Blog | Viewsbank

Blog

Is Brexit to blame for travel agent troubles?

Rewind a few years and if you wanted to book yourself a package holiday, chances are you wouldn’t think twice about visiting your local travel agent in order to book your trip. Fast forward to today however, and it’s a different story, with various online comparison sites and market disrupting tech firms like Airbnb all fighting for your cash when it comes to holiday booking time. Is there still room for traditional travel agents such as Thomas Cook and Tui in this modern age, or are they on the way out?

You’ll likely have seen the news over the last week or so that Thomas Cook has unfortunately revealed fresh financial woes, announcing a staggering £1.5 billion six months loss, and issuing its third profit warning in less than a year. The company is citing Brexit uncertainty as the primary reason for customers making fewer bookings this year, but is it all too easy to blame Brexit for something that has been a long time coming?

We thought we’d do a bit of digging and try and find out a bit more by looking at the thoughts of our Viewsbank members in last week’s Omnibus survey. Surely that could help us get to the bottom of it?

To set the scene, we asked our 1,019 respondents whether they had taken a holiday abroad in the last 5 years, with 69% (707) saying that they had. With that in mind we wanted to see how many people were likely to be going on holiday abroad this year, to see whether or not Brexit was having a significant impact on bookings. Interestingly, 67% (680) told us that, yes they had already booked or were likely to book, or they were “maybe” considering it. Not exactly a significant drop off from those who had been on holiday abroad in the last five years.

The 33% (339) who said no, were also asked why they were not planning on taking a holiday abroad this year, with just 5% (16) of those respondents stating that they were concerned about the impact of Brexit – not exactly inline with what Thomas Cook is reporting. The majority of respondents (51%, 173) simply told us that they couldn’t afford it this year, with a further 16% (53) saying they weren’t interested, and 15% (51) saying they were too busy this year.

Digging a little deeper we asked everyone who had already booked, or were likely to book a holiday abroad this year, how likely they were to use a travel agent such as Thomas Cook. Just 7% (45) of respondents reported having already booked their holiday this way. However, things are looking a little better here for travel agents here with 37% (251) respondents stating they were either likely or very likely to use a travel agent, with a further 18% (121) not sure. The remaining 39% (263) told us that they were either unlikely or very unlikely to use a travel agent.

We also wanted to know why these respondents were unlikely to use a travel agent – 51% (134) told us that they thought travel agents were too expensive, while 38% (99) said they were outdated and 32% (83) thought they were not convenient enough. Interestingly, 18% (47) said they would not book with a travel agent specifically due to being worried about the travel agent going into administration. We followed that up by asking if the recent £1.5bn loss announcement would put respondents off booking, and on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being completely put off, and 1 being not put off at all, 31% (218) of the 707 respondents who answered that question scored either a 4 or 5 here, so clearly announcements like this aren’t going to help matters.

What do you think? Do you think travel agents like Thomas Cook will be able to adapt for the future, or are they on the way out? Do you think companies have been quick to blame Brexit for other deeper issues, or do you think that it’s fair for Brexit to shoulder the blame? Let us know in the comments – we look forward to hearing what you think!

Is social media to blame for the measles outbreak?

Measles and the MMR vaccine are big news at the moment – in fact it feels like the story has been getting even more news coverage than Brexit over the last couple of weeks, and with good reason. The latest outbreak is reportedly a 25 year high for the disease in the US, with France and the UK also ranking alongside the US as high income countries with some of the largest numbers of children missing their MMR vaccinations.

So why is this happening? The UK was actually granted measles elimination status by the World Health Organisation in 2017 after all – it seems crazy to think it could all go so wrong so quickly. Governments and news outlets around the world have been taking aim at the growing “anti-vaxxer” movement that appears to be gaining traction recently, well apart from perhaps President Trump and his super helpful thoughts on linking the MMR vaccine with Autism that he’s thankfully since retracted. He’s now calling on all Americans to “get their shots” in case you missed that one.

