A new survey by the British group Virgin Trains shows that even in an increasingly digital age, face-to-face meetings are a preferred method of doing business for many Britons.

The survey showed that 70% of polled British business travelers believe in-person meetings are the best way to make contacts and business deals, and even form a trustworthy partnership for future business deals.  Conference calls and emails finished second and third in the poll but were far behind.

The poll also revealed that Britons are cutting back on their business travel due to the economic recession and other reasons, but two-thirds of respondents want to increase their business travel over the next year.  A downside many expressed for in-person meetings is the lack of productivity while traveling; respondents expressed frustration at the “dead time” traveling to and from meetings.

Jim Rowe, senior communications manager at Virgin Trains, said: “The results of our survey clearly demonstrate the value attached to a face-to-face meeting. While technological advances mean that it is now easier than ever before to be contactable 24/7, it is reassuring to know that people still need to meet people in order to develop and nurture relationships.”

ASAE and all associations are major drivers for business meetings and the economic growth that comes from localities holding major events and conventions. Associations are driving meeting innovation as well, increasingly using technology to not only assist on-site participants to increase their learning but to bring content to those outside of the meeting location.