Business travel still preferable to video conferencing
Friday, November 2, 2012
Internet technology has revolutionized virtually every aspect of the modern workplace. From instant communications to cloud-based data backup systems, it can be difficult to imagine the world without the conveniences of the digital age. While video conferencing technology has certainly proven to be a cost saving measure for many companies, most executives still prefer closing deals face-to-face, according to Business Travel News.
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Whether they choose to stay in a hotel or take advantage of the comfort and amenities of serviced apartments and corporate housing, many business travelers would rather visit a potential client in person, rather than use even the most sophisticated video conferencing technology.
In a survey of around 400 executives, the news source revealed that while video conferencing technology can be an asset when trying to reduce costs associated with business travel, many frequent business travelers still preferred to conduct deals in person.
The results of the survey suggested that cost was not a primary consideration for many users of video conferencing. Almost half of respondents said they used video conferencing as a means of increasing productivity, and while many companies have expressed interest in the technology, adoption rates are still hesitant. However, the use of video conferencing has actually had an effect on secondary business travel.
"Initially, it had an impact where people were traveling less because they didn't have to travel because they can talk to each other," Michael Tangney, global travel and expense manager at Google, told the news source. "But now that they can talk to each more often, more easily and in a more interactive way, it's had a secondary effect: [They're] more inclined to visit the person they were talking to so often and so easily. So, there are two sides to videoconferencing."
Some experts believe that video conferencing has yet to be fully understood in terms of many companies' corporate culture. In an article published by IT Business Edge, Michael Vizard wrote that until companies understand how to integrate video conferencing technology into existing workflows, the myth that the technology will someday replace traditional business travel will continue to be perpetuated.
Vizard also claims that rather than replacing the business trip, video conferencing will merely be used as a means of communication similar to conference phone calls, albeit a slightly more sophisticated one.