Many people will remember that the MMR vaccine was controversially linked to autism back in the 90s by former British doctor Andrew Wakefield who published a fraudulent research paper linking the two. It was later discovered that Wakefield had been paid by attorneys of parents who were suing the vaccine manufacturers and that his data was fraudulent. He was eventually struck off by the General Medical Council after being found guilty of professional misconduct. None of this mattered though – the anti-vaxxer community were quick to latch on this “research”, finally claiming to have the proof they needed, and it’s something that has taken time to fade from people’s minds.

However, now some of these theories appear to be making a comeback, with the latest figures suggesting that more than half a million children in the UK missed their first dose of MMR between 2010 and 2017, just behind France at 608,000, and the US with a staggering 2.6 million. Many have been quick to point the finger at social media and the fake news epidemic that we’ve been hearing about over the past couple of years or so, but how true is it? We thought we’d run a few questions past our members in last week’s Omnibus survey to find out about their experiences.

To set the scene and gather our member’s thoughts on vaccinations in general, we asked on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being “I do not believe that children should be vaccinated at all” and 5 being “Vaccinations for children in the UK should be compulsory”, what our members thought. Encouragingly, 81% of 1,059 nationally representative respondents put either a 4 or a 5, with the majority of those answering with 5. Just 6% put their answer as either a 1 or a 2, with the remaining 13% sitting on the fence and believing that it should be up to the parents as to whether they vaccinate their children.

The big question came at the end – we wanted to know whether our members had seen or heard any advice or information from so called anti-vaxxers in the last few months and the results were interesting. While we found that 27% had never seen or heard of this type of content before, and a further 27% had heard of this type of content but hadn’t seen it personally, a fairly high 25% had seen anti-vaxxer content on social media in the last few months. Furthermore, 21% of respondents reported seeing this type of content online and 14% have either heard or had a conversation with someone about it. Staggeringly, the most dedicated anti-vaxxers out there appear to be so determined to spread their message that they’re going door to door – with 5% of respondents reporting that they’ve received this type of content through their door, and while thankfully a fairly low number, a still worrying 6% of respondents reported sharing anti-vaxxer content themselves in the last few months.

While it’s clear then that anti-vaxxer content is not finding its way to everyone, it’s still quite concerning that so many of our respondents have been exposed to this type of content in some way in the last few months, and our research does seem to suggest that while social media isn’t the only culprit here, it certainly appears to be the place where you’re most likely to run into this content.

What do you think about the current measles outbreak? Do you think social media is to blame? Let us know in the comments – we look forward to reading them.

user picture
The future of gaming?

3 months ago by James_Admin

The future of gaming?

 

The gaming industry is booming. In fact, video games are now so popular that globally the market was worth around $135 billion (£102 billion) in 2018. Google is well aware of this and wants a piece of the action.

In fact, Google already has a piece of the action - it has YouTube which is incredibly successfull as a place for gamers to show of their skills, as well as somwhere to watch guides, walk throughs, reviews and so on. Google also has the Android gaming platform, with plenty of games being downloaded from the Play Store each day. Sounds like a good business model already doesn't it? Google however clearly wants an even bigger share in this multi-billion dollar industry, as just last week it has announced a new gaming platform - Google Stadia.

What is Google Stadia?

Google Stadia is Google's brand new gaming platform, that they're hoping will compete with rivals such as Sony's Playstation and Microsoft's Xbox, and even the PC gaming market. It differs from a traditional gaming console in that while the control pad looks pretty "normal", you do not need to purchase an expensive console to play the latest games. In fact, Stadia will work with many existing desktop computers and laptops, TVs, phones and even certain models of the company's popular Chromecast streaming device. This is all possible because the games do not run in your own home or on your own device as they would traditionally, but elsewhere, on Google's own high end hardware that it will update regularly. The picture you see on your TV or other device is nothing more than a video stream of the game.

With its new platform, Google is hoping to lean on its success with YouTube that it already has among the gaming community, and during a demonstration at its announcement, the firm demonstrated how a gamer could be watching a video on YouTube before pressing a "play on Stadia" button with the title launching and becoming playable in just a few seconds.

"Hundreds of millions of people watch gaming content on YouTube every single day. Our vision is to bring those worlds closer together," said Phil Harrison, Google's new head of gaming.

While in theory Google Stadia sounds fantasic and potentially something that could mark a shift away from tradtional home consoles and PCs, this type of technology isn't without its critics, and there are still a lot of unknowns about Google's service, such as the price and available games.

