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Apple Users See Pricier Hotels on Orbitz

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Orbitz Worldwide (OWW) has gotten into the data mining game and they’re not wasting a minute putting their findings to use.

The Wall Street Journal reports consumers using an Apple (AAPL) computer when searching for hotel rooms on its site will find high-end hotels and more expensive rooms at the top of the list. The travel-based company’s chief scientist Wai Gen Yee said, “Mac users on average spend $20 to $30 more a night on hotels than their PC counterparts. Mac users are 40% more likely to book a four- or five-star hotel than PC users. When Mac and PC users book the same hotel, Mac users tend to stay in more expensive rooms.”

Apple has long been considered a premium brand so it’s not surprising that a company would use this to their advantage. "We had the intuition, and we were able to confirm it based on the data," Orbitz Chief Technology Officer Roger Liew said.

WSJ also notes that Orbitz executives want to be clear that they are not altering the prices of the hotel rooms being shown to Mac users. They’re strictly showing rooms with higher price points. Users can continue to rank their results by price, just as they can opt to view rooms based a hotel’s star rating, neighborhood, and reviewer score.

Other factors are also considered by Orbitz when generating their search results including special deals offered by hotels, the consumers’ location and booking history, and companies that pay the site to push their properties to the top.

Orbitz Worldwide Inc. also owns CheapTickets, ebookers, HotelClub, The Away Network, MrJet and RatesToGo.

WSJ notes that Orbitz’s top competitors Expedia (EXPE), Priceline (PCLN), and Travelocity do not factor in a user’s computer operating system when recommending hotels.

Don’t let Orbitz’s pet project fool you into thinking Windows (MSFT) users have little clout. They still dominate the market, so plenty of consumers are using their Dell (DELL), Sony (SNE), and Acer computers to book their hotel rooms. They’ll be able to book a suite at a boutique hotel just like a Mac user will, only they’ll get more options to save a bit of money before they buy.

Orbitz continues to prove that it’s ahead of the game in terms of technology. In addition to their prowess in the world predictive analytics, the company recently announced updates to their free mobile application with upgrades to its search speed, filtering, and mapping capabilities. Its best perks are the exclusive mobile-only travel deals.
POSITION:  No positions in stocks mentioned.