82% of all statistics are suspect

Every travel conference that I attend (whether in person or like #phocuswright this week, digitally), there are statistics bandied about. 

I love the title of this blog, as it is a tongue in cheek slam on the whole field of statistics.  I do have a healthy respect for true research and the statistics that come from that research.

But statistics without context or a (dare I say statistically reliable) source are nothing more than a jumble of misleading numbers.  

Take this tweet from the Innovation Conference yesterday from @content3point0 which begins with the word FACT.

I don’t know Raj at all, but I know he meant well when he commented that “close to 50% of travelers don’t have destination in mind when starting discovery”.  

As I point out in my “countertweet”, it is only for holiday/vacation travel that this could possibly be true.  

Business travelers would be in real trouble if they didn’t know where they were going at the outset of discovery of the details for a trip.  Likewise if you are going to a wedding, a funeral, a concert, a sporting event, a family or class reunion or any other event, the starting point of planning is actually the venue where that event is being held.

Bottom line here – with context and source:

According to the US Travel Association, based on the number of trips
taken annually in the US, just 8% of the total overnight trips are for
vacation/holiday travel.    And to provide context, there are 2 billion trips taken in the US annually – 1 billion are day trips and 1 billion are overnight trips.  So if just 8% of those are vacation, that market is 80 million trips, so there are potentially 40 million people each year who (if indeed they do not have a destination in mind) can be swayed by online leisure tools (or travel agents) that have trips that could appeal to their hopes, dreams, desires, needs. 

So please, please….. feel free to quote numbers, but be very careful to have your facts and figures, plus the context and source data ready if someone challenges you. 

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