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Will Technology Reduce Business Travel?
Digital technology advancements such as video conferencing seem to be a good substitute for business travel. Some examples of such web conferencing software products are Highfive, RingCentral Meetings, Samepage, Blackboard collaborate, and webinato. They offer features such as electronic hand-raising, shared whiteboard, applications sharing, presentation streaming, and on-demand webcasting. Video conferencing allows businesses to communicate face-to-face virtually, reducing the amount of money and time spent on travel.

Despite this trend, business travel is still an important growing travel segment. For instance, the number of United States business travelers increased by 1.2 percent in 2016 compared to the previous year. There also is growing recognition of the advantages of a face-to-face meeting compared to videoconferencing. One issue is that video conferencing does not allow individuals to emotionally connect with others. In some cases, individuals need to be in the other companys environment to get to know their culture better and to impress their clients. For instance, a lot of the employees at Accenture, a consulting company, still make frequent business trips because building relationships with their client in person over breakfasts and dinners is very important. In line with this, culturally-important actions such as handshakes cannot be done through video conferencing. Further, there are concerns about security and privacy of video conferencing.

Think About This
What are other technologies that may impact business trips?
What role do you think COVID-19 will have on the impact of technology on business travel post-pandemic? How might COVID-19 impact this relationship in the long term?
If the number of business trips are significantly reduced by technological advancements, what will be the impact on the tourism industry (e.g., hotel sales)?
If the number of business trips are significantly reduced by technological advancements, what strategies should the hospitality and tourism service providers follow to stimulate business travel demand to combat this impact?

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