Face-to-face meetings 'vital for external relationships'

Face-to-face meetings remain important for businesses when developing external relationships, according to an expert.

Philip Carlisle, chief executive of the Guild of Travel Management Companies, said that any sort of sales activity, contract establishment or account management requires personal interaction and should not be done over the phone.

The likes of video conferencing and calls are usually best reserved for internal communications, according to the expert.

"For anything business critical, it really requires face-to-face meetings," Mr Carlisle said.

Even after the initial contact has been made, businesses should maintain face-to-face communications in order to maintain a good relationship with their clients, he added.

Mr Carlisle said that he expects next month will see a growth in business travel compared to October 2008.

Recent research from British Airways found that 95 per cent of business people believe face time is essential for building long-term relationships.

Of the 2,300 executives surveyed, 89 per cent said face-to-face meetings were vital for "sealing the deal".

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