Orbitz website now steering Apple users towards more expensive hotels

posted at 10:17 pm on June 26, 2012 by Allahpundit

Alternate headline: “Chump Apple fanboy blogger apparently paying chump Apple fanboy premium.”

When I heard about this story earlier, it sounded as if Orbitz was pushing different rates for the same hotel rooms keyed to your OS in the knowledge that Apple users on average earn more than PC users do. Not so. All they’re doing is tweaking the order of search results. If you’re a Mac user, you see ritzier hotels first. You can always re-order the results by searching by price.

Apple is practically creating its own demographic, and researchers are trying to define it. Their goal: to see if higher income levels translate into higher spending…

Orbitz found Mac users on average spend $20 to $30 more a night on hotels than their PC counterparts, a significant margin given the site’s average nightly hotel booking is around $100, chief scientist Wai Gen Yee said. Mac users are 40% more likely to book a four- or five-star hotel than PC users, Mr. Yee said, and when Mac and PC users book the same hotel, Mac users tend to stay in more expensive rooms…

Neil Sazant, president of Sagamore, reacted with a mix of admiration and concern to the algorithm. “That’s incredible, but I wouldn’t want to miss out on PC users,” he said. Mr. Sazant says about 15% of rooms at the 93-room hotel are booked through a mix of online sites like Orbitz and that appearing on the first page of results is important in those searches…

Apple users already stand out as big spenders. Nearly half of retailers in a recent study by Forrester Research and Shop.org said users of tablets—a large majority of which are iPads—tend to place bigger online orders than users of laptops or desktops. Shoppers on Apple devices like iPhones also outspend shoppers using Android or BlackBerry devices, accounting for half of all mobile purchases, according to International Business Machines, which tracks data from retailers.

Apple users make roughly $25,000 more on average than PC users. Jonathan Last wonders: Would there be anything illegal about using elastic pricing keyed to what make of computer a customer has? (That’s not what Orbitz is doing here, to be clear, but what if they were?) Any lawyers out there know? My hunch is no, but of course if lots of people started getting charged different prices online simply because of the particular on-ramp they’re using to access the information superhighway, the outcry would presumably force legislatures to spring into action. In fact, I assume this problem is to some extent self-correcting. Apple obviously has a profound commercial interest in its users not getting locked out of competitive prices online. If elastic pricing by OS became widespread, they’d either notify their users of which sites were doing it or actually build something into Safari to deter users from accessing those sites. (Needless to say, they’d also lobby the hell out of Congress to act.) That said, though, I wonder how long the income disparity between Apple and PC users will last. As mobile technology becomes more ubiquitous, the number of middle-class consumers snapping up iPhones and iPads will bring Apple’s income average down. At some point, the disparity will be small enough not to warrant elastic pricing. I wonder how long we are from that.

Exit question: What other computer data could a website use to gauge the average user’s income? Geography, obviously. What else?

Update: Actually, am I wrong about Apple going hard after websites that engage in elastic pricing? They’re not exactly a luxury brand now but they’re certainly a prestige brand. Maybe elastic pricing would nudge them towards embracing their status symbol potential and marketing to the rich. “Apple consumers: Paying 20 percent more online — and proud of it!”


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night bazil

Slade73 on June 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM

Good Night bazil9 , Sweet Dreams.

Bmore on June 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM

Next time someone is singing the praises of a Mac, ask them how many websites run on Apple servers.

The Notorious G.O.P on June 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM

So if some one has a 15 year old PC barely able to make minimum requirement to run XP. They get the cheapest hotels at the top as they are too cheep to get a new computer at all.

tjexcite on June 26, 2012 at 11:25 PM

So if some one has a 15 year old PC barely able to make minimum requirement to run XP. They get the cheapest hotels at the top as they are too cheep to get a new computer at all.

tjexcite on June 26, 2012 at 11:25 PM

It could be they need that computer to run a certain piece of hardware that won’t work with any system newer that XP. They use that computer for using that printer (Alps MD1000), and a little web surfing.

If somebody would come out with a printer that can do what the Alps can do, life would be much easier.

cozmo on June 26, 2012 at 11:31 PM

Apple users make roughly $25,000 more on average than PC users.

And most of that goes to Apple.

Tzetzes on June 26, 2012 at 11:48 PM

BTW, brilliant South Park episode on Apple, etc.

Tzetzes on June 26, 2012 at 11:50 PM

A California judge issued an injunction banning sales of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 touchscreen tablet at the request of Apple – @WSJ

Bmore on June 27, 2012 at 12:07 AM

It’s a simple axiom: you get what you pay for. Skimp with a PC, and you will pay for it in blood, sweat and tears.

