Survey says: Event goers prefer in‑person over virtual gatherings.
MCLEAN, VA. – After a surge in virtual meetings driven by the pandemic, nearly three-quarters of event goers now say they prefer in-person events to virtual ones, according to a recent Hilton survey. To support the growing demand for in-person gatherings, Hilton recently announced the expansion of its events booking capabilities, enabling customers shopping for meeting packages for up to 35 attendees to book guest rooms and meetings or event spaces, with or without 10 to 25 guest rooms, directly on Events.Hilton.com without a separate contract or phone call. The new functionality will roll out via all Hilton websites globally by early next year.
“As we see the demand for small meetings and events across our portfolio continue to increase, these enhanced booking capabilities will help simplify the complexities and stress associated with meeting planning,” said Chris Silcock, executive vice president and chief commercial officer, Hilton. “Further, this new digital-forward approach will enable Hilton to anticipate the needs of our small meeting customers and offer a convenient, frictionless online shopping and booking experience so our team members can help planners with their more complex needs.”
Hilton’s online survey, conducted by KRC Research in August 2023, uncovered the following insights:
In-Person is Irreplaceable
More than 70% of event attendees prefer in-person events to virtual ones. Findings indicate in-person meetings have benefits that can’t be replicated virtually like:
Virtual Event Burnout
Half of all event goers (47%) are burnt out from virtual meetings – and this increases among younger generations, with Gen Z feeling this the most (59%).
Technical difficulties with audio or video (35%) and poor internet connection (34%) are common issues experienced by over a third of U.S. adults while hosting or attending virtual events. 61% of respondents admit to attempting to speak during a virtual meeting while on mute.
Planning is Complicated
About a third of event planners (27%) are frustrated with the complicated and time-consuming event space booking process, with four in ten frustrated with finding a space that meets their requirements (39%) and 40% with juggling all the event details at once.
Event planners are…
In addition to these findings, Hilton’s 2024 Trends Report, “What Millennials, Gen Z, Gen X and Baby Boomers Tell Us About Travel in the Year Ahead,” found that travelers, no matter their age or purpose of travel, are looking for innovative and seamless digital solutions to simplify their overall travel experience and personalize their stays, starting with the booking process. In fact, 80% of travelers say it’s important to be able to book their trip entirely online.
Hilton’s expanded online events booking functionality, which accommodates both professional and personal planners, will solve for these friction points by allowing the small meetings and events customer segment the ability to book their event space entirely online, bundled with guest rooms, audio-visual needs and food and beverage orders. From board meetings to fundraisers, family reunions to baby showers, this feature will allow planners to focus less on contracts and more on personalizing the packages and experiences that are tailored to their attendees’ unique needs.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.
She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.