Orbitz Accused Of Directing Mac Users To Pricier Hotel Accomodations
File this under the “be careful of what you wish for”-category; Mac users are crying foul after disclosures that Orbitz – the online hotel reservation site – uses modern technology to target them with pricier accommodations.
It comes down to a simple fact that Orbitz turned up via research: Mac-users – or at least those people who log on to the Orbitz website using one tend to spend 30% more than other customers on hotel accomodations. So, they put that knowledge to use for their company by strategically showing them different rooms and options than they would a “standard” customer.
The sort of targeting undertaken by Orbitz is likely to become more commonplace as online retailers scramble to identify new ways in which people’s browsing data can be used to boost online sales. Orbitz lost $37 million in 2011 and its stock has fallen by more than 74% since its 2007 IPO.
The effort underscores how retailers are becoming bigger users of so-called predictive analytics, crunching reams of data to guess the future shopping habits of customers. The goal is to tailor offerings to people believed to have the highest “lifetime value” to the retailer.
Data research has become a priority for Orbitz – with directions to better market to the world coming directly from the top office.
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.
Like the practice or not, this type of marketing is not likely to disappear. In fact with the proliferation of computers and the internet, customers can get used to seeing more of it in the future.