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I wrote about BBQ for Visit the USA and then visited my local BBQ joint because I have no restraint

Visit the USABrand USA’s Visit the USA website, which encourages travelers abroad to, well, visit the USA, just published two articles I wrote:

In a related story, Pitmasters Back Alley BBQ just opened in DC, about two blocks away from my house, and I’ve been ordering from it weekly. With no dine-in option, it didn’t qualify for my articles. But if you’re in DC, you’d be well advised to call in an order and just picnic some place.

Photo: Courtesy Visit the USA

I argue for taking a cruise with the kids in ‘Condé Nast Traveler’s’ January 2016 issue

Condé Nast Traveler January 2016 coverThe January 2016 issue of Condé Nast Traveler includes my article “Two Very Good Arguments to Take a Cruise Right Now—With the Kids … “.

(In case you’re curious, the other argument is for taking a cruise without the kids. And it’s pretty persuasive.)

You can pick up Condé Nast Traveler wherever fine magazines are sold. Update Jan. 12, 2016: My article now appears online as well.

And if this article has you hankering for more articles and videos from me on Disney Cruise Line, you’re in luck:

Photo: Courtesy Condé Nast Traveler

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.