Gamers and industry experts are excited to try the new platform but are urging caution when it comes to this type of technology, as similar attempts in the past have been hampered by "lag" - the game's time delay between controller input and action on the screen. This is particularly important in popular online games such as first person shooters, where even a small increase in lag can make the game very difficult to play. Google is keen to point out that it has clever algorithms and compression in place that will enable Stadia to run even on internet connections that aren't the fastest available, but in truth we'll probably know more about how well this will work once the platform has launched later this year.

There's also the issue of price and the games that will be available on the service. In terms of price, we still have no idea how much this is going to cost or even how the service will work. Will Google pitch a sort of "Netflix for games", where you'll need a monthly subscription in order to access content, or will you still need to purchase games separately? We'll have to wait and see and of course this could make a massive difference to the popularity of the service.

What do Viewsbank members think of Google Stadia?

In last week's Omnibus survey, we put a series of questions to our members relating to their gaming habits and Google Stadia in general. Of 1,047 people who took the survey 66% of those members currently play some form of video games, with 75% of those members who do playing for 2 hours or more, so just the type of people Google are going to be targeting with their new platform.

Rather surprisingly just 17% of gamers surveyed said they would either "probably" or "definitely" be interested in Stadia. However, rather more telling is that a further 49% of gamers have indicated that they are "maybe" interested in the new platform, showing that while Google clearly has something that has caught their attention, they're going to have pull out all the stops to convince them it's worth parting with their hard earned cash for. Of course, pricing could be a big determining factor, and a lot of the "maybe" people could be swayed either way once that is announced further down the line.

We then asked our members who indicated that they were either "probably" or "definitely" interested in the new service why they thought this type of platform might be better than current ways to game - here's what a few of them said:

"If they have solved the latency problem it will be much simpler to access as all processing is done in the cloud and all that is needed is a controller and internet enabled tv."

"The games would be available to play instantly with no downloads."

"What Google is trying to do is amazing, they want people to connect and interact more, this feature to the new gaming system is what get me excited for it's release. Just being able to stream and have people watching you join your game is incredible to me."

On the flipside of the argument, we also asked those who said they were either "probably not" or "definitely not" interested why this was the case:

"I prefer to play games that have been installed locally and are without the need of an internet connection to play them."

"I prefer playing games on my own computer where streaming latency isn't an issue."

"Because it's just a way to keep the money flowing and for them to spy on you even more than they already do and make more money from you. I like to pay for a product - say a console or a game, that is mine to keep, not keep on paying over and over and over again!"

 

What do you think of Google's new Stadia platform? Let us know in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

user picture
D I S C O

5 months ago by admin

D I S C O

D I S C O, the word on everyone’s lips. Or so I thought…

It’s a Friday afternoon in the office and my brain has begun to wander to the joys of the weekend and what is has in store. Like many people, I enjoy listening to music to ‘get me in the mood’ for the weekend and what better way to kick off your Friday evening than going back to the 70’s, putting on my imaginary flares and cranking up some Sister Sledge.

Not wanting anyone else to miss out on the fun I was having, I decided to share a few songs/playlists with colleagues. It was at this point I was left speechless, when people didn’t start to share in the joy.

“Nobody likes 70’s music anymore!”

“You’re the only person who likes Disco”

“Stop sending me links to music I don’t like”

Unbeknown to me, it turns out that not everyone loves Disco music and I may be (a little) annoying… However, not one to go down without a fight I stood up for my musical tastes, exclaiming that my colleagues were still a part of the minority.

The power of ViewsBank meant that we had the perfect tool to settle this argument and to not spend all afternoon going back and forth with a team of stubborn people!

The stakes were set; for myself and the Disco lovers to come through, I needed 50% of respondents to agree with the statement “I like and listen to disco music”. Should this win, the non-disco lovers of the office would agree to listen back to back with an hour-long Disco playlist that I had crafted

However, should there be less than 50% of people agreeing with me, I would lose. Tail between my flares, fake afro removed and never to mention the topic again.

