Frequent flyers are going to have to make do with fewer points, lower bonuses and less shopping in airports. 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.

Clearly, with the current economic climate this suggests businesses are trying to reduce costs. Yet if they are to survive this downturn they will still need to meet people to do business. Step in the web conferencing business which has stood in the wings for too long.

Right now the time is ripe for businesses offering online conferencing, web meetings “webinars” and so on to really sell in their products and services. With fewer people flying, there is bound to be much more interest in using such technologies. Indeed, a friend who works in the teleconferencing sector tells me that his company has never been busier than right now.

What does this mean if you run your own business? It means that many of your clients will now expect you to be able to host online meetings – to be able to connect at the click of the mouse using your webcam and an webconferencing facility. If your business doesn’t sign up for one of these services, such as GoToMeeting, you will be losing out to your competitors who can handle web conferencing.

If you have corporate clients it’s no longer possible to sit on the fence and worry about using this technology when “it’s established”. It is ready to use and big businesses are going to be using it in their droves. Don’t fall behind…!

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