Don't Waste Your Money: Beware of travel website profiling - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Don't Waste Your Money: Beware of travel website profiling

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – Most of us book our travel online these days. But when you and your neighbor look up airfares and hotels, you may find completely different prices. It's called travel website profiling.

You may have heard a report recently that Orbitz has been targeting Mac computer users with higher-priced hotels than people who log in on a Windows PC. There's some truth to that, but it turns out it's just the tip of the iceberg.

The Wall Street Journal broke the story that Orbitz targets Mac users with higher-priced hotel rooms than PC users, because Mac users tend to have higher incomes and more expensive tastes.

Orbitz does not deny the claim.

But a follow up report goes even further, saying that Orbitz knows a lot more than just what type of computer you have, and that it targets you accordingly. For instance, if you enter from a budget website like Kayak, The Wall Street Journal says Orbitz may offer lower-priced options. If you enter from Trip Advisor, you may get higher-priced options because you care more about hotel quality.

But from the doesn't that stink file, this type of profiling can get a bit creepy.

The Wall Street Journal says Orbitz even takes into account what city you live in when offering you rooms. Orbitz knows that New Yorkers tend to prefer more urban-feeling beach hotels, while many Midwesterners prefer simpler properties.

There's really nothing wrong with this. Other travel sites do it and web retailers, like Amazon, do it all the time, targeting you with products it thinks will interest you based on what you've looked at previously.

Personally-targeted ads are a trend of the future that are here to stay.

So don't waste your money.

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