Is e-meeting a trend or the future?

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While some signs suggest the economy is stabilizing and the global recession might find an ending, the majority of business travel managers will be looking for alternatives to travel that can be enabled by technology in the future.

A recent survey „2010 Corporate-Travel Spend Plans & Tactics,” conducted by Kotler Marketing Group, in conjunction with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) provides a detailed analysis of enterprise travel spend plans versus the growing use of electronic alternatives (e.g. web- and video-conferencing) to offset travel.

– 55% of respondents would rely on electronic alternatives more in the future in order to reduce travel expenses.
– More than 40% said their organizations are replacing sales-related travel with conferencing in coming years.
– However, web and video conferencing were not rated as “usually effective” means in accomplishing the goals of their meetings.

Another interesting result of a study by the Palm Springs Desert Resort Communities Convention and Visitors Authority shows that desert hotels lost an estimated $30 million in convention and meetings travel from late 2008 through May.

Now, we might argue and ask the question if executives refrain from going on planes the way they did in the past. And we might ask if spending money for big conferences is ‚out‘. So, will department kick-offs with nice trips to the US (or some other interesting places worldwide) be a thing of the past in some years?

Spot On!
Some years ago, one of my partners said: „Can I insert my Miles&More card in our new video conferencing system?“ What sounds funny to us has more impact than most of top management members might think. Traveling is a personality statement for a lot of managers. It is also about gestures, mimic, sensual perception, hand-shaking and all that which makes more impression on our business contacts and our deals than some stockholders might think when looking at their shareholder value. Meaning, companies will face a conflict in terms of cost savings and probably embrace the trend of the new technology. Nevertheless, businesses will be trying out alternatives to traveling for meetings with web- or video conferencing. In my opinion meetings need to happen in real life more frequently than online.

Do meetings not have a deeper meaning for business? What is your perception about the effectiveness of these new meeting technologies as travel replacements?

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