me to go find the relevant facts to back you up. The onus is on you to provide evidence for your claims. While I'm refusing to do your search, here's an article (http://news.cnet.com/2100-1040-943519.html) discussing Nielsen/NetRatings findings that suggest that Mac users are actually smarter/better educated than PC users. (Note: The reason that I present the latter article is that while these marketing studies can be helpful in marketing, they cannot be used to definitively determine user characteristics or personality. Alternatively, feel free to believe that as a Mac user, I'm more likely to be richer and smarter while spending time in flashier hotels.)

I'll go back now to what you said prior to "there is a pattern of the psychological model..." (which didn't make sense by the way). Again, we have more BS. Regardless of platform, Orbitz presents hotels based on "Best Values" by default, therefore the first hotel, which is listed at the top, isn't always the cheapest on either platform. If people are in a hurry or are gullible, they'll end up spending more whether they are on a Mac or a PC. If users proceed to sort results by "Lowest Price", they'd get the same order of listings, irrespective of the platform. If users want to look at the default-ordered results based on "Best Values", then perhaps Mac (and PC) users will benefit from this strategy.

To sum it all up for you and the others trying to draw inaccurate conclusions:
What Orbitz has found: Mac users tend to select better (4/5 star hotels) and more pricier rooms.
What Orbitz has done: 4/5 star hotels offering pricier rooms are listed slightly higher for certain locations, when the results are displayed with the default sort option.
What Orbitz has not done: 1) Shoved all the expensive hotels/rooms at the top of the default search page. 2) Increased rates for Mac users.

I can't be bothered to discuss this trivial matter further because people are apparently starting to worry that I'm getting angry at people over the internet.

swanlee said,
That's freaking funny,

The Apple tax extents to other products now to.

The average windows users = Affordable, and with a lot of features, i'm in.
The average osx user = you get what you pay for.

err... What?? I have a Mac?? I am not rich at all... buying a Mac or any Hardware is a one off luxary item that you buy with your hard earned money, just because you own a Mac doesn't mean your rich and have lots of money!

SuperKid said,
err... What?? I have a Mac?? I am not rich at all... buying a Mac or any Hardware is a one off luxary item that you buy with your hard earned money, just because you own a Mac doesn't mean your rich and have lots of money!

Orbitz has the statistics to back it up. You have anecdotal evidence.

rfirth said,

Orbitz has the statistics to back it up. You have anecdotal evidence.

Again their statistical model is flawed based on 'averages' without looking at user base.

If Apple users are 10-15% of the entire user model, then take the top 10-15% of PC users with high incomes/wealth and they are wasting their time, and just angering Mac users for no real reason.

Group A - 100 people spending $50
Group B - 1000 people spending $25
The top 10% of Group B is 100 people spending $150

This skews the model rather quickly, and is a loss in targeted marketing by using a general model without the granularity needed to have any real world return.

ir0nw0lf said,
Bait-and-switch or deceptive advertising type class action lawsuit in 3..2..1..lulz

Or, "Hey, looks like you use overpriced hardware, we'll show you the more expensive items first." That's all it is.

ir0nw0lf said,
Bait-and-switch or deceptive advertising type class action lawsuit in 3..2..1..lulz

This isn't anything illegal. It's the same as if I run a shoe store, and someone walks in wearing a full suit, I'm going to take him over to the expensive dress shoes first. If someone comes in with a plain t-shirt and shorts, I'll take him over to the cheaper walking shoes.

They both have full access to the entire store, I'm simply recommending them to the area that they most likely want. If they don't want it, they all have the power to do whatever they want.

andrewbares said,

This isn't anything illegal. It's the same as if I run a shoe store, and someone walks in wearing a full suit, I'm going to take him over to the expensive dress shoes first. If someone comes in with a plain t-shirt and shorts, I'll take him over to the cheaper walking shoes.

They both have full access to the entire store, I'm simply recommending them to the area that they most likely want. If they don't want it, they all have the power to do whatever they want.

