GO! Conference online rather than fly?

Posted on January 9th, 2009 by Jim

The joys of air travel? Are there any, really?

Just wondered during these times of the global credit crunch if air travel will drastically reduced? Less holidays, less disposable income and businesses looking to cut costs regardless of sector.

That’s the conclusion from the latest Hitwise analysis of online searching for flights. Compared with the same period last year, interest in booking flights online is down by more than 42% – with flights to the USA being hardest hit with more than a 52% reduction. Maybe¬† web conferencing is the answer to save the need for travel?

Are the days of collecting airmiles over and does anyone here use web conferencing – an alternative to hopping on a plane and devouring that delectable airline food saving time, energy and money?

Do tell, I’m back in the room and we’ll have to get used to that time delay. Hurry up as the gate is closing.


27 Responses to “GO! Conference online rather than fly?”

  1. Naseem says:

    This is true… in my case, back in 2007 I had about 12 business trips across Europe and GCC.. and as I work for a US multinational which is badly affected by the credit crunch… I am did not fly any single business trip in 2008 with the exception of one trip to Bahrain to close down our regional offices in Manama due to the crises…

    no more fancy business trips, I will miss those days :(… now all conferences are done by phone or online!!!!!

  2. Naseem says:

    This is true… in my case, back in 2007 I had about 12 business trips across Europe and GCC.. and as I work for a US multinational which is badly affected by the credit crunch… I did not fly any single business trip in 2008 with the exception of one trip to Bahrain to close down our regional offices in Manama due to the crises…

    no more fancy business trips, I will miss those days :(… now all conferences are done by phone or online!!!!!

  3. RYK says:

    as a matter of Interest, Skype releases version 2.8 beta for Macs which allows Screen Sharing, so one more nail in the “traveling for Biz” coffin !
    http://share.skype.com/sites/mac/2009/01/skype_28_beta_for_mac.html

    • Jim says:

      It looks inevitable then – people sat naked fromt he waist down in conference calls when everyone assumes they’re wearing clothes bloew that shirt….

      Or is that just me?

  4. Mike says:

    Stay at home “stay-vacations” were big in the UK last year – I expect that trend will continue with the downturn – be interesting to see if the cheap airlines survive.

  5. I love the newspaper clipping!!! When I was last working in 2006, our agency had already suspended going to confrences due to budgetary issues. However, when I started in 2000, people went to New York, New Orleans, Las Vegas, etc. Yes, my big one was 20 miles from my house!!

    My husband who is an engineer for Boeing. They have drastically reduced travel. He just finished about three week sitting watching his computer with his headset to participate in all day long confrences from people in five different states. That seems to be the trend and makes more sense in some situations.

  6. A/C says:

    I dont know I am going on my first plane trip next month… arghhhhhhh
    scary….
    but at $49 to the mainland… thats cheap….

  7. Emma says:

    The clipping reminds me of a book I read about ten years ago which had such an effect on me . . . it was about time travel which was discovered by accident in a circle of standing stones. Some of you may know the book “The Outlander” or the American title “Crosstitch” (for those of you State side) by Diana Gabaldon.

    They managed to control the time travel and even the place, so perhaps the person from the advert is one of the characters! And personally I would love to travel in time thus saving time at the airports with all the checks and waiting around you have to do!

  8. Jack Payne says:

    Jim, with web conferencing now the “only way to fly,” who needs aircraft to pick up and deliver warm bodies all over the globe anymore? I say back to the horse and buggy era. Cut use of jet fuel. Save the planet.

  9. Kathleen says:

    I so agree with Jack. How lovely not to have the noise too. Vacationing should be done with boats and trains, and we should all have extended time off work to come and go. Small planes perhaps for special circumstances (like skydiving – lol)

  10. Gareth in Thailand says:

    I really enjoyed our company putting a travel ban in place last time round in 2003. Getting up at 4 am to catch a 6.30 spud air flight to some desolate frozen hole in Poland was never much fun, even less so if you were unlucky enough to fly from London Stansted – absolutely the rudest, most unfriedly, chaviest airport in the world.

    The only issue with web conferences is the fact that most businesses seem to overplay the ‘Global’ card and as such to fit a meeting in where you’d have guys from The US, Europe, SE Asia and Japan on line tends to mean its at an inconvenient time of the day for most. Half the time there is some guy wittering on about some problem local to his region and boring the rest of the world’s attendees.
    It is good listening to some guys trying to justify why they need a flight simply because they want to go somewhere on a jolly though, quite creative some of them.

    • Jim says:

      Yup agreed Gareth – the glory days of business travel are so 80′s n 90′s…

      I enjoy the occassional trip and recently did a 4am to Qatar and back the same day – lots of sensitive issues that needed face to face / body language as the future of a business was a stake!

      I wonder if Branson will still make it into space?

    • RYK says:

      I have a big grouse here, that US & Europe execs never stay up late/start early to do sync with Asian execs, its always the Asians who have to work the odd hrs with thm !!!!!

      • Naseem says:

        Well said RYK

        I live in Dubai and those execs in US schedule very odd times like a conference call at 2am!?!?!?!?!?!? I usually decline the request :/

      • Gareth in Thailand says:

        Absolutely with you on that one RYK, I’d prefer early morning conferences to the ususal late night ones I get. Wehave families and lives too, although I find the Jpanese tend to prefer the late night meetings and are hopeless at early morning meetings even when you are personally in Japan with them!!

  11. Lib says:

    I think it’s definitely on the decline, we used to have the option of working at different offices periodically and they wouldn’t think twice of putting you on a domestic flight or to Ireland as we’re Irish owned but those days are gone.

  12. Purple13 says:

    by the same token then… how soon before businesses realise that they could employ people to do their jobs from home – provide them with a voip phone and a computer – particularly call centres etc. Then they could save on all those business rates.

    I’m sure it will go that way as companies look to save even more money.

    Re the air travel – there could be a real stellar collapse – red giant to blue dwarf – as the larger airlines combine into one name / carrier. This would save money and save polution as to have ten aircraft flying 3/4 full – surely better to have 6 full aircraft?? etc.

    • Gareth in Thailand says:

      In principle that works but being honest if I was asked to work from home the chances are the pool would win every time and I’d be unavailable. I have to go to work as the beach is just next door, plus I remember my exam days when revising was always complicated by any old day time TV that normally I’d never consider watching…….

      • When I was working at home as an independent contractor, I was regimented and woke up at a specific time and worked diligently. However, that was before Internet, blogging and the discovery of computer games. I would have to make changes now. I don’t think that I am that self-disciplined.

        • Jim says:

          A rare quality – I was feast or famine working from home..

          Some days full on – at the desk at 8am skipping breakfast and not even washing!

          Other days…

          Well..

          Other days!

      • Lib says:

        And in general, call centres have an extremely high attrition rate because of the nature of the work. It would never happen.

  13. andry says:

    vNURm3 comment4 ,

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