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Celebrating the value of in-person meetings and events

There has never been a greater time to reconnect. Getting back to conducting meetings and events will be important for businesses to build a competitive edge to bottom-line revenue gains. Business events are back and being rolled out safely with layered approaches to health and safety.

The Meetings Mean Business coalition is the creator behind Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID) with a belief that “Great things happen when people come together.” GMID brings together leaders from across the meetings and events industry to showcase the real impact that business meetings, conferences, incentive travel, trade shows, and exhibitions have on people, businesses, and communities around the world with a focus on ‘meeting safe’.

ETM’s North America Senior Vice President & General Manager, Tami Reier, CMP, CM explains, “We are thrilled to see the return of business events. Our team has been busy managing group travel to large-scaled events across Europe and North America providing the foundations for our customers and their teams to come together and drive business outcomes. The increase in enquiries provides optimism and demonstrates that our customers see the value meetings and events bring to their business. Delivering a ‘meeting safe’ environment for people to engage with their staff and network with industry peers is a privilege and a pleasure. Not only do in-person meetings offer collaboration, thought leadership and innovation opportunities, but they also provide the potential for partnerships to flourish, the opportunity of attracting new talent and knowing that their events are contributing to the local economy.”

In-person meetings provide significant benefits to attendees—including deeper connections to business contacts, education, training opportunities, access to key information through informal conversations, and improved company morale and job fulfilment. A study found that 98% of attendees believed face-to-face meetings, conferences, and events are essential to achieving business goals.

Mike Leeson, ETM’s General Manager – Europe says, “Having recently attended an event where there was time to network, learn about new products through engagement with our suppliers and the opportunity to secure future business, enabled us to finalise contracts for our customers much faster than if we were to conduct business by any other means.”

If there has ever been a time to highlight the importance of face-to-face engagement whether it be via a business meeting, conference, trade show or event, it was the global pandemic. As organisations emerge from the pandemic, they have become increasingly aware of the negative impacts of prolonged immobility on relationships with employees, customers, and the supply chain. Building and cementing international relations in trade and business is vital to economic recovery and prosperity.

Whilst teams have worked via virtual technology, continuing on this path will become less effective than conducting in-person business. In-person connection creates opportunities, builds rapport, and supports long-term business relationships. Fostering relationships is not solely about customers or business partners. In-person interaction with employees is also important as it helps increase engagement, retention and productivity which results in engaged customers and driving business performance.

According to the Harvard Business Review, face-to-face communication is up to 34 times more powerful than online communication. This is further supported by a study conducted by Forbes where 95% of respondents said face-to-face meetings are essential for long term business relationships. People prefer in-person meetings because they:

Tracey Edwards, ETM’s Global Strategic Lead and General Manager – ANZ shares “We’ve received an increase in events enquiries where customers want to get their team members together for face-to-face events to provide a focus on company culture and to recognise and reward their staff where they haven’t been able to over the past 18 months.”

Event Travel Management’s (CTM’s) customers have acknowledged the importance of knowledge sharing, relationships and engagement with employees and the benefits this brings to their business. Marcy Holdsworth; Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health at James Cook University says “The work we do in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is all about relationship building which made it easy to decide on a face-to-face delivery as opposed to going virtual for the 2021 program. It is important to note, that if COVID-19 had prevented us from face-to-face delivery then we would have pivoted to virtual. However, there is no substitute for in-person connection which allows for networking, collegiality, building rapport, and stakeholder engagement.”

Edwards adds that “Meetings and events provide a level of social capital that can’t be achieved virtually. The ability for people to meet in-person whether it be a business meeting, conference or event, allows individuals and businesses the opportunity to learn about new service and product solutions, cement partnerships, share knowledge, boost morale, create new relationships and above all work towards achieving personal and business goals in a ‘meet safe’ environment.”

Find out how ETM’s expert team can help you organise in-person meetings and events.

Take the stress out of event management with our expert event planning team.