Do Mac Users Spend More on Travel Than PC Users?
Well, travel site Orbitz found that Apple users spend, on average, $20 to $30 more per night on hotels than their PC counterparts, leading Orbitz to show different travel options for different users, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Orbitz also found that Mac users are 40% more likely to book a four-or-five-star hotel than PC users, and when Mac and PC users book the same hotel, Mac users tend to stay in more expensive rooms (WSJ)
Orbitz is using what is called “predictive analytics,” an effort that is intended to predict future shopping habits of customers based on his or her online usage data in order to increase revenues–and it’s likely that we will see more of this.
This finding has sparked a considerable amount of debate over the course of today. To clear things up, Orbitz consulted its Facebook page:
- “Seems to be lots of confusion and misunderstanding about this WSJ story. A misleading headline and the selective placement of the WSJ paywall cuts off the story and leads people to jump to conclusions. If you carefully read the WSJ, it never says Orbitz charges Mac users more. Because we do not… We make recommendations about hotels along a number of variables, i.e., traveling with or without children. Our recommendation module has extremely high levels of consumer engagement, indicating that it’s a feature that our users really appreciate…”
Orbitz is only suggesting higher-priced hotels. The site still gives users the option of “sort price by,” but despite Orbitz’s intentions, this has internet users in turmoil.
So how did Facebook users respond?
- “Although, I’ll be honest it does seem a little deceptive…the first thing I do on your site is sort by price anyway….and I’m sure most people do.”
- “ALL customers should get the SAME options!!! Let the customer decide!!”
- “Nearly every website you use to search for something personalizes the results in some way based on details of your past history, location, computer, browser, etc. This is nothing new, nor is it exclusive to Orbitz. The personalization is based on data from what Mac users ultimately choose to book on Orbitz. The misleading headlines are unfortunate.”
WSJ reported, “Orbitz said the effort to incorporate Mac vs. PC distinctions is still in its formative stages and isn’t evident across the site. Other factors have more influence over results, including a user’s location and history on the site, as well as a hotel’s overall popularity and promotions. Still, use of a Mac can influence results.”
So, is it deceptive to advertise “the lowest prices guaranteed?” or is this smart business?
(On a side note, we took it upon ourselves to test this, but the same results came up on both a Mac and PC…)