Will technology replace business travel?
Technology has moved forward at an incredible pace, allowing employees to work remotely, conduct meetings across the globe without leaving the office, and engage with potential customers via a whole host of digital channels.
However sometimes there’s no substitute for events or meeting in person, supported by studies that suggest 85% of people believe face-to-face meetings lead to breakthrough thinking.
Why it’s important
Although conference calls may be convenient, they don’t always allow for the building of strong relationships. You may have an understanding of your customer or overseas colleague, but meeting them in person allows you to broaden that understanding and uncover new opportunities.
However not every meeting requires a face-to-face presence; if you’re working on an ongoing project and need very regular catch-ups it may not be cost-effective.
When to meet in person
It is important to meet in person when closing a deal or signing new business – Oxford Economics has found that the rate of converting prospects to customers almost doubles when a face-to-face meeting is incorporated. Many businesses are incorporating technology and face-to-face meetings based on strict objectives; for preliminary discussions it may be more cost-effective to use technology, followed by in-person meetings to build relationships, present critical information, and to move forward on a project.
Even when meeting with colleagues internally, it can be important to have visibility to both motivate and inspire others to have confidence in the business. In person business meetings allow attendees to develop transparency and trust with their colleagues, which is not always possible with a Skype call.
Measuring the impact
Of course with tighter budgets, it can be difficult to reconcile the travel costs involved with in-person meetings. This places a greater emphasis on measuring the ROI of meetings and events, which begins with setting clear, relevant and measurable objectives.
Businesses should look at meetings and events as an investment, rather than an expense. There are serious implications for reducing business travel budgets; including the risk of losing customers to competitors, converting less prospects, and lower staff morale internally. Well-designed and well-executed meetings and training sessions have been shown to yield significant benefits, including improved company culture, increased employee retention, and more highly engaged and satisfied employees.
Travel Counsellors can help to measure the ROI of your meetings and events, and shape travel policies that fulfil your business objectives. Get in contact with us today to learn more about our personalised service.
Give us a call on +44 (0) 161 464 5350 or fill in the form below and let us call you back.