Remote Work Wipes Out One-Day Events

Skift Take

New data shows that the rise of both virtual meetings and fully dispersed companies has decimated one-day meetings.

According to data from Knowland, presented at the Hospitality Show and HSMAI ROC Americas, the volume of one-day events decreased by 57% in 2023 compared to 2019. Why is this the case? Events have gotten longer, with two-three days as the sweet spot, said Patricia Shea, senior vice president of sales and customer success for Knowland.

“Meetings are longer in the length of stay, which is overall good news. But they are not replacing the volume of one-day events,” said Shea. “If a small or mid-sized company is getting its people together once a quarter and they are flying their people in, they’re going to spend two to three days, not just one.”

Remote work is one of the factors contributing to this trend. As employers have experienced success with their employees working outside a central office, regular gatherings have taken on added importance, and just one day isn’t enough.

Impact on Airport Hotels

There was a time when airport hotels were burgeoning as a meeting option, as attendees could fly in, meet, and then fly out. That isn’t enough today as if a company is making the investment to gather employees, they want time to come together as a team as disparate workforces based worldwide eliminate the possibility of impromptu day-to-day, in-person dialogue.

Shea points out how important one-day meetings are to hotels as they fill in the open gaps. “The one-day events that come in between two big events are really critical. It’s important for hotels to think through their strategy for recapturing them,” said Shea.

She predicts how meeting professionals interact with hotels will evolve in the next few years.
“Whether planners are using direct booking tools, or hotels are pushing planners to book small one day events online to let their sales teams focus more on the big events it is changing,” said Shea.

Non-Traditional Gathering Spots Increasing in Popularity

Another trend Knowland identified along with management company Aimbridge Hospitality is meetings taking place in non-traditional meeting spaces like restaurants, cultural institutions, and outdoor patios. “As the makeup of what’s happening in downtown areas continues to evolve, a lot of nontraditional venues are getting really creative in how they go after those smaller one-day events,” Shea said.

Nearly everyone’s proficiency with virtual gatherings has also added to the demise of one-day meetings. “During the pandemic, people got pretty comfortable doing small meetings online,” said Katrina Andrews, Knowland’s vice president of marketing. “For instance, when we have one to three hours of content to share, in the past, we would bring everyone together, and have breakfast and lunch. Now that once-a-month meeting where we used to bring people together stays online, and once a quarter, we gather everyone for a two- to three-day meeting.”

Photo credit: Midjourney / Prompt: Woman with hand luggage at-check in desk at a hotel