Manufacturers benefit hugely from face-to-face meetings, research shows

Nell Walker
- Lean - Oct 25, 2016

Premier Inn, the UK’s leading hotel chain, and the Centre for Economics and Business Research have come together to discover the benefits of face-to-face meetings in the manufacturing sector. The report – known as the Measuring Face Value report – shows that the industry can potentially enjoy a £513,700 yearly revenue boost simply from meeting clients in person, and for every £1 spend on business travel by organisations, they see a 316 percent return on investment.

Karen Plumb, Director of Business to Business at Premier Inn, commented on the results: “We all know that when we are meeting virtually, whether on a video or phone call, not everyone is engaged 100% of the time. Welcoming millions of business guests each year, Premier Inn understands how valuable face-to-face interaction is for our customers. Guests stay with us when they’re travelling to all kinds of face-to-face business meetings – from site visits and conferences to new business pitches and brainstorms.

“Premier Inn commissioned this latest report as part of our ongoing research into the needs of our business guests. Human interaction has long been recognised as important in business but I am pleased that we can now pinpoint precisely how much it’s worth to UK companies.

“These figures may encourage some businesses to reflect on their own balance of virtual and face-to-face interaction, and to consider how getting that balance just right can have a positive impact on their bottom line.”

Nina Skero is Senior Economist at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, and added: “Whilst our research does not prescribe a single, optimal balance of face-to-face and virtual communications, it clearly demonstrates that businesses should be striving for a blend of both. The proven financial contribution of face-to-face meetings to our economy is considerable and shows no signs of diminishing.”

Denise Taylor, chartered psychologist and career coach, added a compilation of some of the drivers behind the effectiveness of face-to-face business meetings:

 

  • It’s often the case that on phone or video calls, attendees can zone out. They may respond to emails mid-call, or flick through their notes. 100% engagement in the moment isn’t guaranteed when your meeting is virtual.
  • Body language plays a massive part in business communications. A subtle shrug or firm handshake can make a huge difference to the final outcome.
  • Doing business through a screen can make getting your point across challenging. People can miss the nuance or misunderstand far more easily than when you’re face-to-face. Communicating virtually may also put people off asking for clarification because there can be a sense of hurriedness.
  • There’s a great chance to build a sense of teamwork and co-operation when you’re in the same space.
  • Taking the time to step away from your desk and show customers, clients, suppliers or other associates that you care enough about your relationship to visit them in their own environment is a great message, and says a lot about your overall approach to doing business.
  • When people are together in the same place, they are more likely to feed off one another and spark creativity, innovation and solution-led thinking.

 

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