Knowledge Information and Data
Planning your next trip? You are going to be using information, right? Reviews from Tripadvisor, hotel booking site hotel details, price comparison websites, travel blogs, Pdf Guides to the area and maps from Google.
Be Warned, all is not as it seems
Data, Clean Simple Facts
Mobile phone companies are offering bundles of “All You Can Eat Data” but what is data? In this case it is a stream of digital signals, your phone translates them into sounds, text and images called information Wrong! This is not data. It is information converted to digital form.
Data is fact. It is the distance from A to B. While this sort of data does not change there is some data that does change, like the temperature in Athens, exchange rates and hotel prices. The trouble is people, select the facts they see because they cannot see the facts or choose not to include a fact in their description. In this case it is not Data but information.
Unless you are looking at numbers related to physical things, like the length of a river, you are looking at information that is open to dispute. Even things like “The Best Currency Exchange Rates”, which are fixed at least for a minute at a time on a national level, are different from one website to another.
In general if it is presented as a “Fact” it probably is just information.
Information, All Done With Mirrors
You only have to read two Tripadvisor reviews of the same hotel to see that information is open to different ways of looking at the “facts”. I have illustrated this in my Illustrated Package Holiday Story. It is not so easy when you “think” you are reading facts published about a hotel on a price comparison site or reading a tourist guide to Venice.
Price comparison sites claim to offer information to help you make a decision but the FSA
However, our review found that they were not meeting our requirements in delivering fair and consistent outcomes for consumers. We also found, through our consumer research, that consumers had a number of misconceptions about the services they provided.
A complaint was made about the Trivago, the hotel price comparison website that their TV advertisement which stated that “Trivago compares over 100 websites to find you your ideal hotel at the best price.” was “Exaggeration”. The complain was not upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority
We considered that consumers would understand the ‘best price’ claim in the context of Trivago’s claim to compare over 100 websites and concluded that the ad was not misleading.
I cannot argue with the judgement from the ASA, it would not be too difficult to compare 100 websites for prices, so it is probably not “Exaggeration” but I doubt if they can find “My ideal Hotel at the Best Price” because it may not be on a hotel booking website. Hotel Booking sites charge commision and some smaller hotels do not advertise on hotel booking sites. Here is how to find a hotel not on booking sites.
Some Travel Guides offer alternative places to eat, but obviously cannot cover all restaurants in a city, other offer a selection, some of which are just sponsored advertising in the guise of “Best of ” information.
In general if an article claims to offer you the “Best of … ” or “The Top Ten …” It is at best only the writers opinion, it is not unbiased information, at the worst it is disguised advertising or sponsorship.
Knowledge Belongs to You
If you’ve got some data and some information and so you have some knowledge. But what you choose to do with that knowledge is up to you, reject it, use it or forget it. That will depend on what you want the knowledge for and whether you believe where it came from.
If you read any of my other posts, you will notice that I like to check things out, where ever I can, for myself and I would strongly advise you to do the same. The aim of this website is to help you to do what you want, only a little bit better. This is not your normal Travel Blog.