Companies frequently need to conduct meetings of various stakeholders. It could be a gathering of employees for a pep talk or to give out awards, shareholders for annual conferences, or suppliers. Perhaps there’s a conference to attend with various speakers drawing an audience. Whatever the reason, there’s definitely a need for finding venues that are conveniently located for those who need to attend. There are of course several agencies that provide lists of meeting rooms for hire, and organizations can perform exhaustive searches based on various factors such as location, price, facilities offered, size, and much more.
But this is the age of the Internet. A commonly accepted view amongst those who enjoy predicting technological trends is that it’s a battle between communication and transportation. If the medium exists for perfect and seamless communication between any number of individuals, the need for travel will be lost. If it’s possible to travel instantly to a place, the need for communication tools will be lost. We seem to have hit a dead end as far as travel speeds are concerned. Planes are not really getting any faster and super speed travel has taken a backseat in the budgets of governments and corporations.
Communication on the other hand has grown by leaps and bounds and shows no signs of slowing down. The Internet has provided a dramatic increase in the capabilities of people to talk to one another and even hold virtual conferences. People are now connected wherever they go with their smartphones and tablets. This trend is set to accelerate as 4G becomes more widespread and the Internet becomes a greater medium for communication.
The impact of this has certainly been felt in the business travel sector. Companies on a tight budget are utilizing innovative tools to cut down on business trips. Global conference calls are now a routine matter. But there’s still a gap. Communication technology is still lacking in ease and efficiency. It has yet to reach a stage where it “gets out of the way”. Till that time – which may never come – there will always be a need for people to meet up. Either for conferences, marriages, parties, or any other kind of get together. Indeed, this motivates venues to provide better services and even move up the value chain by expanding their offerings to include airport pickups and drops and help the organizers with event planning. It’s no longer enough to just provide the venue. You have to make it a lot more attractive.
As the complexity of global business increases, there will always be demand for convenient and feature rich venues for people to gather. Will the day come when communication becomes so seamless that it’ll render physical meetings redundant? We’ll have to wait and see.