As the WSJ reports 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.”
May be unfair to some consumers but you have to admire its analytical firepower as the WSJ continues
“Orbitz's chief executive, Barney Harford, has made data mining a priority. Shortly after joining the company in 2009, the former Expedia executive opened a small office in Sunnyvale, Calif., and recruited statisticians with backgrounds from eBay Inc. and Google Inc.for a new analytics team”
“A computer's operating system is one of several factors Orbitz considers when serving up search results. The top results, for instance, are reserved for hotels that pay Orbitz for high-profile placement.
Deals: When hotels offer discounts, those properties move higher in the search results for all visitors.
Referring site: Orbitz makes assumptions about users' spending habits based on how they arrive at the site. If a shopper enters Orbitz through Kayak.com, which aggregates offers from travel sites, it might indicate a user is more sensitive about price than a visitor coming from review-focused TripAdvisor, who may be more interested in hotel ratings.
Return visits: Booking history as well as other previous activity on the site also come into play. Using purchase history from logged-in visitors, the site knows if a user has repeatedly looked at certain hotel chains and may display those properties higher in the results.
Location: Orbitz considers where a shopper is booking from. Using past purchase data, Orbitz looks at the types of hotels New Yorkers tend to book when visiting Miami, for example, and takes those properties into account.”