Business travel… is there something more common in everyone’s professional life? Well, not for everyone, but most of us.
But, some say that the time has come for business trips to disappear, as a new way to meet your business partners is becoming mainstream: videoconferencing.
Less expensive, less time-consuming, and less exhausting… it seems like the choice is simple.
“On the paper”, its advocates are right about videoconferencing easing the meeting process.
Yet, business travel is doing fine; and is event increasing (+1,42% in France for 2015).
The perks of traveling for business
Many people are still reluctant to convert to videoconferencing. And some, even though using it, still travel.
And the reasons are numerous.
- First are the habits.
When, for years, you have got used to travel to meet your customers, it is sometimes hard to change. And it is even harder when you like it!
- Second is the need for human interaction.
It is one more of the most shared arguments. Meeting a partner, a prospect, a customer or a supplier face-to-face is a totally different experience from through a screen. Many think that it dehumanizes relationships. For Valentin T., sales manager in the luxury watch business, “in sales, charisma, the power of conviction, are things that can’t reflect through a screen”.
- And third is the efficiency.
Indeed, we often consider videoconferencing as a tool for simplification and improvement.
But for Julia B., project manager in the financial sector, “when videoconferencing, you always get distracted at some point. Just a few minutes after starting, attendees begin to look at their smartphones, doing something else; things that wouldn’t happen if their interlocutor was in the same room”.
A mixed solution
But the reality is made of a mix of the two. There are not the business travelers on one side, and the videoconferencing enthusiasts on the other.
In fact, pros have already included videoconferencing in their working methods, while still travelling for business.
What really changed is the way to travel: duration, motivations, accommodation, transports, etc.
According to a recent study, travelers think that some of their business trips could be replaced by videoconferencing, especially for “internal trips”, when visiting branch establishments for example.
But still, business trips are the best solution for prospection.
And travelers are craving for new experiences. That explains the growth of “Bleisure” travel (a mix of business and leisure travels) or of short-term rentals, with MagicStay (according to our study, 62% of business travelers are interested in alternative accommodation).
To conclude, we observe that, as always, we are setting two models against each other while the solution is that they will cohabit: each having their own strengths and weakness.