As much benefit as businesses and other organizations have enjoyed from e-networking conferencing capabilities such as Skype, Google +, and others, there is no substitute for face to face meetings. Granted, there may be benefits to using these types of e-meeting tools, but new research shows that face to face meetings can actually increase revenues up to 25 percent, a significant jump for most companies.
A newly issued report by Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts titled Business Meetings in a Modern World, revealed that businesses around the world could be missing out on almost a quarter (24 percent) of revenues by not taking advantage of enough time spent in face-to-face meetings.
The survey was taken of more than 2,000 business men and women in five major markets–the United States, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates (UAE), China and India–in order to better understand both how business professionals are using virtual as well as face-to-face meetings, as well as the differing economic impacts of both methodologies.
Among other findings, the survey concluded:
- Nearly half (47 percent) of respondents said that they believed that they had lost a contract because they did not have enough face-to-face meetings with clients. This resulted in an estimated annual loss of 24 percent in revenues.
- More than 80 (81 percent) percent of respondents believed that face-to-face meetings were a better means of building long-term relationships and trust with clients.
- Despite all of this, respondents reported an increase of nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of virtual meetings within their organization in the past 5 to 10 years. As a result, respondents believed that the value of face-to-face meetings is being overlooked by their organizations.
Experts Weigh In
Experts cited by the report all agree that despite the advances made in the development and implementation of technologies that have made virtual meetings possible, the fact remains that face-to-face meetings continue to lead in terms of real results for meetings. Further, face-to-face meetings with clients and others result in higher levels of trust being established between workers, which is key to the profitability of companies. Companies that have higher levels of trust between themselves as well as their clients enjoy higher morale, greater productivity, lower employee turnover, and have stronger relationships with their clients and customers.
Janis Cannon, Global Vice President of Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts states that the results of the study are indisputable: Virtual meetings might save time and money, but when it comes to sealing a deal, it takes a handshake and the ability to “see the whites of their eyes” of a business associate.
Additional results gained from the survey include:
- In the past 10 years, the number of virtual meetings have increased more in that period than at any other time in the technology’s history.
- The top three subjects that respondents preferred to discuss face-to-face with clients were: beginning a new relationship (57 percent), finalizing a deal (54 percent), and contract negotiation (53 percent).
Unfortunately, largely due to the success and economy of virtual meetings, the benefits of face-to-face contacts is not likely to be seen in the near future. It is hopeful, however, that in the long run the result of these studies will be noticed and heeded.