Conference technology 'best mixed with face-to-face meetings'

3rd September 2009

Technology can help many businesses but the value of face-to-face meetings at conferences and exhibitions should not be underestimated, a new survey shows.

Research by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International found that technology plays an important part in aiding the success of exhibitions.

The survey showed that IT services are used mainly for marketing but also to create presentations and in networking to boost business.

However, the survey found that technology cannot replace certain elements of conferences, such as spontaneous networking, allowing free and open dialogue with customers and engaging in real-time conversation that cannot be interrupted by technical glitches.

Dr James Houran, from 20/20 Assesement, which provides performance management tools, commented on the research, saying: "While the 'always on the job' mentality of meeting planners tends to rely on the latest technological tools for marketing, presentations and networking, there is clearly a 'man over machine' mindset when it comes to other elements of meetings and conferences."

Tim Wade, head of marketing for the world's largest hotel chain, Best Western, recently backed up the research findings, saying that attending conferences is still important.