1,786 people joined the debate, I needed 893 to support me. Heartbreak for myself and the disco lovers, we fell 95 short! With only 44.7% of people agreeing with me…

 

Whilst this may have felt like a defeat, the spirt of disco will go on. A special mention to ‘JenX’ -  “Disco music always cheers me up and gets me motivated to do something useful” and her motivational disco. To ‘Mazbev’, who appreciates how Disco can make a bad evening a great evening “… now I’m singing and dancing on this freezing cold, Friday evening”. Lastly, to a new role model of mine, ‘Hoopy1888’ “Sitting in Gold disco pants as I write”.

The magical playlist I created was not shared around the office, however I thought this was too good to waste. So, to the 44% who already love Disco, I hope something you like made the cut, and to the 56% who were indifferent or dislike Disco, I hope that you try some of these songs and hopefully I can change your mind before a re-vote! It contains a mix of everything from the 70s to current day;

  1. Diana Ross - The Boss
  2. Sister Sledge - Greatest Dancer (Dimitri from Paris remix)
  3. Gladys Knight & The Pips - Taste of Bitter Love
  4. Loose Change - Straight From the Heart (Joey Negro remix)
  5. Phylis Hyman - You Know How To Love Me
  6. Sister Sledge - Lost in Music (Dimitri from Paris remix)
  7. Gwen McCrae - Keep The Fire Burning
  8. Shapeshifters - Try My Love on For Size
  9. Aretha Franklin - Get it Right
  10. Change - Glow of Love
  11. Change - Angel in My Pocket
  12. Lovebirds - Want You in My Soul
  13. Linda Clifford - Shoot Your Best Shot

Disco Will

user picture
Viewsbank in Numbers at Christmas

7 months ago by James_Admin

Viewsbank in Numbers at Christmas

As you're probably aware, it's that time of year again, so we thought it would be nice to ask our members some obviously very important festive questions like what everyone's having for Christmas dinner, or about their preference for real or artificial Christmas trees... Like I said, really important stuff! Anyway, the results are in below. Any surprises? Let us know what you think in the comments.

Finally, the team at Viewsbank would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Black Friday: what do our members think of it?

It’s that time of year again – our inboxes are filling up with emails seemingly offering us huge discounts on everything from electronics to fashion and more. In fact, while Black Friday this year is technically on this coming Friday 23rd December, it seems like this year’s event could be the biggest one yet in the UK, with Black Friday actually feeling more like “Black Friday Week”, with shoppers being given even more chances to “grab a bargain”. Interestingly, it would seem that Black Friday may be at least partly responsible for driving a trend that’s seeing November become more and more popular for Christmas shopping in the UK. According to the BBC, November sales grew at a faster rate than December sales in 2017 for the first time.

Wait – what’s Black Friday?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, it’s unlikely that you haven’t heard of Black Friday by this point in time. In an admin poll we ran earlier this month, just 2.2% of you claimed to have never heard of it, but just in case those members are reading this, Black Friday is a tradition that originated in the US, as a heavily discounted shopping day to kick off Christmas shopping. Black Friday is always on the Friday after the American holiday of Thanksgiving, and is also followed by Cyber Monday with substantial online discounts. However, it’s not quite so clear cut these days, with many retailers merging both events into one, and even running sales events over a week or more to ease the pressure on shoppers, staff and delivery services.

If you’re interested in grabbing a bargain, it certainly sounds like a tempting time to shop. However, along with the discounts, there’s also quite a bit of negativity surrounding Black Friday in the UK too, with many labelling it as “just another tacky US import”. Furthermore, it would seem that the media aren’t doing a huge amount to improve its image, with tabloids loving nothing more than a chance to share some shaky mobile phone footage of a brawl in Asda over £99 HD TVs. I’m sure we can all agree that such behaviour is far from ideal, but thankfully it doesn’t offer a fair representation of the majority of shoppers this November.

So what do our members think?

In an admin poll that we ran a few weeks ago, we asked our members simply “Are you looking forward to Black Friday this year?”. Over 1,800 of you voted in the poll, and the results proved to be a lot closer than many of us thought. Almost 48% of you were in someway looking forward to Black Friday, whether you “love finding a bargain” in general at 32.7%, or you were looking forward to it but “only online to avoid the crowds” at 15.1%.

