Here Come The OS Class Wars: Orbitz Finds Mac Users Spend More On Hotels Than Their PC Counterparts

Tyler Durden's picture

In a finding that many have subliminally known about for years, but never been actually proven, yet is still quite shocking, the WSJ is reporting that tourism portal Orbitz "has found that people who use Apple Inc.'s Mac computers spend as much as 30% more a night on hotels, so the online travel agency is starting to show them different, and sometimes costlier, travel options than Windows visitors see." Which is not really surprising: after all Mac users tend to "see" far pricier computers too, not to mention "buy." As a result, Orbitz has decided to automatically redirect Mac users: aka the rich, but gullible ones, to seeing hotel offers that are more expensive than those seen by PC users by on average $20-$30. Call it OS screening, and call it perfectly acceptable: because it appears, empirically, that Mac users are perfectly ok with spending more than they have to for virtually anything.

From the WSJ:

Orbitz executives confirmed that the company is experimenting with showing different hotel offers to Mac and PC visitors, but said the company isn't showing the same room to different users at different prices. They also pointed out that users can opt to rank results by price.


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.


"We had the intuition, and we were able to confirm it based on the data," Orbitz Chief Technology Officer Roger Liew said.

As predictive analytics becomes more entrenched, soon phone companies will be charging iPhone users an additional 50% per call, "just because."

The effort underscores how retailers are becoming bigger users of so-called predictive analytics, crunching reams of data to guess the future shopping habits of customers. The goal is to tailor offerings to people believed to have the highest "lifetime value" to the retailer.


Orbitz first confirmed Mac users' preferences in October and began working them into the complicated mix of factors that determine its search results. The effect isn't always obvious. In tests performed by The Wall Street Journal, search results for hotels in cities including Las Vegas, Orlando, Philadelphia and Boston were the same for both Macs and PCs. A New York search turned up more expensive hotels for Mac users, but only after the first 20 listed.

So far this type of order prejudice appears to have only impacted Orbitz.

Rival travel sites Expedia Inc., Inc. and Travelocity, which is a unit of Sabre Holdings Corp., don't use a person's computer operating system when suggesting hotels, spokesmen said. Apple declined to comment.

Of course, now that Orbitz' "platform targetting" has been exposed, the company can say goodbye to its Mac user base. However, this will hardly be the last time that the "aspiration" consumer segment known as the Macerati is targeted:

Apple users already stand out as big spenders. Nearly half of retailers in a recent study by Forrester Research and 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.


Fashion site Rue La La pays close attention to iPhone and iPad users, who account for 75% of all of its mobile orders, said CEO Ben Fischman.

Which of course means one last thing: soon some journalist will discover that credit card companies targeted Mac users almost exclusively, and that the average Apple buyer is either to their neck in student loans (federally funded of course), or has $25,000 more in credit card debt than the guy next door running PC... and $50,000 more than the guy around the block still slaving under (a far more nimble version of) Linux.

Step aside class, gender and religion wars: here come the OS wars, or who can outspend everyone else, still have the "coolest gadgets", and merely live month to month.

But hey: if one must impress people one doesn't like, and whose operating systems one has no idea how to use, with stuff that makes one spend more money by default, so be it. One doesn't become an aspirational upper-class poseur by not having a Retina screen.

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Waffen's picture

Mac users like all liberals are image over substance type people. no suprise here

LawsofPhysics's picture

Sorry, I am very conservative and have been a UNIX and LINUX user for years.  Using MAC on the front end of the business ever since they gave us (anyone with real computer skills) access via the underlying UNIX platform.  I still use LINUX servers for all our data/financials but I manage these closely and only a couple IPs have direct access to these secure servers, but the damn "point and click" generation likes to do just that.  Thinking, not so much...

Kitler's picture

Goldman Sachs embarking on a Mac muppet drive in 3, 2, 1...

Marginal Call's picture

The system is made to be worked.


I charge everything I buy, and I mean everything to my Starwood Preffered Guest AMEX and rack up enough points for 2 free weeks at the Kaanapali Westin every year.  Oil changes, gas, groceries, clothes, everything.  And pay it off in full every month. 


They make zero interset off me.  I go to Maui.  

chinaguy's picture

Agreed - Starwood Preferred has been the hot CC for the past couple of years...but, the hell w/ the Kaanapal...the upgrades for Starwood Platinums in Asia makes Hawaiian SPG upgrades look like a crap in your hand (I lived many years in Hawaii).

Marginal Call's picture

Well, I live in Seattle and hate long plane rides.  And I love Hawaii.  I might check out Asia one day.

Rahm's picture

Apple is what is wrong with this world.  From foxconn to the surveillance of their products, to their icrap they push out to the masses.  The world would be a better place without apple.

-sent from my ipad

TrainWreck1's picture

Keyboards are tough when yer missin a finger...


