Next week many of us travel and MICE experts will gather at the Mice Business & Travel Fair in Vinkeveen. But is the concept of business trips still alive in a world that is becoming more and more digital? Do we really need to travel to the other side of the world to be able to do business with each other? After all, e-mails, e-meetings, conference calls; these tools help us to close deals and maintain relationships with people abroad. Although many companies have the facilities for e-conferences, most people prefer to meet face to face with their business partners and look them in the eye. And we understand why. Face to face communication still is the best way to avoid misunderstandings and pick up non-verbal signs. So do we have to conclude that the way in which we communicate with business partners won’t change? And that the business trips will augment with the increasement of the economy?

Travel the world, meet your partners

Although the possibilities of alternative meetings are growing, the business travel industry is as well. Some people say they travel less because of other meeting options, but more people say the frequency of travelling remains the same (research results 2016 NBTC-NIPO). We will learn more about the statistics of 2017 next Monday, but having seen the statistics of 2016 and knowing how the leisure part of the travel industry did grow, we believe that the number of business trips is still increasing slowly. The economy is doing better, more businesses are started and therefore more business trips are planned.

Travelling the new smoking

Travelling is the new smoking, is a new trendy saying, but somehow maybe true. Although I do believe we keep on travelling more and more, I also believe that we are getting more conscious about the effect of these trips on the environment and our own precious time as well. Time is money, and travelling costs both. Therefore I think that concepts like e-meetings, video conferences and maybe in the future the use of holograms will become more and more common. Curious what my colleagues – I’ll meet next Monday – will think about that!