The online travel site Orbitiz came under criticism Tuesday after admitting it is showing Mac users pricier travel options than PC searchers. It did so on finding that visitors using Mac computers spend as much as 30 percent more on hotels per night, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Orbitz Worldwide Inc. told the Journal it was in the experimental stages of showing Mac users different hotel offers, but stressed that it would not be showing the same room for a different price on the PC.
The travel agency's research also found that Mac users are 40 percent more likely to book a 4- or 5-star hotel than Windows PC users, and on average they are willing to spend $20 to $30 extra on a hotel room per night.
We had the intuition, and we were able to confirm it based on the data, Orbitz Chief Technology Officer Roger Liew told the Wall Street Journal.
Research carried out by Forrester Research has backed up Orbitz's findings. The average household income for adult Mac computer users is $98,560, while for PC owners it is $74,452.
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The Wall Street Journal tested out Orbitz's new strategy. They found that searches for big cities were almost identical on Mac and PC computers. It was only after the first 20 hotels listed in New York City that more expensive results started to show on the Mac computers.
A search for a hotel in Miami Beach, however, showed a wider gap in price. The Mac search results displayed boutique hotels on the first page that were not displayed on the PC's first page. Options on the Mac's first page were on average 11 percent more expensive, the Journal reported.
Twitter Reactions Come In
You are your computer: Orbitz steers Mac users to pricier hotels, tweets Scott Thurm.
The all new Mac tax, says Ed Bott.
Avoid Orbitz on Mac you'll get ripped off, tweets JessicaHz.
Orbitz showing pricier hotels and think they can get away with it. Nah! Stay Away, says Cra2iz.
Neil Sazant, president of the Sagamore Hotel on Lake George, N.Y., was surprised by the algorithm. He told the Journal that he wouldn't want to miss out on PC users, however, as 15 percent of his rooms are booked from the first page of results on travel sites like Orbitz.