As a family, we did our first "big" trip in 1997 and I found, the old fashioned way, whole space rentals throughout Europe. It is always my preference to rent an apartment or house with a fully functioning kitchen. I don't see that changing anytime soon. The way one finds these places has certainly changed and with these changes have come higher costs, but it is still my preference.
For a one or two day conference, I will stay at the host hotel [or one located nearby] for the convenience factor. I eat meals with my colleagues, maybe go out for a drink or two. So much easier when you are right there.