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As you know, most sites track visitors to serve advertising needs. In a perfect world, consumers benefit from this because they see an advertisement for relevant goods precisely at their time of need.

However, the real world is more like a medieval marketplace – sellers estimate your interest level while you’re asking for prices and try to sell to you for the maximum price possible.

The most obvious implementation of this mechanism are the systems for hotel bookings and airline ticket reservations. These sites employ complicated schemes of price adjustments, which take into account a lot of information about each visitor, which is gathered via referrer tracking, search engine optimization and social network monitoring. Based on dozens of factors, such systems completely hide some offers from specific visitors or even apply different pricing schemes. For example, when you visit a booking site from your iPad, you’ll initially see the most expensive hotels in the selected category and will need to spend some time clicking though pages to find less expensive ones. But they will be available on the first page of search results on your Windows computer.

Also such systems closely monitor user travel through different options and adjust search results in real time, i.e. when you’ve first checked airline options, considered another one and then tried to go back to the first airline – it may well be that “those tickets are unavailable now,” but more expensive tickets are still present. To avoid financial losses from such consumer monitoring, just follow our advice:

No rush. When sites tell you that it’s the last two hotel rooms or last ticket available, don’t hurry to click the “buy” button. They try to make your decision fast and ill-considered. Take five minutes to call specific hotels or airlines to check prices and availability. The contact phone is typically present on a booking site, and sometimes making such calls is very profitable, because hotels offer you a lower price than any online service with their “hot” deals.
No rush (part 2). The initial offer, when..

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