(NEW YORK) — Mac users who use the travel website Orbitz are shown different and sometimes more expensive travel options than shoppers using Windows, according to The Wall Street Journal. The paper says Orbitz found Mac users spend as much as 30 percent more a night for hotels.
Now, the online travel agency is trying to use visitor information and track their online activity to try and boost sales.
“Mac users probably have a little more disposable income than most, so if they’re buying a more expensive hotels certainly you want to show them those hotels up front,” says travel expert Rick Seaney of Farecompare.
Seaney says using customer information is acceptable as long as websites are not offering the same item at different prices based on that information.
“Definitely they’re looking at the machine you come from, what type of machine. Are you using Internet Explorer or Safari or Chrome?” Seaney says. “They’re looking at all those things and basically trying to make the best suggestions to use as possible, to hopefully get you to book.”
That said, Seaney says hotels that make the company the most money will be more likely to be displayed, so he suggests that users sort search results by prices or by the cheapest options first.
Using customer information to tailor specific results can be beneficial for the website and the user.
“The one thing that they absolutely cannot do — and if they do do it and they get caught, everybody will be up in arms — is offer you a different price related to what kind of computer you came from,” he says.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Erin McClam, CNN
Susan Scutti, CNN
Matt McFarland, CNN