• Report Findings: Face-to-Face Meetings Give Companies a Competitive Edge

    POSTED March 28, 2022

A just-released report  by the San Diego State University School of Hospitality & Tourism Management reached a conclusion that meeting planners have long known: in-person business travel and face-to-face meetings offer significant advantages over virtual options. What’s more, organizations that resume in-person meetings are likely to enjoy a competitive edge over businesses that delay these gatherings.

If you’ve been feeling that something valuable is being lost in all those Zoom calls and Slack chats, this new research, which was conducted on behalf of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), lends credence to that sentiment. In the report, Carl Winston, founder and director of San Diego State University’s L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, and Lisa Cain, Ph.D., an associate professor at Florida International University Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Associate Professor, write that business travel and in-person meetings facilitate productivity, build organizational strength and foster collaboration in a way that virtual interactions cannot.

Other key findings from the analysis include:

  • COVID-19 has created a greater need for face-to-face connection that virtual-only meetings simply cannot satisfy.
  • Increased reliance on virtual meetings negatively impacts workplace culture and team building, while also hurting productivity.
  • Among millennials, the largest population in the workforce, 80% say they prefer in-person communication with their colleagues—suggesting a potential advantage in employee recruitment, retention and client relations for companies that foster face-to-face connections with coworkers and clients. 

Meeting and events have a big payoff across all dimensions of a company, the researchers found. “Whether organizations are looking to boost productivity, organizational strength or collaboration, they’ll be better able to achieve these goals with business travel and in-person meetings,” says Winston. Adds Cain, “There is a time and place for using virtual meeting platforms, but business travel and the face-to-face meetings it facilitates generate more positive outcomes for individuals, organizations, clients and customers in a way that may just be irreplaceable.”

Read the analysis here.

On May 4, Knowland, a provider of meetings and events intelligence data, released its monthly report for April 2022. The data showed a significant increase in meetings activity, with a 323% increase over April 2021, including a 3.7% recovery of events from March to April 2022.

Additional information included:

•     In April 2022, the average number of attendees per event was 118, compared to 63 in April 2021 and 74 in April 2019.


Meetings & Events Pulse Survey also reveals that a majority of companies are currently hiring.


The SaaS platform, Wix.com, has released a new builder for business owners, planners and venue operators to create customized seating maps. Users can also assign ticket pricing based on the location of individual seats, and any variation of seating can be mapped, including tables, rows of seats, areas with general seating (e.g., a standing-room-only area), reserved VIP sections, or a combination of options.