Mac users just love to pay more, says Orbitz

Mac users just love to pay more, says Orbitz

Summary: Mac users will pay $20 to $30 a night more on hotels than PC users, says Orbitz, a travel site that'll annoy the Apple army.

TOPICS: Apple, Hardware

Apple customers are known to pay a premium for their Macs, strong design and integrated software. Apparently, Mac users will also shell out more for hotel rooms too.

According to the Wall Street Journal, travel site Orbitz has been able to segment its audience in Apple and Windows camps. The upshot: Mac users will pay $20 to $30 a night more on hotels than PC users. Mac users will also pay for better rooms.

The Journal noted:

The sort of targeting undertaken by Orbitz is likely to become more commonplace as online retailers scramble to identify new ways in which people's browsing data can be used to boost online sales.

From an analytics perspective, targeting by operating system and pricing accordingly may not be such a bad idea. The bonehead move of the century is Orbitz yapping about it. Orbitz did note that pricing by OS is just an experiment.

Rest assured that Mac users will refrain from using Orbitz en masse now. For what it's worth, Expedia and Priceline said they don't target by OS. What else would you say as Orbitz prepares to take some serious heat from Apple fans.

The remaining question from the Orbitz tale is this: If Mac users will pay $120 for a room that a Windows customer would get for $100 what would a Linux user pay? Correction: Orbitz doesn't charge extra for Mac users, but has found that they will spend more on higher end hotels.

Update: Orbitz CEO Barney Harford outlined what Orbitz is doing in a USA Today blog post in May. Harford responded to the hubbub in a statement:

Nonsense that we'd charge Mac users more for the same hotel, which is unfortunately the incorrect impression that many readers seem to be drawing from this article's "subscriber content preview."

However, just as Mac users are willing to pay more for higher end computers, at Orbitz we've seen that Mac users are 40% more likely to book 4 or 5 star hotels as compared to PC users, and that just one of many factors that determine which hotels to recommend a given customer as part of our efforts to show customers the most relevant hotels possible.

Google glasses

Google glasses

Unfortunately WSJ editors have chosen to hide the full story behind their pay wall, so most of the world is reacting to a confusing headline, while the key point---he company isn't showing the same room to different users at different prices---is hidden because... the WSJ is steering users to pay more to be able to read the full article and understand what is actually happening.

Topics: Apple, Hardware

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  • The Linux user

    The Linux user might not expect a free room. But s/he would definitely expect beer for free #freeasinbeer
    Mary Jo Foley
    • Party at your place?

      How is the new batch? Sounded interesting on WW last week.
      • it's coming along!

        Get to try it this weekend! MJ
        Mary Jo Foley
    • We camp

      Who needs a damn hotel when you have a perfectly good tent in your backpack ;-)
      Truth be told I have never paid under 120 (140 more like it) for a hotel per night. Maybe it is just the places where I am going of course...
      • $6

        Back in 1974, I paid $6 for a very nice and clean, but small, room in Texas.
  • Now this should be illegal

    If they are truly detecting a person is using a certain OS and/or browser and charging them more or less depending on that then they should have their pants sued off.

    With a site like that it is one thing to charge based on time of year and how many free rooms/tickets are available to but to charge more because a person used a certain OS or browser is just stupid and should be illegal.
    • Mac users aren't being charged more for the same rooms

      Orbitz is just offering them better rooms.

      "Orbitz noted that it was is not showing different prices for the same room to different users, but was presenting pricier hotels more prominently to Mac users than those using Windows." (
      • Ok that is not as bad

        but still kind of wrong in a way.
      • It's even more than that. Orbitz is doing this because

        they noticed Mac users tended to PREFER more expensive hotel rooms when given a choice. In other words, Orbitz is RESPONDING to consumer desires, not mandating them.
      • exactly!

        It is really just a confirmation of an obvious statement: "In general, Mac users prefer high end things". And the WSJ article is just a statement about how on-line vendors are able to gather information about their clients to provide a better surfing experience. Not much different than the weather channel noticing roughly where I am to deliver up the local weather.
        • err no.

