A Fireside chat with Scott from Hack My Trip

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Welcome to a new Sunday series that will be a bit like a fireside chat. I count it a privilege to be a part of an amazing group of Travel bloggers here at BoardingArea.com. But just how well do you know “your” BoardingArea writers? Are you reading all the blogs you should be each day? This series will help you get to know them one by one. Now on to this weeks chat.

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There are few blogs that not just know exactly what they are talking about in the FF world, but have not just one expert blogger on the blog but TWO! You see both Scott and Amol who both write the Hack My Trip blog are amazing points enthusiasts and experts. I count it a privilege to know them both but let’s get to know the founder of the blog Scott, the “Hack” behind the Hack My Trip.

Rene – Hi Scott! It is great as busy as you are that you are taking the time to sit down for a chance to get to know you. Your blog is amazing. You hit on complex topics and break them down in a simple and easy to understand way. Plus you travel a ton. What drove you to start blogging and to share all you know with readers?

Scott – I was answering a lot of the same questions on MilePoint, and it made more sense to create a blog where I could refer people back to posts that I already wrote. Plus it gave me a chance to write something other than research papers.

Rene – That is great. I find, after over a dozen of these chats, that so many were driven to share on a larger scale by the neverending questions they were getting from those curious about frequent flying. I have a bunch to ask you but I think one most readers want to know is why your blog has such a different look that then rest at BoardingArea?

Scott – I created my blog before I was part of BoardingArea, and after investing some effort in getting it up and running I didn’t want to abandon that after joining the team. So I spoke to Randy and we worked out a deal where I could maintain some independence on a separate domain name and he would still syndicate the blog through BoardingArea like all the others. I’ve continued to make some changes, though not all of them work as I intend them to.

Rene – Got it. I have to say your blog is fresh, and you do offer so much to readers but still have that “BA” feel. And yet, you are unique. Your blog is a team effort with Amol. How did he join the “Hack” team?

Scott – I came across some of Amol’s work when he was still producing “Points to Point B” — a name he continues to use for his Twitter handle. It was pretty good, with longer, creative pieces of the type I wanted to write. I also felt he wrote well and I wouldn’t need to supervise him. My deal was that if he wanted to write for me instead he would benefit from an established audience and I’d probably be able to provide him more compensation than he was currently earning through Google AdSense. I don’t dictate his schedule or topics.

Rene – I have to say you and he made the right move and I enjoy reading all you both post on the the blog. On to what you do. Hack my Trip covers airlines, hotels and more but not just in a general way. You seem to make things so clear and yet not “silly” if that is clear. Just who are you trying to reach with your blog?

Scott – My target audience is me. I don’t care much for shopping portals, credit card bonuses, or free points and miles for contest entries. I’m not saying that I don’t participate in those opportunities, but they aren’t what I want to read most of the time. Sometimes when I write a post it’s because I have an interesting question I came up with or that a reader posed. Or someone just hasn’t done the kind of comparison I want to do. What I don’t want to do is write something that reads a lot like what someone else already said a year ago.

Rene – I have found what you say is so true of all the top bloggers. They write what is near and dear to them and that comes across in their posts and low and behold that is also what readers want to know as well. Another question, you have a bunch of stuff others don’t have. A shopping maximizer, an Ultimate travel guide and also award booking. How do you find time for all you do plus “Ask Scottrick” on top of all that? You have a full time job in addition to blogging, right?

Scott – Most of those other things aren’t my projects. The shopping maximizer is developed by a local Seattle reader, I provided a few suggestions to another blogger who wrote the travel guide, and I operate the award booking service on a referral basis since I got so many inquiries. “Ask Scottrick” is still me. But I dabble to see what works well and might be worth pursuing on my own. On the side, I do some work as a technical writer, but the blog occupies most of my time.

Rene – Amazing. So many bloggers are excited about 2014. We are in unprecedented times in the travel industry. What can we look forward to from Scott in 2014? What is next from such a brilliant travel mind?

Scott – I have something I’ve been working on for a couple months, but unfortunately I can’t share any details about it. It should be interesting, though. People will either love it or hate it.

Rene – Wow. I hate waiting but look forward to what is next (I am sure we will love it)! Scott thank you so much for taking the time to get to know you a bit better and not just about you but the team behind Hack my Trip!

Scott – You’re welcome. Thanks for having me over, Rene.

You can read Scott’s blog on BoardingArea, follow him on facebook and twitter and RSS, daily 1x a day email and contact him as well with questions. Be sure to check back next week when we get to know another one of your favorite BA bloggers! – René

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