Close, but no.. Because if you take the person to the expensive shoes first, the cheep ones are still there, and they are able to purchase them.. This way they are changing the prices removing the choice..

How would you like it if the cost of gas at the pump changed depending on what type of care you pull up in ?

Now I don't know if it's illegal, the way they are doing it, but it's gonna be at minimum walking a fine line..

This article is different from the other one I saw, if as it seems in this, they are just re-arranging the prices, then ya, that's not bad.. I mean is a ****ty thing to do, but the choice is still there.

Ryoken said,
Close, but no.. Because if you take the person to the expensive shoes first, the cheep ones are still there, and they are able to purchase them.. This way they are changing the prices removing the choice..

How would you like it if the cost of gas at the pump changed depending on what type of care you pull up in ?

Now I don't know if it's illegal, the way they are doing it, but it's gonna be at minimum walking a fine line..

This article is different from the other one I saw, if as it seems in this, they are just re-arranging the prices, then ya, that's not bad.. I mean is a ****ty thing to do, but the choice is still there.

It didn't say they were changing prices, it said they were showing different examples. So andrewbares' example holds.

Sly_Ripper said,

Or, "Hey, looks like you use overpriced hardware, we'll show you the more expensive items first." That's all it is.

Its not a filter, its the same actual item.

ccoltmanm said,
That is disgusting.

Not really, it's common sense. Just like if I buy a BMW instead of a Toyota, I am more likely to have the money to buy a 5-star hotel vs a 3-star one.

It's based on AVERAGES. And on average, a Mac user has more money to spend on luxorious items vs someone who bought a $350 PC. They don't care about YOU, they care about the majority.

andrewbares said,

Not really, it's common sense. Just like if I buy a BMW instead of a Toyota, I am more likely to have the money to buy a 5-star hotel vs a 3-star one.

It's based on AVERAGES. And on average, a Mac user has more money to spend on luxorious items vs someone who bought a $350 PC. They don't care about YOU, they care about the majority.


Agreed.

ccoltmanm said,
That is disgusting.
You can always scroll to the cheap stuff if your cheap. If you went out your way for a Mac... you're probably not cheap.

laserfloyd said,
You can always scroll to the cheap stuff if your cheap. If you went out your way for a Mac... you're probably not cheap.

This logic quickly fails when you average in people with money that are not susceptible to Apple's marketing tax.

The last few PCs I have purchased for my personal use have been almost 2x the price of the top Macs because I can afford higher end equipment.


thenetavenger said,

This logic quickly fails when you average in people with money that are not susceptible to Apple's marketing tax.

The last few PCs I have purchased for my personal use have been almost 2x the price of the top Macs because I can afford higher end equipment.



Yeah, this is not the average though, and it's not like PC users get the cheapest of the cheapest stuff thrown at them.

Also, I guess if you're into comparing results, you mostly end up selecting your own sorting preferences and price ranges, so most people won't really care about default view. (at least those that are really into checking out what they can get)

This is a DEFAULT view, not a filter that actually decides what you're able to view at all, so calm down people.

GS:mac

andrewbares said,

Not really, it's common sense. Just like if I buy a BMW instead of a Toyota, I am more likely to have the money to buy a 5-star hotel vs a 3-star one.

It's based on AVERAGES. And on average, a Mac user has more money to spend on luxorious items vs someone who bought a $350 PC. They don't care about YOU, they care about the majority.


Wasn't there a survey done that showed people who bought macs are in debt? I really wouldn't call that having more money to spend on luxurious items.

andrewbares said,

Not really, it's common sense. Just like if I buy a BMW instead of a Toyota, I am more likely to have the money to buy a 5-star hotel vs a 3-star one.

It's based on AVERAGES. And on average, a Mac user has more money to spend on luxorious items vs someone who bought a $350 PC. They don't care about YOU, they care about the majority.

You do realize this is a different price for the SAME hotel/room. It is not 1 car or another. It's you and me going into a dealership and getting different prices on the SAME EXACT car.

See the difference?