Travel company says it steers Mac users to more expensive options.
Are you a Mac user? Do you use your MacBook Pro, iMac, iPad, or other Apple product to search travel websites to plan your next trip or vacation? Do you use travel sites like Travelocity, Priceline or others to find the best deal? Well, if you use Orbitz (and perhaps other sites as well) to find the best deal you might not find the best deal, but you are almost certain to find a deal that is more expensive.
News reports have it – and Orbitz’s management have admitted as much – that users of Apple products, such as its Macintosh line of computers, are being shown different options than owners/users of PC or other brands of computers. Specifically, because Orbitz believes Mac users have more disposable income, Mac users are pinpointed to be shown more expensive options.
Rich Man/Poor Man = Rich Mac User/Poor Mac User
Now, wait just a minute here. Even though Orbitz claims that Mac computer users spend as much as 30 percent more a night on hotels, is that reason enough to steer them to more expensive options when searching the Orbitz website for a place to stay? Does the word rip-off come to mind here? Is this technology gone a step over the line. My answer is damn yes!
Orbitz says they track people’s online travels and thereby are able to track tastes and spending habits. So, if you are dirt poor but were given a Mac for a present or something you are put in the same barrel as those with more assets. And if you ever scrape enough together to take a short vacation, your hard earned money will be spent (if you are not careful) on a higher priced option than if your were given, say, a Dell computer as a present. Does this sound darn awful to you?
Bypass the Trickery
Orbitz says you can bypass their little devious pricing method by choosing to change the rankings of hotels you see on their site to “rank results by price.” Perhaps many people do that anyway. But, wouldn’t you have thought that a travel site that promotes getting the best travel deal would be showing you the actual “best deal” first? Not with Orbitz it seems.
What may be even worse about this new business tactic is that Orbitz may not be the only one doing it. In fact, reports suggest there are other companies doing it as well, and others may follow. May I suggest that we consumers switch to any other company for our travel or other needs, provided they promise not to rob us when we use their sites? So far, Orbitz competitors Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity say they don’t use a client’s computer preference to determine price options.
Just to put a face on Orbitz’s activities – their CEO is one Barney Harford (who used to work for Expedia by the way). Might I suggest a strongly worded letter, email or text to Mr. Harford would be in order? Something like, “hey, you money grubbing little twit, don’t mess with us Mac users.”