Mac users just love to pay more, says Orbitz

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.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

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.

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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.

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