People are constantly asking me why travel agents still exist in the age of internet and I have one simple answer:
Coffee, like travel, is deluged with a number of options.
You can make it yourself at home and it’s fairly cheap. You know exactly what is going into it, how much it cost you and if it tastes terrible, you’ve only got yourself to blame. You are not a coffee expert but it does save you a bit of money.
However coffee shops, like travel agencies, exist. You are quite prepared to pay for someone else to do something that you are perfectly capable of doing yourself at home. Prices vary from store to store depending on who is making it, what size you buy, how many people are having coffee and how much the store decides their time and resources are worth.
It is essentially the same product as you make at home but you are paying for someone to froth the milk, brew the coffee, wash the cups, make the cake that you decide to add on to your coffee order and clean up after you. If you want to tailor your cup of coffee to your precise tastes, you are paying for someone to do that for you, and if it tastes terrible, you can take it back and get them to fix it. You are prepared to pay that little bit more to have someone else do the work for you and ensure you have the exact coffee you were after.
Why do you go to a coffee shop rather than making it yourself at home every time? Maybe you like the way a certain coffee shop makes your coffee. Maybe you like the atmosphere of the coffee shop. Maybe it’s more convenient than fiddling around with a coffee machine at home. Maybe your coffee shop has introduced you to a new blend or a syrup that you hadn’t tried before. Maybe they have access to some really great cakes.
Do you argue that Starbucks is cheaper than Gloria Jeans? Or that Muffin Break give you a cheaper cup of coffee with a muffin purchase that Donut King doesn’t? No, you just buy it because you like it.
Travel agencies are the coffee shops of the holiday industry. Of course they won’t always be the cheapest, doing it yourself at home is always an option. But you are paying for someone to listen, guide, research, book and negotiate your holiday so that you get exactly what you were after. Isn’t that worth paying a little bit more for?