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Orbitz says Mac users spend more

By Rose Raymond · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Posted: 9 am ET

The public has long associated Mac computer users with hipsterdom, youth and liberal views when compared to their PC-preferring brethren, and there's some truth to these notions. A survey from Hunch.com found that Mac users do skew younger, are more liberal and more likely to prefer indie films than PC users. And Orbitz has found that they also have more expensive tastes, especially when it comes to hotel rooms.

Now, if you're using Orbitz and a Mac, the travel website will attempt to steer you to fancier -- and pricier -- digs than if you're searching on a PC.

Mac users prefer 5-star lodging?

Orbitz Worldwide Inc. found that people accessing Orbitz from Macs are 40 percent more likely to select a four- or five-star hotel than their PC-using counterparts, Orbitz Worldwide CEO Barney Harford wrote in a guest blog post for USA Today. Yahoo! News reported that Orbitz also found Mac users spend up to 30 percent more per night on hotels than those booking from PCs.

"A similar skew applies for iPad users," Harford wrote. "We can use that information to influence which hotels we recommend to users we see searching on a Mac or an iPad versus a PC for example."

'They're going to take that info and target you with it'

In an interview with NPR, The Wall Street Journal's Dana Mattioli talked about the wealth of information available to retailers when consumers shop for their products online. Here's what she said.

Websites know more about people than they understand. So (the computer you are using is) one of the things that they instantly know about you when you come in. They know your IP address. They know approximate location. Also, you know, retailers in general have been doing predictive analytics and data mining, it's called. And they are trying to use loyalty cards, credit card programs, online cookies to take that information and exploit it.

So, they want to know if you normally shop sale versus full price; if you tend to buy high heels versus flats. And then, they're going to take that info and target you with it.

What does this mean for the consumer? If you're using a Mac, you may have to look harder to find a cheaper hotel room when you're on Orbitz. It's possible that other websites will start doing more of this in the future. But awareness is the first step -- that and the willingness to scroll through several pages of options!

Do you find this news disturbing, or is it just a sign of the times? Let us know in the comments.

Follow me on Twitter @rosehelen.

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