Companies could be missing out on nearly a quarter of additional revenue because they are not investing enough time in face-to-face contact. 

The conclusion is among the findings of a survey of more than 2,000 business men and women across the UK, US, United Arab Emirates, China and India by Crowne Plaza Hotels.

The Business Meetings in a Modern World research found that:

  • Nearly half (47%) of business men and woman surveyed believe they had lost a contract or client simply because they did not have enough face-to-face meetings, which resulted in the estimated yearly revenue loss of 24%

  • 81% say that face-to-face meetings are better for building long-term trust and ensuring strong client relationships

  • However, nearly two thirds (63%) reported that the number of virtual meetings they attended has increased in the past 5-10 years, further demonstrating that the value of face-to-face meetings is being overlooked in favour of cost and time-saving technologies, such as video conferencing

The study also found that business people attend more face-to-face and virtual meetings than they did 10 years ago – the biggest increase seen for virtual meetings

Starting a new business relationship (57%), finalising a deal (54%) and contract negotiation (53%) are the top subjects respondents prefer to discuss face-to-face.

More than half of respondents (53%) believe that connecting with a business associate on social media can help them develop a stronger and more trusted relationship. Facebook came out more popular than the business networking website LinkedIn, with 48% saying they had used Facebook and 42% had looked at an associate’s LinkedIn page.

Crowne Plaza global vie president Janis Cannon said: “The findings are clear. Virtual meetings can save time and money, but there are times when sealing a deal requires a handshake and ‘seeing the whites of the eyes’ of a business associate.”

Business psychologist and body language expert Hazel Carter-Showell added: “Although developments in technology allow business men and women to make achievements in meetings that would have been impossible a few years back, meeting face-to-face continues to bring significant benefits that are much harder to obtain through virtual channels.

“One of these benefits is building trust, which research has shown is behind many profitable companies.

“Trusted companies have higher morale, productivity, lower employee turnover and create deeper relationships with their customers.”