In light of the recent Ebola outbreak and the current incidences of the Zika virus, analysts predict that teleconferencing is likely to become a more popular means of meeting clients and companies based in foreign countries.
The weak rand is also likely to have an effect on business travel budgets and lead to more business meetings being held over the telephone or over video-calling platforms, such as Skype or FaceTime. Data shows that teleconferencing is growing in popularity. According to online statistics portal Statista, global videoconference market in 2015 increased to around six times its value in 2010. Furthermore, teleconferencing can be valuable to any organisation making an effort streamline its processes and reduce its travel spend.
A report by Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT} found that the main reason for business travel was to meet with existing or potential clients (31 percent), while team-related meetings accounted for almost a quarter (21 percent), while training and development accounted for 13 percent.
However, some analysts say that teleconferences are unlikely ever to fully replace business travel. Sales experts stress the value of face-to-face meetings, especially in Asia, where relationships are key to sales success. They also explain that clients see visits from vendors as an indication of their seriousness and commitment. In addition, vendors can learn a lot about their customers from visiting their places of business.
An American Express survey in Europe found that senior executives did not feel teleconference technology allowed them to influence, negotiate, build and maintain the relationships required to primarily conduct their revenue-generating/client-facing activity.
Compiled By: Melissa Jane Cook. Source: Travel And Meetings. Image: Istock