Google News has been a big topic of conversation in the office over the past few days, with last week’s United Airlines debacle leading to a wide ranging discussion on the nature of how we connected types get our news.
Between the run on United stock, the collapse of XL Airways and last month’s crash in Madrid it seemed to me the travel business is very much in the doldrums. Google News – my main gateway to non-specialist news – has done nothing to disabuse me of this notion recently: as I explained to the guys it seems like every time I visit there’s another headline spelling doom and gloom for the travel/leisure sector.
Dave pointed out I was guilty of the exact same sin we’d spent most of last week mocking the United stock dumpers for: taking Google News headlines on faith. If anyone had asked I’ve have told them with confidence the whole travel industry was going down the pan, but that would have been based on scanning a few headlines, not knowing all the facts. In fact I happened to be speaking to Nick Webb at Virgin Holiday Cruises and he told me the Cruise market is going great guns, as are many areas in the travel and holiday sector. The decline of air travel is making all the headlines, but people are still travelling to enjoy themselves…the difference is they’re doing it on cruise ships or trains or, god help us, in caravans.
The moral of the story? Don’t form your opinions based on headlines, particularly from aggregators like Google News. The web teaches you to be a scanner rather than a deep reader, and while that might be appropriate when scouting product information it’s only going to make you look a bit of a thickie when you’re discussing current affairs.