Ok, so Mac users pay more for their machines. We’ve come to accept that a MacBook Pro costs more than a Windows Notebook. But one retailer is interpreting this price difference to mean that Mac users have money to burn. Travel website Orbitz claims that Mac users are spending as much as 30% more on hotel rooms than Windows PC users. When broken down, it seems they’re 40% more likely to book a four or five star hotel, as well as more likely to stay in more expensive rooms.
In a surprising turn of events, Orbitz has decided to exploit this research to earn more money. Using predictive analysis, they’re showing Mac users more expensive rooms. They call it creating a personalized experience catering to their spending habits. But have they gone too far? Customized search results that are more expensive. Some are calling it the Mac tax. Bottom line: Mac users are not being shown the best deals. Whoa! Did I just read that right?
As a Mac user, I’m livid. For a travel aggregator, I expect to be shown the best deals and the best values. Sure there could be higher end hotels with deeper discounts to create a better value. But to think they’re intentionally deciding not to show me the best deals because they assume I have extra money to burn is nothing short of outrageous. Tests by the Wall Street Journal confirmed that the first page search results were more than 10% higher on a Mac.
Ok, so what can you do? Well it’s important to note that users can still choose to rank results by price to circumvent Orbitz’s recommended luxury hotels. Or another option that I suspect will be more popular is that Mac users can avoid shopping with a retailer that admits to discriminating based on operating system. What do you think about skewing search results based on your OS?