SilverIsKing's picture

Regardless of whether you are in favor of PC or Mac, the fact that a company such as Orshitz would stoop to such lows and prey upon its own customers deserves a visit from Anonymous. Let's see how much they can charge their ex-customers when their site is down.

Conrad Murray's picture

They're not praying on them. They're not holding a gun to their heads. People with more money than brains and all that.

A fool and his money are soon parted.

SilverIsKing's picture

Perhaps preying is too strong a word but they are gauging customers by not providing the best price available while telling their customers that it's the best price available. Perhaps fraud is a better word.

AldousHuxley's picture

why just mac users?

charge them depending on zipcode's median income.

Rick Masters's picture

Given that my generation has no brains and are just a bunch of iDummies waiting to spend our last dollar for some crap, er, app, perhaps at least we can spell. Unless you meant praying for us? I doubt by the context it was a fat finger; or maybe it was, but when insulting people for being stupid, use the right word: preying. Oh yeah spell check doesn't detect context. Maybe some Mac user will make an app for that. That would be ironic.

Zero Govt's picture

this ZH article is like socialism

...where the incompetent ignorant garbage (Microshit) disses capitalism and the productive leaders (Apple)

Zero Govt's picture

Yes the fools have been herded into Microshite for 2 decades

they're soo stupid they just don't see out of the (cattle) box and don't know any better poor sods

a week on Apple and any of these blinkered cows would see just what a load of crap they've been fleeced into with the global monopolist garbage from Gates & Bulmer

mkkby's picture

True conrad. 

They show you the "preferred" matches first.  If you're dumb enough to buy that, so sorry.  You can click "lowest price" sort and see what the other choices are.  You can also cross check with the hotel web sites and other travel sites... it's called shopping around -- and non dummies, non lazies do that regularly.

smithcreek's picture

You've completely missed the point.  Even without trying to get them to spend more, Mac users actively seek out more expensive options when booking.  So Orbitz figured this out and is now going to present Mac users with the more expensive choices they wanted in the first place.  Not exactly evil.  If a customer drove up to an auto dealer in a BMW, what would a salesperson assume they were interested in looking at, a luxury vehicle or a sub-compact?  It's not Orbitz that is stupid or evil, it's paying all that money for a high end Mac when 99.9% of the population could get by on a low end PC.

Zero Govt's picture

Orbitz think Apple-users want to pay more? it's Apple-users fault they pay more, not Orbitz for deliberately providing them with higher prices???

that's a marketing strategy? ...are these Orbitz boys fuking thick or what!

cowdiddly's picture

No worries just roll with it.  log on to Orbitiz on an old Commodore 64 or Tandy 1000 to buy next plane ticket.

Matt's picture

Did anyone ever make a web browser for C-64? Holy hell, there really are several C-64 web browsers out there, some even with CSS support! 

GMadScientist's picture

You pay for your own stuff?


iDealMeat's picture

A big +1 LoP..   and a shout out to FreeBSD,  Luv that OS.. 



terryfuckwit's picture

Linux is King. I nearly scream when i start fixing peoples Windows machines on average i fix about 6  X windows 7 machines a year and this is just friends and familly. If they are clued up I put a linux partition on their machine with a shared folder for placing/sharing all their downloads etc The problems are usually virus related or just too damn slow. Often the biggest problems are the various type of anti virus people use and pop up adds screaming at you from every bit of software you ever add to the laptop. Apple pay thousands of developers to prevent you getting full access to the full array of file types your machine can use. Case in point Calibre(open source book reader) uses all ebook types epub, mobi and pdf etc and does all the conversions.. the only complete ebook solution. Apple users are people that love being seperated from their money even my 11 year old daughter just laughs at Apple users with her android phone(linux kernal) with 500 of the best childrens books ever written.

I often think that the financial world could learn so much from the principles of the open source community. Without disrespect I have to agree with the words of the real hero Richard Stallman when commenting on the achievement of Steve Jobs was the marketing ability to "Make a Jail look cool"

rufusbird's picture

I have been running Ubuntu linux on a partitioned pc with a dual operating system for several years and have never had any headaches that PC users mention. I have gotten so use to it that I rarely ever use the Windows portion. Maybe once every couple of months.The last time was to log on so I could walk someone on the phone through a process, (who needed to remove a virus) and I wanted to describe to them how to do it.

I gave my Grandaughter (who grew up using a PC) an Everex Notebook running linux when she was ten or eleven. Without any instruction from me she figured out how to use and install all the software and to tweak it in ways that I didin't even know about. It can't be too difficult if she figured it all out on her own.






Seer's picture

I grew up with UNIX.  But... I don't have the time to be running around looking for apps and assorted bits and pieces for Linux: I do, however, have it (Ubuntu) as a second partition on my home computer; I installed it years ago with the intention of switching away from MS totally- got sidetracked (lack of some key apps), and never made the cut-over.

