Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
2Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Improving Travel Research - David J. Wardell (2011)

Improving Travel Research - David J. Wardell (2011)

Ratings: (0)|Views: 44|Likes:
Published by David Wardell
Once again a new year brings another round of what passes for industry research. Although notoriously over-surveyed, the travel industry remains awash in bad data, ill-conceived and poorly executed research projects, and self-serving studies that are relevant more to the next round of funding or the next newsletter sale than to developing a real understanding of markets and trends.

Eventually the industry may get better at labeling useless research for what it is (the trend is not positive, however), but for now the very few good studies routinely drown amidst the hyperbole of research that can’t connect with real insight—or those that connect all too well because the result was fairly evident before the process began.
Once again a new year brings another round of what passes for industry research. Although notoriously over-surveyed, the travel industry remains awash in bad data, ill-conceived and poorly executed research projects, and self-serving studies that are relevant more to the next round of funding or the next newsletter sale than to developing a real understanding of markets and trends.

Eventually the industry may get better at labeling useless research for what it is (the trend is not positive, however), but for now the very few good studies routinely drown amidst the hyperbole of research that can’t connect with real insight—or those that connect all too well because the result was fairly evident before the process began.

More info:

Published by: David Wardell on Apr 24, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

08/08/2013

pdf

text

original

 
Improving Travel Research
By:David J. Wardell
nce again a new year brings another round of what passes for industry research.Although notoriously over-surveyed, the travel industry remains awash in baddata, ill-conceived and poorly executed research projects, and self-serving studiesthat are relevant more to the next round of funding or the next newsletter sale than todeveloping a real understanding of markets and trends.
O
Eventually the industry may get better at labeling useless research for what it is (the trendis not positive, however), but for now the very few good studies routinely drown amidstthe hyperbole of research that can’t connect with real insight—or those that connect alltoo well because the result was fairly evident before the process began.Nowhere is the problem more acute than in the on line travel and social media worlds.High-priced research typically reinforces conventional wisdom and assumptions whilekey customer and behavior questions remain unresolved.I’ve wondered aloud in past articles why major trade groups show such slight interest inthese issues. If the on line and social media worlds have such monumentalconsequences, what precisely could be more important to their members?Here are a few suggestions for modeling forthcoming research projects. These are similarto suggestions I’ve made in public for 15 years, and hopefully they will help youappreciate the limitations of today’s travel research and be positioned to improve it in thefuture.
1.Broaden the Base
Successful studies need wide participation and sponsorship. Those funded and controlledby a single company or clique are not necessarily bad, but this adds complexities andconcerns that are avoidable through planning and execution that strives to include moreviewpoints. Addressing the needs of a broad constituency increases both value andintegrity.
2.Sampling Is Key
Few research projects undertaken in the travel industry describe how the study samplewas selected, what the resulting accuracy and margin for error are, or the size of thesample. This is because these are among the most challenging aspects of valid research—requiring time, expertise, and money to address properly.Most researchers simply ignore them; the resulting studies are little better than worthless.If you peek under the covers only slightly at a surprising number of major industry
Improving Travel ResearchApril 23, 2011Page 1
© 2011 by David J. Wardell. All Rights Reserved.
 
studies, you’ll discover that the sample essentially self-selects. The researchers won’texplain how their conclusions in this environment are valid because they aren’t—andthey can’t.There are many parts of a study that has sufficient statistical validity to become the basisfor real-world conclusions and predictions, but one is usually that a valid sample must bedefined and identified in advance of the research and then the study must continue until itreaches the sample as defined. More work than most researchers want.
3.Questions, Questions
Any question-based research should disclose the questions used and how these arepresented. Forming valid questions is a significant undertaking—which is frequentlybotched.During 2010 I was treated to a trade conference where the expert presented study resultsto show the importance of the field where he was the market leader and that was thesubject of his presentation. The self-selected sample were asked a variety of simplisticquestions with many obvious answers:
“Is cost-control important in your business?” 
Have you ever met anyone who would answer “no?”When the presenter reached some study questions that were clearly silly, he remarked,
“Well, my staff assembled these questions and I should have reviewed thembetter.” 
In other words, the presentation is a waste of everyone’s time—which also sayssomething about the extent to which some conference organizers vet their presentations.
4.Seek Wide Input
Limiting control over a study to its sponsors or other “insiders” cannot but color theresult as self-serving. Enlightened researchers learned along ago that the “best andbrightest” often don’t work for them and they seek such talent out wherever they can findit.
5.Dump Hyperbole; Focus On Quality
The industry doesn’t need another round or praise describing how great the opportunityof the day may be. What’s needed is thorough research and careful answers that relate tobusiness concerns and allow the reader to reliably take action.This simple definition disqualifies most of the fluff-laden e-commerce and social mediastudies of the past few years. There are people who know how to do real research—it’s amystery when their input is so clearly lacking in the major reports of today.
6.Analyze
As there are competent researchers there are also competent interpreters who can makeconnections between abstract numbers and real business situations. Their work ought to
Improving Travel ResearchApril 23, 2011Page 2
© 2011 by David J. Wardell. All Rights Reserved.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->