If you are using a tablet or a Mac, the Journal reports it will show you more expensive rooms
The reason? Its research reportedly shows that Apple users spend, on average, $20 to $30 more for a room than those using a PC. Not leaving anything to chance the site just shows you the more expensive hotels, leaving the best deals for the more bargain-oriented PC users.
Commenting on the story on CNBC, stock maven Jim Cramer said he has noticed that most travel sites routinely make “paid” listings their first three or four offerings, meaning they are not necessarily the best deals. He said he usually scrolls deeper into the list to choose a hotel.
|Consumers rate Orbitz|
This would all sound pretty familiar to
"I was looking for a motel room in Willmar. Minnesota. I went online to Orbitz. They quoted me the cheapest room at a Days Inn in Willmar, Minnesota at $42.00. When I clicked to book, the site said that no rooms were available at that price and the cheapest price was $62.99," she said. "Because I needed a room and they quoted other hotels at an increased cost, I booked it. Their agreement states that I will pay the amount quoted.
"When I got to the room, the price was quoted at $42.00. Orbitz inflated the cost by $20.00 and lied about room availability," Kathie complained.
It's not just Orbitz, though. Over the years a constant complaint to ConsumerAffairs about travel booking sites in general is inconsistency.
Regina, of Big Stone Gap, Va., said she used Expedia to make reservations at Fairfield Inn and Suites in Wyetheville, Va., and was charged $166.66 for a one-night stay.
“At check-in I noticed a couple in front of me was charged 106.00,” Regina wrote in a ConsumerAffairs post. “I thought okay, maybe because we had our grandson. At checkout next day I was given a receipt for $126.65. That was $40.01 less than the rate from Expedia. I called them and asked for a refund or explanation. I was told that Expedia is not responsible, the rate is based on their agreement with the hotel. I am aware that Expedia must make money but $40.01 to make a reservation seems too much.”
Millions of consumers used third-party booking sites expecting the rate will always be cheaper, but as Regina discovered, that's not always the case. In addition, if plans change and you have to cancel your reservation you are usually out of luck.
In most cases, you are much better off making your reservation directly with the hotel. And just to be on the safe side, try not to use an Mac or iPad to do it.