Looking to book a deal online for a long weekend getaway? Perhaps you better use a PC and not a Mac, if you deal with Orbitz Travel to book a hotel, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal has found that Orbitz Travel offers pricier hotels to Mac users who book online than it does to PC users doing the same. Google Orbitz, and the first hit is orbitz.com., with the preface, "Orbitz Travel: Airline Tickets, Cheap Hotels, Car Rentals, Vacations ...Book cheap airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rentals, vacations and travel deals on Orbitz. Get our cheapest airfare and hotel deals or a cash refund...."
In fairness, The Wall Street Journal report indicated, as Orbitz chief exec Barney Harford has been busy reiterating in USA Today and elsewhere since the story was published, that room for room the prices are the same to Mac and PC users. It's just that the rooms at the head of the list on a Mac are more expensive rooms than those on a PC. Mac users can still make an additional click to sort rooms by price.
Since Orbitz's Harford joined the company in 2009, he has made data mining a priority. Harford, who was formerly with online travel booking company Expedia, soon hired experience statisticians with backgrounds from eBay Inc. and Google Inc. Their intuition that Mac users would pay more for hotel rooms was born out by research.
The analytics team found that some hotels much more likely to be booked by Mac users. The Orbitz researchers have discovered that Mac users spend $20 to $30 more per night. Given that the average hotel booking on their site is approximately $100, this is a significant boost in income for Orbitz and the hotels it books. Mac users also, according to Orbitz chief statistician, Wai Gen Yee, are 40 per cent more inclined to book a four or a five star hotel, and even if they book the same hotel as a PC user, have a propensity to book more expensive rooms.
Those hotels popping up first on Orbitz are about 11 percent more expensive offerings on a Mac. The Journal quoted data from Forrester Research which indicates the average adult household income for Mac users is US$24,000 higher than PC users at US$98,560 versus US$74,452 annually.
Other online booking agencies like Expedia, Priceline, and Travelocity, according to The Journal, claim that they are not using OS info to rank hotels. Analysts point out that data mining is not new, and will increase as more companies seek more info about more customers and potential customers. Other online parameters such as physical location of the customer and the site previously visited are just two of the factors which can SKU online offerings.
Happy Canada Day.