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Is there a future for face-to-face meetings?

Is there a future for face-to-face meetings?

Nothing good ever happened until there was a meeting

Let’s face it, corporate travel is largely about meetings, about those times when it seems wise to discuss issues in person rather than over email or Slack. This begs the question: are we approaching a time when face-to-face business travel will become obsolete?

We don’t think so…and we certainly hope not.

While digital tools such as video chat have made virtual communication with anyone, anywhere, at any time part of day-to-day business, especially for multi-nationals or companies with overseas suppliers and clients, there’s been a raft of recent press talking up the importance of face-to-face interactions in this increasingly digital age.

More than 90% of respondents in TripActions’ 2018 Business Traveller survey believe face-to-face business travel is important to drive company growth, 67% say it’s ‘more difficult to build business relationships over video’, and 91% ‘would be ready to board a plane to go personally establish, grow or maintain a business relationship, or close a deal’.

Now, we are not suggesting that there’s not a critical business use for the latest communications technology – and quite the opposite is true. Many of our corporate clients agree that virtual meetings are great for regular catchups. However, for team-building endeavours or important conversations, nothing beats getting together in person.

While messaging and video chat apps might be the natural go-to for Millennials, we ignore the impact of face-to-fact engagement and relationship building at our peril. People who talk together learn together, grow together, solve problems together, develop ideas and solutions together and build trust together – and we think we would be hard pressed to find a business which wouldn’t benefit from that.

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