Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Is Your Browser History Affecting the Travel Prices You're Shown? A Terrific Article from Veteran Journalist Bill McGee

I'll be interviewing Bill McGee for our radio show tomorrow about a provocative article he posted in USA Today on whether travel deals change based on your browsing history. Though all of the major travel sites have long claimed this idea is sheer paranoia, McGee tested his hypothesis, using different computers in the search for airfares. His conclusion: travel providers are tracking consumer purchases, and raising the prices on those who spend most.

So what does one do with this bit of intel? McGee's advice may be a bit unwieldy for many, but he recommends using more than one browser and even switching computers when possible. Shopping around is also key, he writes, as is using sites that don't respect your privacy. Towards that last point, always make sure the site you're about to use has a privacy policy posted and don't use sites that say your information will be "held", "shared" or "sold".

Alas, McGee (and I) think this situation is about to become worse, thanks to the airline's stated intention to start customizing fares for their passengers (click here for my blog on that). This will require passengers store past travel purchase history with the airlines in order to be eligible for specialized "discounts".

Hey, any of you potential airline customers in the market for a bridge? I have just the one to sell you.

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