|Your Computer Says a Lot About You.... and Your Hotel Choices.|
By Melanie Nayer ~ Weekly Exclusive Column
Wednesday, 16th May 2012
Every time I travel, I never leave home without my computer, iPhone, iPod and all the required adapters and cable hookups necessary to stay connected and full of battery power.
I've watched others roll out their iPads, Kindles, PCs, Smartphones, and spy-finder like pieces of technology as soon as they board a plane.
Gone are the days of crossword puzzle books and Mad Libs. We're a completely wired society, and it shows in every facet of our lives, including travel planning.
It's true we're a tech-obsessed world, but if Orbitz data centers are accurate, they technology we buy directly correlates to our purchasing decisions. It seems that, according to Orbitz research, the type of computer you use says a lot about your hotel booking personality.
How so, you wonder? Based on recent research from Orbitz centers, the more sophisticated the technology, the more sophisticated your purchasing decision.
Orbitz Worldwide CEO Barney Harford wrote in a blog post on USA Today that based on Orbitz research, Mac users are 40% more likely to book a four- or five-star hotel than PC users. A similar skew applies to travelers who use iPads.
'We can use that information to influence which hotels we recommend to users we see searching on a Mac or an iPad versus a PC for example. On our website, once you get to the page for a particular property (let's call it 'Hotel A') we show consumers a list of alternative hotel recommendations.' This list is primarily made up of nearby properties that were ultimately booked by customers who had also viewed Hotel A. That's a pretty useful feature already, but we're then able to personalize that list by taking into account factors such as whether we see that the user is using a Mac or a PC," Harford wrote in his post.
Harford says the data that Orbitz collects helps the internal team understand how their users maneuver through the the travel booking site and ultimately book airfare and hotel stays.
"Every day consumers execute millions of searches on our websites around the world, and we have invested significantly in being able to log information about these searches to learn more about the travel planning preferences of Orbitz users," said Harford. "By analyzing variations in different user and session attributes, we can make more personalized recommendations to users conducting searches on our sites in the future."
How so? It's quite creative, actually. The way Harford explains it, based on the information gathered by Orbitz, if you're using a Mac when you search for hotels Orbitz is more likely going to offer you more luxury hotel options than it would a PC user.
For example, when you initially land on a particular hotel on Orbitz you'll also receive alternative hotel recommendations. The list of alternates is made up of hotels that are located nearby the hotel you initially chose, and that were also booked by other consumers who booked the hotel you originally searched.
Orbitz is able to take these searches one step further by determining whether you're on a Mac or PC, and suggesting alternate hotel options based on generic preferences of these two computer user-types.
'Similarly, if you start a hotel search and tell Orbitz you want to visit Orlando this summer with your kids, you'd probably hope to see on that first page of results a list of hotels that include options like a swimming pool, rooms with two beds and free breakfast. On the other hand if you are a romantic couple traveling without kids, you're likely going to want a hotel that has a more stylish feel, and potentially one that specifically doesn't cater to families,' Harford explains.
Readers: What do you think? Are you using booking engines like Orbitz because of their savvy search results? Do you think technology plays a part in the way you book, and what you book?
To read Harford's entire post on how Orbitz uses algorithms to create results from various travel searches, read the full article in USAToday.
Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com