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Skift, campaigner against the hate-sell, loves to hate-sell

Skift is the self-proclaimed “largest industry intelligence and marketing platform in travel, providing news, information, data and services to all sectors of the world’s largest industry.”

On Aug. 10, 2015, Skift’s founder and CEO, Rafat Ali, published an article on the site titled, “Travel Brands, Stop Hate-Selling to Your Customers.” In the piece, Ali describes how he coined the term “hate-selling,” which he defines as … well, he doesn’t really. But based on the examples he provides, it’s seems that hate-selling refers to when a business makes a passive-aggressive attempt at shaming customers into a sale, often an upsell:

Since that first article, a search of “hate-sell” on shows the outlet has published 11 additional articles containing the phrase—a clip of more than one article a week.

Ali’s anti-hate-selling campaign even landed him a spot on a “Today” show segment about airlines upselling travelers (he’s at the 1:20 mark):

And at 11:05 a.m. today at the Skift Global Forum (produced by Skift, it’s the self-proclaimed “first conference focused on top strategists, technologists, and marketers in travel, the people creating the future of travel in 2015 and beyond”), there’ll be this session: 

Skift, however, has been hate-selling well before its founder coined the term. And, even after the outlet began publicly campaigning against these passive-aggressive upsells, it has continued to try to shame readers into buying its products.

In July 2014—13 months before Ali and Skift publicly used “hate-sell” and launched their campaign—a pop-up ad on Skift to buy its report on travel trends wouldn’t disappear unless I either purchased the document or selected a button that said I’m not interested in trends. I didn’t know it until Ali later coined the term, but I was being subject to a hate-sell! That ad led to this Twitter exchange with Skift’s co-founder and head of content Jason Clampet: 

Skift’s campaign, however, doesn’t afford travel businesses the same justification.

Here are some recent examples of Skift’s effective marketing/hate-selling (I didn’t start taking screenshots until Skift began crusading against its own practice):

Skift hate-sell

Skift hate-sell

Skift hate-sell

In the following tweet, Ali appears to be defending Skift’s hate-sells as a spoof on the travel industry:

But that exchange occurred 15 months after Clampet told me Skift hate-sells because it works. So Ali’s apparent claim that the line is a joke holds water about as well as the Costa Concordia.

Zach take: If you’re at the Skift Global Forum this morning, attend the “Hate-Selling: A Love Story” skit. It should be hilarious to watch Ali and his colleagues simultaneously talk out of both sides of their mouths. Of course, it’s likely they do in fact love hate-selling— apparently it both sells reports and gets Ali on the “Today” show.

Latest assignment was close to home, but still a bit trippy

Wells Fargo Advisors LifescapesBehold my latest article:

Washington, D.C.: Beyond the Monuments

While the article didn’t take me far from home, it did take me back in time:

  • The editor was my college roommate.
  • The outlet was Wells Fargo Advisors’s Lifescapes publication. Wells Fargo bought First Union, my first post-college employer (“Thank you for calling First Union’s Retail Investment Group. This is Zach Everson speaking. How may I help you?” x 65 times a day).
  • The subject is DC, which is what I covered for my first travel writing gig (with Gridskipper).

Also, as of this post, my article is the most popular on the Lifescapes website.

Photo: Courtesy Wells Fargo Advisors

New gig alert: I’m now contributing to Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet logoHappy to share that today I started contributing to Lonely Planet. Here’s my first article: “New app allows users to send messages without internet connection.”

Ten years ago, Lonely Planet’s “Europe on a Shoestring” guided me on a three-month trip from Dublin to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey (and back!). Lonely Planet’s been my go-to for guidebooks ever since.

I’ll be contributing articles that focus on travel news, usually where it intersects with other areas. To wit, today I’m writing about Taylor Swift.

Can a new smart-trip planner create my dream vacation? By me for ‘Condé Nast Traveler.’

Condé Nast Traveler

Last week I tested a new digital smart-trip planner for Condé Nast Traveler:

This week, Inspirock launched what it claims is “the first free smart trip planner that instantly learns your personal interests and creates an itinerary just for you.” On average, the Inspirock team says, travelers visit 38 websites over 21 days when planning a trip. The startup aims to cut that number down significantly by using machine learning and—you guessed it—big data.

Found out how Inspirock did when I put it to the test in hopes of getting a trip full of restaurants, bourbon, and pony races.

Trips + Giggles posts my top 5 family travel tips

The family at a Washington Nationals game

A couple weeks back Trips + Giggles, one of my favorite travel outlets for parents, published my top five family travel tips:

“Trips + Giggles Top 5 Family Travel Tips with Zach Everson”

It takes some cojones to try the flying one, but it’s totally worth doing. I discovered it accidentally: when we had just kid, I flew to Boston for Thanksgiving with her. My wife was in another city on a business trip and was flying to Boston directly from there .

Thanks to Juliana Shallcross, Trips + Giggles founder and editor, for asking for my insight.

The best Fourth of July hotel deals, by me for ‘Condé Nast Traveler’

Condé Nast Traveler

Last week Condé Nast Traveler published my round-up of the top 10 domestic hotel deals for the Fourth of July weekend:

The Fourth of July is less than two weeks away, but there are still plenty of hotel deals available if you’re planning a last-minute getaway. Here are ten U.S. cities offering hotel bargains this Independence Day weekend, according to data from that compares this year’s average rates with last year’s prices.

Read the entire article at Condé Nast Traveler.

Thanks to for sharing its data.

Detour got even better so I wrote about it again for ‘Condé Nast Traveler’

Condé Nast Traveler

Back in March, I called Detour “an audio guide that’s actually worth paying for” in an article for Condé Nast Traveler. (The app offers “location-aware audio walks” that guide travelers through a “This American Life”-like story.)

Yesterday, the app, got an important update. So, follow-up article:

A new series of “location-aware audio walks” in Barcelona, Berlin, London, Marrakech, New York, and Paris are making what might be the world’s best audio guide app even better. Until this week, Detour—which Condé Nast Traveler previously called “an audio guide that’s actually worth paying for”—only had walks in its hometown of San Francisco and, in a one-off collaboration with Radiolab for SXSW, Austin.

Read the entire article at Condé Nast Traveler.