Proving the Value of Face-to-Face Meetings

March 23, 2018

Do you have an organizational stakeholder who is questioning your face-to-face meetings spend?

I mean, couldn’t everyone just phone it in via a conference call and fire up their computer cameras for that “deluxe” aspect of actually seeing who they’re talking to? Think of all the resources and time saved!

After all, the top two expenses associated with meetings are typically hotel rooms and F&B, so besides shelling out for some donuts and coffee in the conference room, what’s not to love about meeting virtually?

Everyone knows it sucks, for one.

Think about some of the last meetings you conducted with multiple people via telephone and/or Internet. Remember the voices of those people who were constantly cutting out, or were hard to hear over that mysterious background noise? Just who was talking when, anyway?

Related Content: The Benefits of Face-to-Face Meetings in a Nutshell

And let’s hear it for that screen-share presentation! Would’ve been even better if it actually worked!

In the end, the whole "experience" left the impression that your organization was inefficient and didn’t know what it was doing. Not someone you’d like to do business with. Now that’s ROI!

"The proof of value of face-to-face meetings is all around us,” said Roger Rickard, founder of Voices in Advocacy, which educates leaders in various organizations about the strategies and benefits of advocacy. “Planners can prove their ROI by focusing on any or all of these areas; in the commerce conducted, the relationships forged and deepened, the educational lessons learned and implemented."

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According to statistics from the Meetings Means Business Coalition, meetings and events contribute more than $280 billion in direct spending each year, employ more than 2.3 million Americans and generate $42 billion dollars in tax revenue in the U.S. alone.

The next time someone in your organization questions event value, share these benefits of face-to-face meetings, provided by Maritz Global Events, with them:

  • More than 75 percent of customers either require or prefer in-person events.
  • Prospects are more than twice as likely to become new customers with an in-person event.
  • While virtual opportunities are emerging, 85 percent of corporate executives perceive virtual meetings and teleconferences to be less effective than in-person options.
  • 73 percent of executives believe meetings have a significant impact on employee performance.
  • 93 percent of executives say face-to-face meetings and events improve their ability to close deals.

Besides the benefits meeting face-to-face offers an organization, the meetings and events industry also contributes greatly to the economy. Following are statistics from an Economic Significance Study released in February 2018 from Oxford Economics and commissioned by the Events Industry Council.

Meetings sector activity in the U.S. (2016)

  • 1.9 million meetings occurred in 2016, with 251 million meeting participants.
  • Meetings generated $325 billion of direct spending, including: $167 billion to plan and produce meetings, $120 billion for meetings travel and $38 billion of other spending (exhibitor spending, etc.).
  • Meetings direct spending is growing, expanding 23% since 2009, primarily due to an expanding number of meeting participants.
  • On average, $1,294 was spent per meeting participant.
  • Two-thirds of meeting spending was associated with domestic overnight meeting participants.
  • 6 million international meeting participants generated $38 billion of meetings direct spending (11.5% of the sector total).
  • Meetings generated 300 million room nights.
  • The meetings sector supported 2.5 million jobs, with $95.6 billion of direct wages and salaries. The sector directly generated $184.2 billion of GDP.

Source: Oxford Economics

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About the author
Tyler Davidson | Editor, Vice President & Chief Content Director

Tyler Davidson has covered the travel trade for nearly 30 years. In his current role with Meetings Today, Tyler leads the editorial team on its mission to provide the best meetings content in the industry.