Stop With the Rumors Already

ately, I have noticed a plethora of articles pertaining to travel which have been expounding upon, supposing, analyzing, forecasting, and even pontificating about information which is little more than rumors — two examples of which are whether or not Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Incorporated will merge with Hyatt Corporation; or how the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program will become based on revenue in 2016.

Is this all really necessary?

First of all, none of this is news which affects anyone — yet, anyway. Remember the rumors of InterContinental Hotels Group acquiring Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Incorporated? What did all of the articles pertaining to that rumor do — other than primarily waste the time of those who read them? That is the main reason as to why I did not report on that rumor at all. Yes, I did report on Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants being acquired by InterContinental Hotels Group when the news was confirmed — but not when it was still considered a rumor.

Second, as for the possibility of the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program becoming based on revenue some day in the future: who was actually surprised by that? The actual integration of US Airways and American Airlines was the priority of the new entity; and now that the merger has been completed for the most part, is it any wonder that one of the next orders of business for the airline is to tinker with its frequent flier loyalty program?

Let’s say that the rumors eventually become reality — and are proven accurate, for that matter. Does the advance notice really help?

When was the last time you benefited from reading articles whose subject matter is based on rumors — other than for pure entertainment value, anyway?

Perhaps I should start a rumor by writing an article based on it: Delta Air Lines may consider acquiring both National Car Rental and Hilton Worldwide to offer a complete solution to its customers. A new frequent travel loyalty program called SkyHHonors will offer seamless earning and redemption of points to be used for air travel, lodging and car rentals; and it will also have a new top elite status level called Emerald Medallion.

Actually, I do believe that American Airlines once had a hotel brand called Americana, with at least 14 hotel properties — one of those hotel properties was located in San Juan, Puerto Rico — so it is not exactly unprecedented…

…but I digress.

Articles regarding rumors is a risky business for the writer: if the information is accurate, the author can become more respected — to the point of being perceived as a knowledgeable expert in the industry; but if the information is proven false, that same author can lose credibility — and possibly trust.

Sure, I have dabbled in reporting on rumors in the past; but that is usually when there is an interesting side story related to the rumors. I usually prefer writing about news when it is confirmed or actually happens. I suppose writing an article based on pure supposition attracts readers, which attracts more views. I further suppose that if any portion of the supposition in the original article which deems to not be factual is worthy of a follow-up article, which would attract readers and attract more views.

I suppose I can engage in that practice of reporting on rumors as well. I choose not to do so…

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

3 thoughts on “Stop With the Rumors Already”

  1. DavidB says:

    Thank you. I agree completely with your thoughts on this subject. Though it’s not just limited to our travel world. Just witness the billions of words written and hours taken up by US media outlets over the past two months speculating on whether or not VP Biden would run for the Democratic presidential candidacy. The “beast” demands to be fed, and the nature of the content all to often is irrelevant. So if there’s no real news, then create it! A phrase from a disgraced VP comes to mind that describes clearly what I’ve been reading for the past two days on these blogs about the possible AA changes: “Nattering nabobs of negativity.”

    I remember when UA once owned Hertz and Westin, InterContinental Hotels were pretty much created by PanAm to service its overseas destinations and refuelling posts. But these divestments were made, in part, to keep the airline company afloat in the years where profits were never in sight and loans and aircraft had to be paid for. With little to now divest — after dumping hotels and other non-airline assets, it came down to spinning off res systems and FF programs that has not proven the best of decisions for those airlines that did this in their dire need for cash — we’re now hearing rumour that Delta is looking at moving off-shore so it can pay lower taxes…forgetting that the US has a strict domestic ownership requirement that would put such a move in question. But let the rumours flourish…after all it’s just one of the wonders of the 1st Amendment.

  2. Dom says:

    You’re making way too much sense to be a travel blogger. The feeding frenzy around the “reliably sourced” AAdvantage rumors was beyond silly. Shock, outrage, complaints and threats…all over something not announced and something that they have no control over.

    Your focus on substance is refreshing and appreciated. Other who post rumors as clickbait? Not so much.

  3. Kanaan says:

    I agree to some extent that there have been quite a few pieces of allegations and it’s been what some bloggers have been focusing on the past week. We know it’s something that we should wait to hear the facts on but part of me likes hearing the rumors (not necessarily the countless articles dissecting and analyzing ad nauseum). Particularly with negative changes that may occur in the very near future, at best we can perhaps raise enough dissent for management to reconsider said alleged intent (highly unlikely, but it’s better than silence) and at worst, we can brace ourselves and get ready for defection.

    I get that all this speculation can be annoying. But like with all blog posts – we are not obligated to read them. Ever.

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