Getting Your Facts Straight

Published 4/10/14
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I love arriving at a new destination and exploring the sights, sounds and tastes of a new place, especially things I may have read or heard about. My choice of a destination is influenced by articles, ads and recommendations from other people. When someone recommends sampling the peppermint saltwater taffy in a particular boutique at my destination of choice, you’d better believe I’m going to try it.

Like a lot of fellow travelers, I don't necessarily question everything that I may read about an area. I take it on faith that whoever wrote about a place should be credible, right? That's why fact checking is so important.

Fact checking—verifying the information mentioned in a travel article—is not the most exciting job. If it was, everyone would want to do it. Yet it is extremely valuable. Things that may seem obvious or well-known may not necessarily be correct. That's why it's important to check the information provided in a story.

It’s sometimes easier to say what fact checking isn't.

One of our fellow editors described it best: “It’s almost sometimes easier to say what fact checking isn't: Wikipedia, Yahoo answers, etc. And I think the term extends beyond actual facts to just making sure web addresses, phone numbers and other tiny details are correct.”

If a travel article mentions a boutique that sells peppermint saltwater taffy, a good fact checker is going to do whatever it takes to make sure the information is correct. That may mean calling someone at the boutique to confirm that peppermint saltwater taffy is sold there, even if the detail may appear to be “right” after doing a web search.

As another editor put it, “Google can be useful for some things, but websites might not always have the latest and most up-to-date info.” Peppermint saltwater taffy fans may visit that place in their chosen destination based on what they read. If the above were not to be the case (i.e. the boutique doesn’t make saltwater taffy), it can create a negative experience in a visitor’s mind. If I was a peppermint saltwater taffy fan, I’d be a little frustrated knowing I wasted my time seeking out this particular place when I could have gone elsewhere.

We are in the business of encouraging people to visit our clients’ destinations. There are so many choices of places to visit on business or for pleasure, and dynamic, relevant and accurate content can help a place stand out from its competitors. If the information about a place is incorrect, you may come away disappointed, frustrated or discouraged—feelings you wouldn't want associated with a vacation. I prefer to feel “excited,” “thrilled” or “relaxed” instead, don’t you?