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If you are planning a vacation this year and will be using Orbitz to book accommodations, surfing from a PC instead of a Mac could save you some money. The travel site has discovered through extensive data mining that Mac users typically spend as much as 30 percent more per night on hotel stays, prompting them to display higher-priced travel options for Mac users than individuals using a Windows-based computer.
Executives have confirmed the tactic after first gathering hard data to confirm their intuition in October. Since then, they have been implementing changes in their search results to show higher-priced options to Mac users. Executives noted that they aren't showing different prices for the same room to different users and furthermore, anyone can sort results by price to find the cheapest options available.
The Wall Street Journal conducted several tests and found that searches in Boston, Las Vegas, Philadelphia and Orlando turned up the same results regardless of platform. In New York, however, the Mac did show more expensive hotels but only after the first 20 listings. A search in Miami revealed larger differences as Mac users were shown more expensive boutique hotels on the first page. The average price of a first page hotel was about 11 percent higher on the Mac.
The publication reached out to rivals Expedia and Priceline.com and found that neither site uses operating system data to determine hotel recommendations.
It's worth mentioning that a user's operating system isn't the only deciding factor when showing listings to a user. The site also factors in a user's location, history on the site and a hotel's popularity, just to name a few metrics. Furthermore, Orbitz only uses OS data to showcase hotels but they didn't rule out the possibility of doing something similar with car rentals and flight bookings in the future.