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.
"These enhanced booking capabilities will help simplify the complexities and stress associated with meeting planning."
“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:
Meeting new people
Ability to read non-verbal cues
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%).
All event goers surveyed
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...
Frustrated with event space booking process
Frustrated with finding a space that meets their requirements
Juggling all event details at once
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.
Small meeting and event packages are currently available to book on Events.Hilton.com at select properties spanning counties in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa and Asia Pacific, with the feature slated to be available throughout the full portfolio of hotels with meeting space by early 2024.
For more information, or to book meeting and event packages, visit Events.Hilton.com.
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 22 world-class brands comprising nearly 7,400 properties and more than 1.1 million rooms, in 124 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for six consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the more than 173 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can't buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit stories.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.