          It's saying that Mac owners prefer to pay more, going into the psychology behind it will just embarrass them further. In reality, very much like own brand products, the same product is being offered just in a different box.
    • Poppycock

      There is no law to say that if I don't like your attitude, how you dress etc. that I can't charge you more - as long as I don't show you a cheaper price and then charge you more at the checkout.

      Bristol cars is a classic example, the owner used to meet prospective customers, if he liked you he would tell you which model you could buy, if he didn't like you, you couldn't buy a car, no matter how much money you had.

      That said, it is a stupid move on Orbitz part, as Larry said.

      Certain classes of produce have to be cleary marked, but an e-Shop has the advantage that the prices labels are created dynamically on the fly, when the page is generated - usually pulling the price from the databasse.

      In this case, however, it seems that they just use a different sort order for Mac users, the prices remain the same, but the order is different.
    • The article is a partial lie.

      Orbitz charges the same amount to Mac and Windows users for the same room. Thy (Orbitz) found, however tat Mac users will tend to upgrade to a nicer room more often than a Windows user. So they will present a greater share of nicer accommodations to Mac user and a greater share of budget accommodations to Windows users.
      • RE: The Article is a partial lie

        Thanks to some clarification on what the Wall Street Journal article wrote we know that now. Of course it doesn't change the fact that I was actually defending MacOS users based on the misinformation represented by ZDNet and my posts get marked down. Oh well I guess that just shows that some people will just mark down anything by a person they do not like.
    • Agree, BUT...

      I can't fault you, bobiroc, for being mistaken in what Orbitz is doing...after all, Larry Dignan got it completely wrong!

      Speaking of that...

      Larry Dignan! DOH! How could you be so BONE HEADED!! It was quite plain, from the beginning, that users of Macs were being presented BETTER ROOMS FIRST, and not simply being charged more for the same rooms!! How in the hell did you make such a dumb mistake!!

      I read about this same story on CNN Tuesday, but never did I come up with the wildly wrong impression you did!

      And you even wrote "From an analytics perspective, targeting by operating system and pricing accordingly may not be such a bad idea." Seriously!?

      And then you followed THAT with "The bonehead move of the century is Orbitz yapping about it." Wow, oh WOW the irony!

      (For the sake of clarity, I'm talking about the "bonehead" being YOURS, and the fact that the "yapping" is, also, YOURS!)
      • not necesssarily!

        Since the headline is the most misleading piece of information the headline writer (not usually the author) gets the blame for misleading information. Larry made a correction to the original content (see strikethrough). Of course, Larry is also Editor in Chief, so maybe he's also responsible for the headline. If so, he should have changed that as well.
  • MAC users pay more

    If you were dumb enough to pay so much more for a MAC, you deserve to pay more!
    • Perhaps you can't afford/justify the WSJ subscription?

      The article said that comparable listings showed the same price, but that Orbitz thought Mac users would prefer nicer places (based, no doubt, on their experience).

      Sorry it that WSJ paywall is a bit steep for your pay grade. No, this article doesn't report anything that an unbiased observer wouldn't already know: in contrast to Mac users, many PC users want the least price even if it means grody shag carpets, lumpy beds, lousy amenities. Just as they think that all trackpads are created equal, all 13" laptop screens display color equally accurately, etc., despite the manufacturers being unable to get more than bottom dollar for them.
      • Didn't read the Wall Streen Journal

        because I didn't want to subscribe but the article here implies that MacOS users are paying more overall and it didn't really clarify that they were getting nicer rooms for that extra cost. If you read the ZDNet article one could not help but think that MacOS users were seeing higher prices for the same rooms.

        So basically this is another case of ZDNet leaving out important information to make it look like the world is Anti-Apple.
        • Anti-Apple???? Huh?

          @bobiroc So basically this is another case of ZDNet leaving out important information to make it look like the world is Anti-Apple.

          The article in no way says anything about "the world". It says something about Apple users as contrasted with Windows users (whether you agree with what it says is a whole notha thang. _Keb Mo)