At a minimum people should have a copy of Knoppix (may be other variants out there, I've lost touch a bit).  You can boot it off a CD.  Very handy when Windows craps and you need to reach in and get important files: I've never tried to boot Knoppix off of an Apple machine, so no idea (but seems most probable).  There's other cool stuff about it as well, but for most this would be the biggie.

Like you, I also end up bailing people out (though as the years pass I'm more out of the loop because I've been far removed from computing for quite some time).  As for myself, I've never had any problem in over six years with my XP machine (which I built): and I don't really spend any time messing with it (knock on wood/head).

Skateboarder's picture

Buying Apple products is a sign of ignorance, incompetence, elitisim, cultism, and everything bad that you shouldn't be doing. BAD MR. KITTY! BAAAD MR. KITTY!

Kitler's picture

Somebody is screaming for a good skullfucking

Skateboarder's picture

You can skullfuck me all you want, but Unix (or any other homemade OS) > Windows > Apple. Apple is the shit tier of operating systems... why do you even bother?

Marginal Call's picture

A mac user and his money are easily parted.


Jobs knew this. 

ZeroAvatar's picture

That's right. And you're missing the most important part, corporations are SPYING on us, in order to SELL US THEIR SHIT!  Whoda Thunkit?

GMadScientist's picture

Apple is overpriced and fascist to the core (pun intended), but they have better OS design than Linus or Bill.

I'm assuming you don't actually write code for a living.


Skateboarder's picture

I do everything from babysitting and dishwashing to designing circuit boards to programming high-performance clusters, so yep, I do write code for a living, directly or indirectly. The only good idea Apple had was about the dock, and that had already been popularized as an addition to the Linux OS as early as 05 if I remember correctly.

Conrad Murray's picture

UGH, you SOOOOOO just don't get it. I mean, like, cmon brah. Apple is so kewl.

ForTheWorld's picture

The dock feature was already out in the late 80s and early 90s in a more basic version (due to graphics hardware limitations):

Just because the developers at Apple and a group of people developing Linux desktop environments made it look good first, doesn't mean they did it first.

ForTheWorld's picture

Mac OS is based on BSD (with closed and open source components), and Unix (of which BSD is a variant) wasn't homemade - it was made at Bell Labs by AT&T. Linux is the, arguably, "personal" variant of the kernel.

So based on your logic, Mac OS would be better than Windows.

Seer's picture

Ding, ding!  We have a winner! (though Linux is not based on BSD, but FreeBSD is; this all gets nitpicky,)

My first exposure to UNIX was earlier BSD running on Digital Equipment machines, rather rough back then (especially running as corporate production machines, which is really the only place outside of the academic environment that it existed).  This will really date me, but, I once used a Sun Microsystems workstation whose serial number was 100.

Nowadays I'm more into hardware, like tractors...

Confused's picture

I'm sure your $200 net book isn't throwing off the "average" in this little gem of useless info. 

Skateboarder's picture

$300, bro, with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS / GNOME 2. My little single core 1.6 GHz process performs more miracles through the code I write than your latest and greatest 2.x GHz quad core does surfin the internet and sitch.

Computing is greatly misunderstood by all, even including those who study and design it.

Bunga Bunga's picture

And with the free Mac OSX Theme for Ubuntu I have the look and feel of a $1200 Macbook.

Popo's picture

Anyone with a modicum of computer know how can change their browser useragent to spoof any platform under the sun. A Mac user can very easily surf using OSX Chrome and pretend to be surfing using IE.

For the record, I just checked Orbitz from a Mac, and then a pc on a different IP address, using private browsing sessions and found identical prices.

Not calling bullshit, but certainly not seeing any first hand evidence of this yet. At least not here in SE Asia.

Totentänzerlied's picture

"a modicum of computer know how"

Please don't insult those of us with a modicum of computer know-how, it requires more like 1/10th of an iota of reading comprehension, google-use, and button-clicking abilities.

tmosley's picture

How much time did you spend to get that effect, how much time to you spend maintaining your computer, and how much is your time worth to you?

If you could do this in a few minutes, with no need for maintenence, congratulations.  If you spent days or weeks configuring your machine, but consider your time to be worthless, then also congratulations.  If you spent and continue to spend a great amount of time on it, and consider your time valuable, then I hope you value your smugness highly.

BorisTheBlade's picture

Ahh, ubuntu is very use-friendly unlike some other distribs. Except for finding drivers, which could be a headache to find, it is very easy to install. I like knoppix though - mostly using it from USB stick. I don't get Mac OS look and feel, which I don't give a damn about, but I get quite agile and stable OS. Rest is BS, every OS has its pros and cons, no need to worship any of them.

who-is-john-galt's picture

I think you misspelled Windows.

Haole's picture

Epitomized by writing unsubstantial BS like that with such an avatar.  Look who's talking, hypocrite.  ;)