Neu-Isenburg, 07 June 2022
Despite the surge of virtual communication technologies since the beginning of the Covid pandemic, business travel continues to play an important role for German companies. This is confirmed by a survey of around 110 German C-level executives conducted by corporate payment specialist AirPlus International.
According to the survey, most respondents (93 percent) expect that business trips in their companies compared to 2019 will be replaced by video conferences to varying degrees. However, executives are quite critical of this: they see the lack of face-to-face meetings as the greatest risk (cited by 81 percent) of virtual communication. Almost one in two respondents also cite the lack of networking opportunities (46 percent) and data security risks (45 percent) as disadvantages. For a third of the managers surveyed, the digital infrastructure represents a risk, while the energy requirements of communication technologies play a rather subordinate role (cited by 16 percent).
The decision to either stay behind the laptop or get on a plane, in a train or in a car depends on the business purpose of the meeting. When it comes to building trust and relationships, most respondents (84 percent) agree that face-to-face meetings are essential. The majority also prefers face-to-face meetings for negotiations (cited by 76 percent), occasions where emotional content is communicated (73 percent), meetings with confidential and sensitive content (71 percent), customer acquisition and retention, trade show visits and industry meetings (70 percent each), and strategic internal meetings (56 percent). In contrast, the respondents feel that the exchange of knowledge or collaboration in project teams for example can continue to take place virtually.
"Face-to-face meetings are the basis for a trustful business relationship. After more than two years of working from home and communicating mainly virtually, companies are now seizing the opportunity to make up for what they missed," says Oliver Wagner, CEO of AirPlus International. "Bookings from our German customers have been steadily increasing again since the beginning of the year and reached their peak in May since the beginning of the pandemic. In terms of invoicing volume, we reached almost 70% of pre-Covid levels in the past month in Germany, in some countries even more than 90%."
AirPlus surveyed a total of 111 C-level executives in Germany, including CEOs, heads of finance and heads of sales.
About AirPlus International:
AirPlus International is a leading international provider of corporate payment solutions. 49,000 corporate customers rely on AirPlus for the payment and evaluation of their business trips and other purchasing services. The products and services are marketed worldwide under the AirPlus International brand. AirPlus is an issuer of the UATP and Mastercard card schemes. The AirPlus Company Account is the most successful billing account within the UATP. For more information, visit www.airplus.com .
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