Business Travel Survives the Zoom Era

8 May 2024 – According to new research, in-person meetings and events are very much alive and kicking, despite remote working technology being part of the new status quo.

The research*, commissioned by Flight Centre Travel Group’s flagship large-market business travel division, FCM Travel surveyed people who had travelled for business in the past year about their corporate travel habits and preferences.

When asked if remote working capabilities, such as video calling had any impact on their likelihood of attending conferences or events, 75 per cent said they still attend corporate events in person.

Interestingly, most of those that said they still attend conferences in person said they also attend events online (59 per cent).

FCM New Zealand General Manager, Kelly Thomas said there seems to have been a false prediction that video calling would replace in-person meetings and events after the pandemic-era lockdowns.

“Instead, what we are finding is there is a place for both channels and they are working hand-in-hand.

“Virtual meetings certainly have their place, as they give you the opportunity to open up events to a wider audience and connect with your team or key stakeholders more frequently.

“With that being said, face-to-face gatherings can make all the difference in building a happy, connected, and productive team or getting an important sale or deal over the line.”

She adds: “An old-fashioned handshake still very much has its place.”

Surprisingly, the research also showed that Generation Z who were surveyed (18-27 year olds) are the most likely to be attending events in person (83 per cent). While it was Generation X (44–59 year-olds) the least likely to attend face-to-face events with just 71 per cent saying they still attend events in person.

“You would expect Generation Z, the stereotypically, more tech savvy generation, to be more inclined to attend events virtually, but that is not the case.

“It’s encouraging to see this next generation coming through seeing the benefits of face-to-face connection when it comes to doing good business.”

The research showed an overall optimistic outlook for corporate travel for the next year with 29 per cent saying they expect to travel more for business in 2024 and 61 per cent saying their corporate travel will likely remain the same.

Thomas said this sentiment is reflected in FCM Travel’s own booking data as well with consistently strong booking numbers.

"What both this research and our clients are telling us is that travel remains a priority for Kiwi businesses, despite tougher financial times.

“Due to New Zealand’s location in the world, travel is key to take business to larger markets across the globe.

“With the current economic pressures, our role as travel managers is to help our clients further optimise their travel spend to mobilise their business across New Zealand and the world.

“It’s never been more important to partner with a corporate travel management company.”

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