Monday, July 9, 2012

"Social Media Will Not Stop Face-to-Face Meetings"

You can imagine that headline got my attention. Social media stop face-to-face meetings?  Of course not, I said to myself and went on to read the article. In a consultation of 1.75 million people, Airbus found that 60% of the respondents believe that social media will not stop face-to-face meetings.  It also found that 96% of those same people believe aircraft will have to be more"'eco-efficient."  Not surprisingly, nearly half believe door-to-door travel will become more "stressful" in the future.

Airbus and the entire hospitality industry have tough mandates moving forward, keep people meeting in person, eco-efficiently and stress free while doing battle with social media for our attention.  Perhaps, instead of always viewing social media, virtual meetings, and technology as the Evil Enemy, it is time to embrace the new reality and acknowledge there are enough slices of the pie for everyone.

At the risk of committing professional suicide, may I make a suggestion?

  • Travel when it is REALLY important for the human, physical connection--it is vital.  
  • Use technology to save both the planet and our stress levels whenever possible, whether that be in more efficient planes, more comfortable space or connecting via the internet.  Sometimes the connection we make with our family by being in town to cheer at a child's game is more important than the connection made by attending a meeting where your physical participation is not essential.  
  • Take into account the personal characteristics (introvert/extrovert) of the group when determining whether face-to-face connection is essential for the outcome.

As an industry, let's stop acting like this is a battle that requires campaigns, buses, and lobbying to keep people traveling for travel's sake.  It is scarcity thinking and won't help our industry in the long run.  Instead, we should all be figuring out how to help people meet in a way that connects them without undue stress on their bodies, minds and planet in whatever form it takes.

After all, isn't that what hospitality is all about?

No comments: