Research from international hospitality group, Accor, reveals workers expect to make 25% more in revenue with the return of face-to-face interaction.
As many await a decision regarding the easing of Covid regulations, Accor has revealed that sector professionals anticipate they will make an average of 23% more deals a year when they are able to speak to their contacts face-to-face, rather than using only video or phone conferencing options. Those workers also think that one face-to-face meeting has the equivalent impact of roughly three video or conference calls.
One major reason for this trend is that 30% said they found it difficult not being able to see another person’s body language and non-verbal cues. Additionally, a further 22% said they find it harder to engage in small talk to form personal relationships when limited to video and conferencing.
Extending hospitality, such as lunch or dinner, was a lost business catalyst for many. Almost one-fifth (18%) suggest that with hospitality venues closed they had less reason to meet and connect with clients, ultimately impacting business results. Furthermore, one-fifth found conversation is too formal through technological channels to build a bond with the other person and one in 12 commented that the alcohol involved in client entertainment helped create bonds and break down barriers.
Significantly, 47% of workers miss the social interaction of meeting people through their work. Indeed, these findings underline the desire for a return to regular business, and indeed social life and client entertaining.
“With the return of face-to-face meetings in touching distance we are able to recognise, now, more than ever, their importance,” said Accor’s senior vice-president of sales for Northern Europe, Sophie Hulgard. “The loss of face-to-face business in the last year has demonstrated its emotional and financial value… Technology is a powerful tool but it will never replace the importance of the human touch in business. The results of our research, in the digital age we live in, underline the Hybrid trend that we expect to be an enduring legacy of the pandemic”.
Sophie Hulgard’s Predictions: Four Meeting Trends for 2021 and beyond:
- Hybrid Meetings: Combining virtual and ‘physical’ in-person participation across multiple locations. In April, Accor launched ALL CONNECT, a new hybrid meeting concept powered by Microsoft Teams enabling in-room and on-screen connectivity.
- Closing Meetings: Face-to-face closing meetings will surge in the second half of 2021 as foundations built digitally come to fruition in closing deals.
- Culture Meetings: The notion of ‘culture meetings’ is expected to transcend into normal business as we emerge from the pandemic. After a year or more of separation, people will come back together to build teams and culture.
- Leadership Meetings: Small meetings will be big over the short term. The need to connect will be strong and businesses will gravitate towards each other to reconnect in person.