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The importance of face-to-face meetings and conferences for the UK economy and to businesses.

In 2011, there was an estimated 1.3 million business events across almost 3000 venues in the UK. These business events were attended by over 103 million delegates and each individual event held an average of 80 delegates. The conferences and meetings sector is worth around £18.8 billion. This will increase as the UK economy continues to recover. According to Eventia – hotels, conference and training centres host more events than any other type of venue in the UK. Hotels account for 61% of all business events.

Although business events are on the increase, so is teleconferencing. In order to connect people and organisations from across the globe whilst keeping the costs low. Teleconferencing cuts the costs of bringing people together and has a low negative impact on the environment. However, the advantages of human interaction massively outweighs the benefits of using teleconferencing. Business meetings provide contact between individuals and help to develop important exchange relationships. These relationships gain trust between attendees and the organisations as a whole.

The value of physical meetings

Face-to-face meetings help to bond a team together which generates feelings of motivation and inspiration among the attendees. This can really bring out the best in them. Furthermore, this results in break through thinking and builds stronger business relationships. A firm strong hand shake and eye contact are of strong importance when it comes to making a good first impression. Handshakes can also impact on business prospects and set solid foundations as well as helping to reach mutual agreements. Without a hand shake, no real connections are made and this will limit the individual and organisation from progressing. This is one of the main issues with videoconferencing.

Face to face meetings and conferences will always lead the way in bringing businesses together. Real-time human interaction is not replicated via a screen. If there is little human interaction then the chances of the meeting having a positive impact is much more limited. Meetings and conferences generate income within the sector and the UK economy as a whole. However, they also help strengthen ties between individuals and organisation, which will drive the economy further forward.

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