Price Discrimination by Search Type

Many travel websites let you order your search results by price, by travel time, by quality and other variables.  Ross Parker has discovered that on at least one website prices differ depending on how you ask your search to be ordered.  In particular, if you ask for prices to be listed from lowest to highest you get lower prices, on exactly the same hotels, than when you ask for highest to lowest prices.  Of course, this is consistent with a very clever price discrimination scheme.

Comments are open.  I am interested to know whether anyone can verify the same phenomena on other websites.  Here is Ross’s data.

The site is Metro Getaways, a newspaper-linked travel site operated in the UK by Driveline. The prices are for a two-night break in Madrid on 4th August 2006, with flights from London.

Hotel Rating Price (Lowest First) Price (Highest First)
Francisco 1 Hotel 2* £146.80 £169.50
Asturias Hotel 2* £147.65 £170.35
Tryp Washington 3* £174.00 £196.70
Tryp Rex 3* £174.00 £196.70
Tryp Menfis 4* £184.20 £206.90
Tryp Ambassador 4* £189.30 £212.00
Vincci Soho 4* £192.70 £215.40
Gran Melia Fenix 5* £257.30 £280.00


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