On the flipside we found that just over 41% of you were not looking forward to it with 30% simply saying that they were not interested and 11.2% feeling more strongly that they “can’t stand it”. We also found that 8.8% of you were sitting on the fence with “not sure” while the remaining 2.2% were unaware of what Black Friday is. See below for our full results accurate at the time of writing.

The comments also proved interesting with member “loueeze” saying “I always look out for any bargains online for the grandchildren there are usually a few good deals in the run up to black Friday, but I'm certainly not interested in queuing and fighting over things and making a fool of myself!”. Another of our members “adrian50283” added “It's a bit of a rip-off really. You can get better deals throughout the rest of the year.”

 

What do you think about Black Friday? Let us know in the comments!

 

user picture
Is smartphone innovation dead?

9 months ago by James_Admin

Is smartphone innovation dead?

It’s not hard to think back even a few years and remember the staggering pace of innovation in the world of smartphones. Year after year we were treated to a whole host of new features – cameras on phones quickly improved from just a bit of fun, to devices that allow even complete novices to take seriously good photos. We also saw the rise of apps and the app store, waterproofing, fast charging and fingerprint scanning to name but a few of the innovations we’ve seen over the last decade.

Unsurprisingly, impressive innovations such as the above have helped to drive an unbelievable amount of sales within the industry, but if you look at data over the last year or two, quite a few of the big manufacturers are reporting growth that has slowed significantly or even sales growth that has stalled altogether. In my eyes it’s not hard to see why.

Take a look Apple and Samsung for example – two of the biggest smartphone brands in the world. Apple has just released a trio of new phones – the XS, XS Max and XR, while Samsung this year has released the S9 and S9+, along with the recent Galaxy Note 9. The problem for both of these companies is that they’re struggling to give consumers a really compelling reason to upgrade.

For example, say you’ve already bought last year’s (well received) iPhone X, and assuming you’re not stuck in a two or even three year contract that you don’t fancy paying off, what reason has Apple given you to fork out £999 (and up) for this year’s latest and greatest? Well, let’s see – the processor is slightly better, the camera is slightly better, and the water resistance is slightly better. The key word here in case you haven’t noticed already is “slightly”. The thing is, all of these things were still brilliant on last year’s iPhone X – when it comes to processing power for example, all but the most demanding users are unlikely to push even last year’s model anywhere near its limits.

The same is true for Samsung, who this year reported slower than expected sales for the Galaxy S9 and I can’t say I’m surprised. Sure, the S9 is beautifully constructed device, but put it side by side with last year’s S8 and to be honest, it would take a real tech enthusiast to spot the difference. Sure it was an “S” year for Apple, and Samsung were improving on an already very good phone – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it and all that – but surely you can see my point, why would consumers continue to fork out obscene amounts of cash each year for incremental upgrades?

This all leads to one big question – is smartphone innovation dead? The latest trends are driving all manufacturers to deliver devices that are thinner than ever, with bezels that are ever shrinking, but is this what consumers really want, or is it simply what the smartphone industry thinks we all want? Where for example is the promised revolution in battery life? Yes, it has been improving a little bit in the last couple of generations, but where are the giant leaps (week long battery life anyone?) that it feels like we’ve been promised are coming. Battery life continues to be one of the most complained about smartphone problems, so surely some innovations here – or even just much larger batteries – would be more welcome by most consumers rather than smaller bezels?

Samsung have also reportedly been working on folding phones for some time now – think of a smartphone that you could open into a larger tablet style screen when needed – but we’re still yet to see the fruits of their labour. Maybe innovations such as this could be the next big thing we’re all looking for, and until then we’ll have to put up with all these incremental updates that only really appease those who absolutely must have the latest and greatest.

What do you think? Is smartphone innovation dead, or are you happy with the rate of innovation in the industry? Do you still feel the need to upgrade as regularly or do you keep your phone for longer now? Let us know your thoughts in the comments…

 

user picture
The return of an old friend

9 months ago by James_Admin

The return of an old friend

While having a bit of a “spring clean” around the site, a few weeks ago, we removed the “track” function from member’s Viewsbank accounts, our thinking being that it wasn’t really necessary, and we didn’t get huge number of users taking advantage of it. However, we quickly informed by a few of our regular members that they did in fact use the function and they were actually a little disappointed that it had been removed.

