Orbitz travel website directs Mac users to pricier hotel options

Mac users have long been described as a more – how can we say – ‘discerning’ bunch, willing to fork out more on an Apple computer than a cheaper Windows option that they believe will disappoint.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, it seems that Mac users like to splash a little more cash when it comes to booking hotel rooms, too.

Travel website Orbitz told the WSJ that through its own research it found that users of Macs fork out as much as 30 percent more on a hotel room compared to their Windows counterparts.

Mac users are 40 percent more likely to go for a four- or five-star hotel than users of Windows computers, and in the event of both types of users booking the same hotel, it’s those sitting in fron of a Mac who are most likely to opt for a more expensive room.

But here’s the part which may surprise you most – as a result of its discovery, Orbitz is now directing Mac users of its website to pricier room options, presumably in the belief that they won’t mind digging a little deeper into their pockets if they’re going to get something of higher quality. Take note though, the site isn’t charging Mac users more for the same room – it’s showing Mac users and Windows users different hotel offers. And searches can, of course, be prioritized by clicking on the ‘lowest price’ link instead of going with the default ‘best value’ option.

Orbitz’s initiative is reported to be an experiment, though according to the WSJ, so-called data mining has been on the to-do list of Orbitz CEO Barney Harford since joining the company three years ago.

The fascinating revelation serves as a stark reminder of the ways in which online businesses can use tracked data to control the way in which we surf the web.

So how do you feel, Mac users? Will you be steering clear of the Orbitz website from now on, or pushing it to the top of your bookmarks, secure in the knowledge that the site won’t be wasting your time presenting you with low-end, below-par options that may be cheaper, but are more likely to disappoint?

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