Travel industry seeks socially responsible second life
26/03/2009
The UK corporate travel industry is this week to be told that physical meetings and conferences may not always be best - and that it's the online virtual world of Second Life that offers the most viable alternative for business gatherings.

Fuente: www.consultant-news.com  Fecha: 26.03.2009

Travel industry seeks socially responsible second life

 New Business Horizons, which runs the Blue Horizons business park in the virtual world of Second Life, is announcing this Thursday the opening of a new Second Life office for the Institute of Travel Management (ITM) and will be encouraging ITM members to revisit the idea of cyberspace as a valid venue.

At the ITM's 37th annual conference in Liverpool this week, the people responsible for spending an annual £34bn ferrying business executives and staff around the world will hear that physical attendance is not always the ideal way to convene conferences and confabs. Instead, the technology of online virtual worlds can bring delegates together in an equally productive, immersive, businesslike environment which is also socially responsible, greatly reducing the impact of corporate travel on the environment.

Alan Haymes, director of London-based New Business Horizons - which provides Second Life offices, meeting and conference facilities for other clients as diverse as Universal Music Group and the London Chamber of Commerce - will be leading the 'Meeting in Cyberspace' session at the ITM conference, explaining the business benefits of events that take place in a virtual world and comparing the experience not only to physical meetings but to the 'traditional' virtual option of teleconferencing.

Haymes comments: "Virtual world conferencing is a more complete experience than the webcam or teleconferencing suite, which means that the ITM's initiative extends beyond saving money and improving CSR. In a virtual world, delegates can immerse themselves fully in the conference environment and truly feel part of a big event. Breakout and one to one sessions can be easily incorporated, there's less pressure on performance and appearance ... and it can be more fun."

The ITM's own presence in Second Life features a fully equipped association office and boardroom which its members can visit and where they can commission and plan Second Life events and other activities. It follows closely on New Business Horizons' opening of Second Life offices for the global travel company BCD Travel, which is one of the world's largest suppliers to the corporate travel market and whose UK arm is sponsoring the ITM conference.

Paul Tilstone, ITM chief executive, says: "As an association representing professionals in the travel & meetings sector, the Institute of Travel Management (ITM) sits centrally in the debate on the use of technology and mobility services for businesses to interact more effectively. A Second Life presence will allow ITM to understand the application of this type of technology and to remain at the forefront of this debate."