With that in mind, we decided the best way to settle this was with a good old-fashioned poll – it is kind of what we do after all – so, a few days ago, you may have noticed that we ran an admin poll to ask whether or not you used the “track” function. We had a really good response with over 1,500 of you taking part (thank you!), so it was a really useful indicator for us to gauge interest in the feature and make an informed decision on its future.

We simply asked the question, “Do you use the “track” function in your Viewsbank account?”, with the option to answer yes, no or “what’s the “track” function?” – the third option was added in as we suspected there could be some confusion as to what it was actually for, or even that many members may not have known about its existence.

Just to clarify for those who are reading this and still have no idea what I’m going on about, the “track” function was a section within your Viewsbank “account” page that “tracked” your activity on the site, providing helpful links to things like polls you had previously taken part in. Kind of like the history function in your browser.

The results of the poll came in and a staggering 70.4% of you didn’t know what the “track” function was, while only 12.5% of you did use it. That being said, we did feel like the 12.5% (193) of you who did use it still represented a fairly high number for what was a relatively minor part of the site, and we were really interested to read some of the comments to learn about why some of you wanted it back, with a significant minority of you clearly quite passionate about its return.

Viewsbank member sues said “Yes all the time and I would like to see it put back on as the comments and ongoing dialogue on the polls do make the polls and the viewsbank site much more interesting.” while getextra commented “It was handy to use because you could see the response quicker.”

With many of you wanting to see the feature return, and so many of you not knowing what it was, we felt we needed to do something about it, so I’m pleased to announce that the feature has been re-introduced. You’ll find it back in your “account” page where it used to be, but this time we’ve decided to rename it “My Activity”, as we felt this better represented what it was for, and will hopefully help avoid some of the confusion surrounding it.

What do you think? Are you glad to see the feature has returned? What do you think of the new name? Let us know in the comments!

user picture
Have hipsters killed the humble coffee shop?

9 months ago by James_Admin

Have hipsters killed the humble coffee shop?

Have Hipsters killed the humble coffee shop?

It seems that these days you can’t walk down your local high street without seeing that yet another new coffee shop has sprung up. Indeed, Britain’s traditional high streets are changing forever, with once familiar names making way for a seemingly ever-increasing number of coffee shops, bookies and charity shops.

Not so long ago, it felt like we all knew where we stood when it came to coffee shops – you had your established chains like Starbucks and Costa, you had your local high street cafes and you those “in store” style coffee shops. Sure, we all moaned a little at how much a latte cost from time to time, and perhaps we occasionally looked bemused at the fact our small coffee was actually known as a “tall” coffee, but at the end of the day though, a coffee was still a coffee and the sun still came up each morning.

Fast forward to today, and it’s a whole new world out there – the Hipster Café appears to be the new norm. No longer content are we with our £1.29 McDonald’s coffee, we now demand that our wonderfully bearded Barristers serve us only the finest freshly ground coffee that has already been pre-digested by cat. All joking aside though (and that cat poop coffee does really exist by the way), no one can argue that we are far more spoilt for choice when it comes to our hot beverages than we were a few years ago.

When the first of these Hipster inspired coffee shops started appearing, I’d almost go as far as saying that they were refreshingly different with their artisan ways, but I think the real question here is – have they over done it?

The problem for this new breed of coffee shops now is that are just so many of them – all claiming to serve some of the finest coffee available. Artisan coffee shops used to have a quirky charm about them and I totally get the appeal, but unfortunately having that quirky charm – think reclaimed wooden tables and Edison bulbs hanging overhead - is no longer good enough to help them stand out from the crowd. This sort of “authentic” venue now seems to be the new norm, with not just coffee shops but also bars, restaurants, shared office spaces and fashion boutiques all jumping on the bandwagon.

In order to help their patrons gain the reassuring approval of their culturally savvy Instagram friends, hipster coffee shops are having to become more and more inventive with their offerings. The current trend for deconstructed food and drink seems fairly popular for example, with customers paying more than average for a fairly small amount of food and/or drink that hasn’t quite been assembled fully – effectively meaning that you need to finish making it yourself. I don’t know about you, but when I go out for something to eat or drink, I’d rather my purchase was fully prepared and ready to eat or drink. If I had to assemble my own breakfast for example, then personally it’d be easier - and not to mention significantly cheaper - to stay at home for a bowl of Coco Pops and some toast.

