There's a reoccurring foreboding in many fairytales, that says: magic comes with a price. The Evil Queen that offered Snow White the poisonous apple received her comeuppance in the end, and hopefully Orbitz will be served a does of the same, when the traveling public learns that Mac users are charged more than those using Windows. Yes, in this case, you can think of Orbitz as the Evil Queen! And the 30 percent higher rates they are offering to Apple device owners, the fruits from their poisonous tree.
Online Travel Agencies have encroached on hotel revenues for over a decade now, with fees as high as 30 percent. Many require that hotel rates must be on par with what the OTAs feature, so hotel website pricing does not undercut them. And unfortunately, during a down economy, when supply far exceeds demand, most hoteliers have to strike these kinds of deals, or potentially lose a necessary revenue source to fill their rooms.
So, let's see, if we're doing our fuzzy math correctly -- Orbitz, in addition to receiving 30 percent from hotels directly are now securing another 30 percent from those guests booking their hotel rooms off an iMac, iPad or iPhone. Hmmm. . . tidy little profit for that Evil Queen, wouldn't you say?
Since 1999, The Joy of Tech has provide Internet users with comics pertaining to technology and pop culture. Created by Nitrozac and Snaggy and updated three times a week, they satirize the companies and events that are making news in the tech space. Following this case, they added their own additional slant to Orbitz' latest tactic.
In a Forbes report by Dana Mattioli, she noted that people who use "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."
Similar to what the search giant Google has been doing for years, and what Facebook is trying to perfect on their social network, "the Orbitz effort, which is in its early stages, demonstrates how tracking people's online activities can use even seemingly innocuous information - in this case, the fact that customers are visiting Orbitz.com from a Mac - to start predicting their tastes and spending habits," notes Mattioli.
In their defense, while Orbitz confirmed that the company is experimenting with showing different hotel rates to Mac and PC visitors, it denied showing the same room to different users at different prices. Well, that makes sense . . . but what about only showing them higher rated rooms? To date, from all reports, they don't seem to have or want to provide an answer for that one.
But they do point out, that users can opt to rank results "by price" if they so choose. Well, guess what, you can be sure that any one reading this blog or the countless others on this topic will be doing just that. And even better yet, Orbitz, you might have just given them more reason to book their rooms directly from the hotel's website in the future. Yes, Mr. OTA, magic does come with a price!