The paper niche

We're not sure the marketing gurus have identified it as such, but we believe there is such a thing as a paper niche.

The paper niche is a cross-section of the travel market wherein clients appreciate and prefer the traditional passport folder with a paper itinerary, paper receipt, paper tickets, paper vouchers, topped off with a business card and maybe even a palm-sized pamphlet of useful phrases.

Sure, you can do all that in an email, or hand it over in person on a thumb drive, but for many clients it's a letdown not to get that satisfying packet, and agents can sense that, even when passengers don't bring it up.

Kudos, then, to Gogo for reintroducing the paper option and to other suppliers such as Apple Vacations, Travel Impressions and Globus, for keeping it alive.

In this service business, it is of course absolutely essential that we have the ability to put 2D barcode boarding passes on smartphones, as JetBlue is beginning to do, but technological sophistication is not the only measure of our coolness.

Knowing what the customer wants and providing it without fuss, without guilt or shame, at no additional cost -- now that's cool.
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