I feel like McDonald’s hit the nail on the hit with their recent TV ad – depicting various people attempting to buy coffee at a selection of artisan or hipster style coffee shops, only to be faced with high prices, bewildering choices and bizarre presentation. The ad aims to remind us that if we want to keep things simple, we can still pop down to our local McDonald’s for a simple yet reasonably decent cup of coffee at a sensible price – no fuss.

While McDonald’s may not be your – excuse the pun – cup of tea when it comes to hot drinks, I don’t think that’s even the point. The point is that we need to remind ourselves that traditional coffee shops still have a place in our society, and sometimes you just want “normal”. For me, while I can appreciate the appeal of visiting somewhere new and (maybe) different, I really hope that this current trend for all things hipster doesn’t kill off the humble coffee shop – that would be real shame.

 

What do you think? Are hipster coffee shops killing off traditional coffee shops? Let us know your thoughts in the comments – we look forward to reading them!

 

 

 

3 signs that technology is enabling the agoraphobic in all of us

Nowadays there is little to no reason to leave your house at all. There are discords instead of discos, ASOS has made House of Fraser seem like a hassle and libraries can be stored on a couple kindles. Whilst I’m sure you’ve all read a thousand articles about how technology is basically rendering human life useless, this week’s blog is dedicated to the trend in technology which gives people less motivation to ever leave the house.

I’m sure most people remember forcing themselves out the house with your friends to go and meet new people. This could be school discos, bars when you’re a bit older or even as far as going to events that you know will be filled with like-minded individuals (Comic Con etc). The trend now has changed a little bit, if you want to meet people who you share interests with you simply share your discord link online and people who are interested can join and chat. Just like that, the need to go out and socialise to expand your social circle is eradicated. Discord is a service similar to skype that is used mostly by gamers just to chat and hangout. The only difference is because Skype is directly linked to your phone if you don’t want anyone and everyone sending messages straight to you, you might want something a bit more temporary. With Discord you can kick people off and the link is only usable whilst you’re online and as soon as you log off it ends. They now have 45 million users, connecting people from all over the world and wildly surpassing any expectations the company had for itself. I think one of the reasons for its popularity is the fact that when the internet and such a large online community is readily available if you have social anxiety then you no longer have to worry about making friends. If you don’t like who you’re talking to or feel uncomfortable you can literally log off and disappear, ideal for someone who struggles when it comes to talking face to face.

The next and probably most obvious way in which technology keeps us in the house is how online shopping has taken a lot of wind out the sails of most retailers. Why go through the hassle of going to the shops when you can search for exactly what you want and find the best price for it in minutes online. This time last year there was a consumer slump that hit most retailers, apart from companies like ASOS who announced a 27% increase in profits. Whilst House of Fraser are having to close down 31 stores up and down the country, ASOS have just invested 40 million USD into the American market.

Over the past few years we have seen a national decline in interest towards libraries. There were 15 million fewer visits to libraries than average in 2016 alone. This isn’t news at all, in fact when we asked Viewsbankers whether or not they ever use libraries 58.8% either said no or that they used to but don’t anymore. 37.4% of Viewsbankers said that they would rent books from Amazon like a library if given a chance, which means 37.4% would do to libraries what ASOS has done to retailers like House of Fraser. Here’s what some of you had to say about this idea:

  • “It would be really helpful if amazon do this, especially for students who need text books to study in college and university” 
  • “I understand that if the initial idea of renting books is successful, Amazon plans to open an instant access centre in major cities, and then possibly in every town. “
  • “Don't think there is anything I would want to rent that I can't get elsewhere.”

With lots of jobs nowadays allowing you to work from home and virtual reality able to take you on rollercoasters in your living room, you can literally have everything you need from the comfort of your own home. I wouldn’t say this actively encourages us to stay within the comfort of our own home, but it certainly enables the side to us that doesn’t want to have to deal with leaving the house.

 

What do you think about this? Let us know in the comments down below!