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Online travel agency Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:OWW) is using a novel consumer targeting technique after finding that people who use Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) Mac computers spend as much as 30 percent more a night on hotels. Orbitz now shows those users different, and often costlier, travel options than those provided to people using PCs. “We had the intuition, and we were able to confirm it based on the data,” Orbitz chief technology officer Roger Liew told WSJ.
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The agency found Mac users on average spent $20 to $30 more a night on hotels. Mac users were 40 percent more likely to book a four- or five-star hotel than PC users, and when Mac and PC users booked the same hotel, Mac users usually stayed in more expensive rooms.
Orbitz’s data mining efforts have been sparked by chief executive Barney Harford who recruited analysts with backgrounds in Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY). The agency first confirmed user preferences in October, though distinctive results are not yet fully evident across the site. Other traditional factors, including location and history on the site, as well as the hotel’s popularity and promotions, also have an influence over results.
According to Forrester Research, users of tablets, and largely iPads, tend to place bigger online retail orders than users of laptops or desktops. Shoppers on iPhones also outspend shoppers using Android or Research In Motion’s (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry devices. The average household income for adult owners of Mac computers is $98,560, compared with $74,452 for a PC owner, according to Forrester.
Rival travel sites Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), Priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN), and Travelocity don’t use a person’s computer operating system when suggesting hotels, spokesmen told WSJ. Orbitz lost $37 million in 2011 and its stock has fallen by more than 74 percent since its 2007 IPO.
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