Peaks period crowdsourcing: If we built it, would you come?

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With a couple of our stories pointing to guarded optimism from travel agents at the start of 2010, this week's homepage poll wrote itself: a simple 'Here's what we've heard - but how are things with you?' job. 

Peaks period poll on Travel WeeklyAs Robin said in Friday's comment piece, we can't know how the peaks period has gone until proper numbers start coming in a few weeks down the line.

But we do know that, even as Travel Weekly goes to print and people start opening the digital book, the picture is slowly becoming clearer.

So a situation like the peaks period is particularly interesting and challenging to web editors. It cries out to be covered 'live', but there's no event to focus attention - as there is when, say, the BBC does live text coverage of a test match.

I'm reminded of Farmers Weekly, who were across the hall at TW's old publishing house. Their equivalent is the annual harvest, and last year they invited readers to anonymously submit their location and progress. All that went into a broad 'heat map' that showed how the harvest was going in each region of the UK.

Problems with that? Of course. It makes demands of readers. Do they have time to submit data to their trade media? Do they want to?

I'm idealistic enough to think the answers to those questions don't have to be 'no', especially when there's a big shared experience involved.

When snow started falling over the UK on December 17, even the most casual Twitter users were adding #uksnow and a postcode to their tweets, and gabbling excitedly about Ben Marsh's brilliant snow map.

I had an airport pickup to do the following day, and I'm not kidding when I tell you that was more helpful to me than the BBC and Met combined.

For now, I'm just running a peaks poll - and it's gratifying to see that early results do reflect 'cautious optimism', with 59% seeing good summer sales (winter's a different story).

But could we have done more? If Travel Weekly tried to track the peaks period with your help, would you participate?

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2 Comments

Great idea, Nathan, and hope it might come off at some point. Aren't agents quite guarded about business though? How to get over that.

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This page contains a single entry by Nathan Midgley published on January 11, 2010 5:02 PM.

Holiday Options failure: reaction on Twitter was the previous entry in this blog.

Globes 2010: Did consumers and travel agents agree? is the next entry in this blog.

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