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In this digital age, face-to-face networking is more important than ever

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by Mike Touhey in Hospitality Trends & Research ,

It happens all too often: the video conference gets dropped; the annoying echo derails an important telephone conversation; or the misinterpreted email threatens to sabotage an important yet virtual relationship.

Although we are all dependent on the efficiencies and benefits that technology and global connections bring to us, the imperfections of technology also serve to underscore the importance of maintaining face-to-face relationships.

After all, nothing is more powerful than a personal connection. Most would agree that much more gets done and creative juices flow more freely when people meet in person.

It doesn’t seem that long ago when the travel industry worried that the internet and virtual technology were sounding the death knell for meetings that fill hotels and conference centers. But recent surveys suggest in-person meetings will continue to complement the virtual communication we rely on for so many things. Even millennials ─ with a strong affinity for mobile apps and social media networks ─ crave the personal connection.

According to a Cornerstone OnDemand study, “The State of Workplace Productivity,” which polled more than 1,000 workers over age 18, 72 percent of respondents prefer face-to-face meetings over virtual communications.

Likewise, “The Decision to Attend Study” by the Professional Convention Management Association, the International Association of Exhibition & Events and The Experience Institute reported that 79 percent of millennials and 71 percent of Gen Xers would attend meetings more often if they could.

These surveys reflect a recognition that the bonds forged in face-to-face meetings are crucial to enable more comfortable virtual communication and collaboration in the future. And even relationships that were forged in person are always strengthened by an in-person get-together.

These are just a few of the reasons we chose to host our inaugural Onyx FutureSource Customer Conference 2017. (Didn’t receive your invitation? Our apologies! Please click here to contact us and we’ll fix that right away.) 

This three-day event in May will bring together leaders from across the hotel, travel agency and travel technology fields for in-depth and up-close-and-personal discussions about the issues, challenges and promises facing our interconnected industry and how we can better embrace change to prepare for the future.

Our agenda will encompass topics that touch on the future of hospitality and introduce an outside-in perspective regarding innovation. The speakers and panelists we’ve invited will share their views and solicit your thoughts and opinions on key issues and trends that affect us all, as well as stimulate discussion regarding where to place your bets for growth in the future.

Our goal is that you leave this conference informed and armed to put your insights and learning into action.  And, of course, we’ll offer ample time for you to network face to face with your peers in both organized and social settings in order to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.

So get ready to put down those mobile devices for a few days and join us in Fort Worth, Texas, for what promises to be a fun, inspiring and educational event − with some good old-fashioned face time.

 

–CMO Mike Touhey

 

 

Virtual teams are now a ‘staple’ for many global organizations that have large divisions around the world. These new ‘teams’ are an important aspect of colleges and universities that offer online education on the graduate level, as some courses require working with teams on group projects. In this situation, face-to-face meetings are difficult if team members are located in different parts of the world. Virtual teams allow distant team members to work together while managing different aspects of a project that require diverse skills. Although working with global team members presents many challenges, there are several benefits to working with virtual teams and participating in virtual meetings that make it a worthwhile consideration in business.

Mike Touhey says:

Thanks for your comment. Virtual teams are certainly a necessity for many global organizations–ours among them–and can have a significant impact on the business. When possible, the opportunity to connect face-to-face periodically with a virtual team can be invaluable in building relationships and enhancing productivity. Many thanks for your thoughtful insights on the subject!

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