Virtual conferences cannot replace face-to-face meetings
Because of Corona, companies have replaced approximately two out of three business trips with virtual meetings in the past three months. But this is only a temporary solution for the employees. Instead, more than eight in ten business travelers prefer face-to-face meetings. Around every second employee says that these offer advantages such as better relationships, experiences of success and sales. In addition, every fifth business traveler feels more productive on the go than in the office. These are the results of the current study “Chefsache Business Travel 2020″, an initiative by Travel Management Companies in the German Travel Association (DRV).
Home office instead of on business: This was the everyday work routine for many employees in Germany for weeks because of the Corona measures. 69 percent of business trips have been replaced by virtual meetings since March. This corresponds to an increase of 39 percentage points compared to 2019. Although business trips were possible despite the lockdown, only 16 percent of meetings with external participants such as customers or service providers have taken place since the outbreak of the pandemic, 16 percent were postponed or canceled altogether. And every third conference was held virtually for the first time.

Even if virtual meetings are now routine in many places, business travelers want to rely more on personal meetings in the future. 85 percent of respondents say they prefer this type of meeting. 43 percent of them plan to hold significantly fewer virtual meetings in the future. 42 percent, on the other hand, want to continue to hold part of the meetings virtually.

Personal meetings bring more sales
In the past few weeks, many employees have noticed that video and telephone conferences offer advantages. For example, 79 percent mentioned lower costs and 73 percent time savings. However, 68 percent also noticed a serious deficit – the danger from technical problems. There are also other aspects that speak for personal meetings. 51 percent mentioned the personal success experience for employees and 49 percent the better relationship management as plus points. Personal contact also appears to be advantageous from a sales perspective: 45 percent say that they achieve more sales at personal meetings. In virtual meetings, this only applies to a third of those surveyed.

“A personal meeting creates a basis of trust that is difficult to create virtually,” says Verena Funke, Country Director at Egencia. “It is therefore certain that important talks will again take place in person more frequently in the future. By working with the experts from a business travel agency, corona-related security risks can be avoided. ”

Personal meetings are more successful than digital ones
Some business travelers are particularly productive on the go
Another advantage of face-to-face meetings and the necessary travel is that 19 percent of business travelers can work more productively on the go than at their permanent place of work. Despite travel expenses, every second person still reaches the same level.
This is mainly due to the fact that solo travelers can make good use of the time between or after appointments to work. Two out of three respondents cite this as the reason why they are productive on the go. Six out of ten attribute this to the fact that they relax in between can. A different environment promotes creativity for every second person and thus also helps productivity.

But business travelers don’t find the right conditions everywhere to be able to work productively. This is especially true for airports and train stations. 31 percent are dissatisfied with the WLAN access offered there. 33 percent would like more soundproof cabins for undisturbed calls and 35 percent more quiet work areas with tables.

Live is much better than digital meetings


“Companies can promote the productivity of their employees on business trips,” says Funke. “This includes, for example, organizing access to lounges and enabling WiFi access. Business travel agencies help their partners find the right solution for their employees. “

To the study “Chefsache Business Travel 2020″
The “Chefsache Business Travel 2020″ study was carried out in January 2020 by the market research institute mo’web on behalf of the German Travel Association (DRV). 100 managing directors, who are themselves regularly on business trips, and 100 business executives and specialists from companies with 250 or more employees took part in the online survey. In addition, a further online survey on business trips in the Corona crisis was carried out in May 2020. 100 managing directors, who are themselves regularly on business trips, as well as business travelers, executives and specialists from companies with 250 or more employees took part.

About the “Chefsache Business Travel” campaign
On business trips, companies use their most important resource: the highly qualified employee. Almost 90 percent send their employees on a trip with the aim of closing or at least preparing business deals. However, the executive board often does not attach any strategic importance to the efficient organization of business trips within the company. This task is becoming increasingly complex. Not only costs, but also other criteria such as sustainability or security must be considered.
The aim of the Travel Management Companies’ initiative in the DRV is to anchor business travel as a strategic management topic and to make the benefits of professional business travel management in cooperation with the business travel agencies better known at decision-maker level. For more information, please visit www.chefsache-businesstravel.de.

The Chefsache Business Travel campaign is supported by the Travel Management Companies American Express GBT, BCD Travel, DERPART Travel Service, Egencia, FIRST Business Travel and the DRV.

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