Virtual meetings might enhance the impact of face to face meetings but there are no signs that they will ever replace the person to person experience. Although the use of video conferencing is on the rise, it is not replacing face to face meetings.
AirPlus International conducted a survey, "Travel Alternatives Remain Strong" and learned from 173 corporate travel buyers that although two thirds of the surveyed companies' use of virtual meetings has increased in the last year, less than a third (32.4%) said virtual meetings have replaced in-person meetings at their company, with an equal number (32.4%) saying explicitly that virtual meetings have not replaced in-person travel, although their company is holding more of them.
68% of those surveyed said video conferencing is "sometimes" as effective as face to face meetings, but only 12% said it's "almost always" as effective. Approximately 20% said it's "rarely" (14.5%) or "never" (5.8%) as effective.
The most urgent reasons cited for virtual meetings (ranked on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being the most urgent and 4 being the least urgent) were: increased travel costs (1.59), decreased budgets (1.99), employee quality of life (2.68) and corporate social responsibility (3.40).