John the Libertarian on June 27, 2012 at 2:01 AM

Choice is a good thing, and I don’t care to argue over the relative merits of either system. Just keep your snooty condescension out of my face. A lot of Apple users could take a lesson from Rush. He uses Apple products and can expound on why he chooses them, but I’ve never heard him belittle PC users for not adopting his choices (it’s not in his nature and he is smart enough to not piss off a large percentage of his loyal listeners).
Greater wealth can buy you quality, it doesn’t make you quality.

SKYFOX on June 27, 2012 at 6:56 AM

You could always just put a User Agent Switcher as an add-on to your browser and tell the website what it is you appear to be using.

Works great with Opera and there are add-ons for FireFox, and even MSIE. Mostly used for those websites that try to tailor their responses and shift the formatting of things… telling them you are running Win2K on a Pentium II using MSIE 6.0 can really do wonders. Or that you are simply a web-bot ignoring the robots.txt to cut down on clutter.

I guess if you are a proud Apple owner you wouldn’t stoop to such things… I’m a visual de-clutter type that approves of low overhead, low intensity website displays. Basically a Jakob Nielsen type.

ajacksonian on June 27, 2012 at 7:05 AM

When will Apple users ever learn?

Skwor on June 27, 2012 at 7:14 AM

Do Apple stores stock tennis shoes and purple shrouds?

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on June 27, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Heck,
Smart on Orbitz…bring up the places people are most likely to book.

If Apple(tm) users are more likely to spend more booking a place to put their luggage, that’s their choice. Nothing like mints on the pillow to say “yeah, that’s worth the extra $30.”

And all the extras too…higher priced hotels don’t include free wifi, coffee in room, etc. Apple users are used to paying more for things PC users get for free.

Of course, those of us that use Linux end up with “we suggest you build your own hotel room” recommendations.

Frankly, Every O/S Sucks

ProfShadow on June 27, 2012 at 8:09 AM

…users of tablets—a large majority of which are iPads—tend to place bigger online orders than users of laptops or desktops. Shoppers on Apple devices like iPhones also outspend shoppers using Android or BlackBerry devices….

Yes. Because these are the people who have more money than brains.

Of course, those of us that use Linux end up with “we suggest you build your own hotel room” recommendations.

ProfShadow on June 27, 2012 at 8:09 AM

LOL! +1

GWB on June 27, 2012 at 9:45 AM

Another one of those non story outrage du jour.

OMG!!! Minnesota real estate web site steers me towards expensive homes!!! Help me Obi Wan Bloomberg, help me Democrat Politician, do somethinggggggggg.

Never mind. I see I can change the sorting.

God, Americans whine a lot anymore.

MNHawk on June 27, 2012 at 9:48 AM

So if I use my HP laptop, I get the room waaaaay down the hall, the farthest from the elevator. If I use my Mac, I get a more convenient room that costs more. Hmmmmmmmm. I’ve had the room the farthest from the elevator (Thanks, Travelocity.) I think I’ll try for one better.

Now, do groceries charge me more when I drive in my Lexus or when I shop with my old Chevy pickup?

That’s kinda the way taxes work, so why not retail? (Don’t let the liberals read this. Oh, never mind, they probably are already planning to do this when Obama starts his second term. I know, but the recent political news has me dismayed, disgusted, and dismal.)

Qzsusy on June 27, 2012 at 10:27 AM

so… what you ‘re saying is that persuading people of their own free will to part with their money to buy products aka capitalism is wrong? go vote obama- he agrees with you.

i have macs from the 90′s that still run like the day they were miraculously conceived or made of gold dust by the thought power of yogis or sent directly down from heaven or made by slave children in china like every other piece of electronic gadgetry. 10 Macs, i say, around the house and each one still useable save one. one Road Apple out of 10 ain’t bad and i hear if i put that g5′s logic board in the oven it will be resurrected through reflowing the solder. magical.

i kissed my 27 inch imac when i got it. it’s beautiful. it’s full of stars.

and i shop around and squeeze the money until any presidents and eagles on them scream -I consider Apple the better built computer with probably one of the best operating system out there-OSX ( still not sold on the Lions yet though.). being quality conscience is related to being money wise not money foolish. but i can do without the culty stores and their elaborate fanboy coven meetings.

mittens on June 27, 2012 at 11:26 AM

oh and what google does with your electronic information is far more nefarious.

mittens on June 27, 2012 at 11:30 AM

I think the simple answer on why Apple users make more money is that Apple products are more expensive, and therefore are bought by people who make more money.

J.E. Dyer on June 27, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Apple users make roughly $25,000 more on average than PC users.

Not this Apple user.

catmman on June 27, 2012 at 12:50 PM

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