Question: Do you think that in this age of virtual presentations, teleconfrences, and other streams of electronic communication, that business travel — in which a person from one company physically travels to meet with people from another — could become obsolete?
I don’t think that face to face business travel will ever become obsolete or at least I hope not! There are pros and cons to replacing actual travel with technology. I would much rather do a teleconference with some people rather than take time away from my family and red eye it from coast to coast just for a 3 hour meeting.
Technology can save tons of time and money when used effectively. Some situations however cannot be replicated by phone, computer or video… there is something about seeing someone face to face and interacting with them that gives you that little personal touch. It helps me build a rapport and can give me an edge when I need or want something from someone in the future. Face time can also help you learn how to better deal with those who you may not otherwise get along with very well over the phone or on a teleconference… after all, not everything comes out the way it was intended when filtered through email, phone or video.
I must say that a lot of what used to require travel now doesn’t because of technology. I am often tasked with setting up training videos, webinars, teleconferences etc… rather than hopping a flight and doing a face to face. This cuts out on my ability to take in new sights… but like I said before sometimes that’s OK especially when the reason for travel is humdrum and takes away from other things I could be doing. Business travel will always exist for the same reasons pleasure travel will… The virtual is never as good as the real thing; besides we don’t want to end up like Arnold in Total Recall do we?