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Booking online hotel reservations? PC vs. Mac price war

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Jumping online and using a travel website is how most people get their vacations started.
But the device you use may determine the price you are offered.

So, we wanted to give it a test ourselves by using hotels.com. We looked for a room from April 14 -17, 2017 in sunny Santa Barbara California.

The Belmond El Encanto cost $525 a night on the PC and $548 on my iPhone.

But wait, we also looked at a second hotel.

The Inn By the Harbor charges $232 on the PC and $240 on the iPhone.

Software developer Christian Bennefeld says companies are tracking almost everything you are doing online including the device you are using. Some companies can then use that information to provide differing prices.

He found two different prices for a Paris hotel. It listed $175 on an iPad and with a laptop it listed the price $198.

“No it’s not fair, but that is the reality on the internet,” said Bennefeld.

Bennefeld has a device called the e-blocker that allows consumers to search as two different devices.

Randall Rothenburg who represents digital marketing and advertising companies, says what those tracking companies are doing is a good thing for customers.

“Sure! Sure it’s a little creepy. But you know, so is all the stuff the credit card companies and the retailers have been collecting about you for decades and decades,” said Rothenburg.

Hotels.com says it politely declines to comment on our report.

But, here’s what you can do – you can use the e-blocker you saw earlier in the report or you can use different devices to make your reservation.

I always switch between Mac and PC whenever I’m looking for hotel rooms.

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