ARE ONLINE MEETINGS THE FUTURE OF BUSINESS TRAVEL IN EUROPE?
Companies have resorted to technology: videoconferencing and virtual meetings are now commonplace for millions of employees.
As a result of the COVID-19 epidemic, many organisations have moved to online solutions. Some business owners increasingly prefer virtual meetings over sending their personnel abroad to save time and money.
However, according to Statista statistics, the pandemic has not had a substantial negative influence on business travel trends to the EU.
More respondents in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom stated they still preferred face-to-face encounters. In-person meetings were preferred by 40% of Americans, while 30% said that contemporary technology rendered business visits outdated. The gap was 45% among Germans vs 28% of those polled, and 36% versus 27% among British.
Meeting a customer or boss in person still has advantages, and massive networking events are not the same online.
On the other side, prominent financial companies such as HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group, and ABN Amro have said unequivocally that they would dramatically cut the amount of business trips taken by their workers. Noel Quinn, CEO of HSBC, has stated that his own travel will be reduced by at least 50%.
CHEAPER, GREENER EUROPEAN CORPORATE TRIPS
Keeping costs down and reducing their carbon footprint are high priorities for many businesses.
There is a general preference for longer, fewer stays abroad. By planning meetings smartly, business people will be able to achieve the same goals while taking fewer trips (and filling out fewer health declaration forms.)
Some companies such as ABN Amro are switching to train travel rather than flying between European offices with good train links.
The ETIAS visa waiver will soon be available for those who do continue to go overseas for work. Non-EU business visitors will benefit from the increased security of the travel authorisation.