If your site contains any slip-ups, your credibility will be damaged. The customer won’t be happy, and you can be almost certain that they’ll tell their friends (or give you a bad review).
Here, we’ll look at how fact-checking travel content works and how essential it is to travel writing success. Enjoy!
Fact-checking travel content: What’s the big deal?
All written content should be fact-checked. It’s common sense – why would you want to put out inaccurate information?
With travel content, it’s especially important, as customers are much more likely to leave you a bad review if you get things wrong. Even simple things like rounding up the journey time between destinations can really wind travel customers up!
After all, they’ve probably paid a lot of money for this trip and any false information might mess up their plans.
A bad review can really damage your reputation. It indicates that you’re not a credible source or an authority in your industry. And, this means that your audience won’t trust you.
Remember, people rarely comment about the good stuff – however, they seem to derive some pleasure or catharsis from leaving a scathing review on your page. If more than one person leaves a bad review, other customers will soon start to believe the criticism.
This can snowball to the point where no one wants to use your service. Travel is a highly competitive market, and your audience knows there are other providers out there. An inaccurate statement or a bad review might just be enough to push your customers to seek help elsewhere.
There’s another reason why fact-checking travel content is so important. Search engines such as Google might soon be able to detect any inaccuracies in content and penalise websites for spreading misinformation. This is part of the global drive against ‘fake news’, but it could impact travel companies too.
Many travel companies rely on organic search, so a hit to your rankings could be highly detrimental. Fact-check your content to ensure this doesn’t happen to you!
How to fact-check your travel content
Sadly, as a travel copywriter you don’t often get to visit the places you write about. Not only does this mean you won’t get that fabulous suntan, it also means you can’t physically check if what you’re saying is correct.
So, you need to find other ways of fact-checking travel content. We can help with this:
1) Verify names, dates, titles and contact information
Get things off to a good start and double-check all your spellings for:
- Brand, personal and organisation names
- Job titles
- Days and dates
- Email and phone numbers
For contact information, make sure addresses and numbers are correct and in use by contacting them directly. This will help ensure that the companies you’re writing about are still operating.
2) Make sure all location info is up-to-date
Ensure that the names and spellings are correct for cities, states, capitals, regions, countries and other geographical areas.
In some cases, the name of certain areas might have changed over time. For example, Abyssinia to Ethiopia and Burma to Myanmar.
You should also make sure each area is referred to correctly; for example, Austin is the capital city of the state of Texas.
3) Use the primary source (and check it’s reliable)
The internet is full of fact-file pages and exaggerated claims, so don’t assume that everything you read is true. Instead, find a few sources to back up every statement or claim you make.
If you’re quoting statistics or speech via a third party, go back to the original source and read it through to make sure it contains the information you need. Then link to that primary source to cut out the middle-man.
You should also check the validity of the source; does it come from a reputable industry body? Or, can it be edited by anyone (e.g. like Wikipedia)?
Also, check the source’s date of publication. Anything over two years could contain information that’s severely out-of-date.
4) Double-check superlatives
Using phrases such as ‘the best’, ‘the most’ and ‘the first’ is very common in travel content – they’re almost clichés!
However, if a claim can’t be supported with evidence, it shouldn’t be included in your content! Run a few extra Google searches to give you confidence that your claims are correct.
5) Try a fact-checking site
Travel content is a crowded field, so chances are that people may have searched for your query before.
They might have documented it on fact-checking sites such as:
Just be sure to check the source before you go ahead with making the claim. Even fact-checkers aren’t infallible.
6) Ask someone else to check it
Conduct your initial checks when researching and writing your piece, but then ask an editor or professional fact-checker to assess the accuracy of your content.
It can seem painful having to pay to hire an extra person, but a thorough copy-edit and fact-check can turn a good travel page into a fantastic, engaging piece.
It will also improve the overall quality and accuracy of your content. This should result in more people recognising your expertise and choosing you over other providers. Hooray!
Fact-checking travel content is important and should form part of your standard checks as a writer. Go through your content to check if it’s completely accurate and make changes today!