The Silicon Review
Successful meetings are all about connections. The more meaningful connections between attendees, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors, the more valuable the experience is for everyone. MeetingPlay helps planners forge more of these kinds of connections, with technology and features that are easy to use, both on the front end and the back end.
It all started with a recognition of technology’s potential to transform events and a dedication to make technology work for clients — and not the other way around.
How It All Began
Joe Schwinger (Co-CEO, MeetingPlay) was at Marriott when they launched their Future of Meetings Initiative. At the time, event technology was just starting to become a big part of how people learned, met and connected. Recognizing the potential of this emerging platform, Joe began to develop ways to bring event technology into the mainstream.
Marriott was MeetingPlay’s first and biggest client. Since then, the company has expanded across verticals and has worked with some of the top Fortune 500 companies.
The first product was a dedicated gamification app custom built to encourage attendees to interact with other attendees via QR code scanning. At the time, mobile apps for events was a new thought and there was no wide adoption. With gamification, the company achieved over 90% participation and the product was immediately adopted across all meetings with the client.
The immense growth of the company
MeetingPlay is an innovative leader in its space, with rapid growth and a consistently strong customer retention rate (92%). To accomplish this, they balance new technology against the needs of its clients and never launch new tech just to check a box.
Many clients come to MeetingPlay from other providers who offer solutions that are configurable, but not completely customizable. With MeetingPlay, clients communicate their needs, and MeetingPlay makes it happen, customizing new technology to the event goals.
Clients recognize that MeetingPlay has a commitment in its culture to provide excellent service, and to bring fresh solutions that utilize emerging technology trends.
Early on, MeetingPlay experienced triple-digit growth just through word of mouth. It was not uncommon to go to an industry event and see its clients showing off their apps to other meeting planners. Although they still see strong growth based on the recommendations of clients, MeetingPlay knew the time had come to invest in its sales and marketing efforts in order to bring the company to a wider customer base.
How core values inform the company
MeetingPlay believes in truly understanding what clients are looking for, supporting women in the tech space and never assuming it can’t accomplish whatever it puts its mind to. To that end, the connection of MeetingPlay employees and clients are the top priority.
Clients constantly tell MeetingPlay that they love its team because they’re so helpful, innovative and friendly. The company culture strives to be different, better and remarkable. Basically, all the employees are in it to win it.
A technique used in improvisational comedy suggests that a participant should accept what another participant has stated (“yes”) and then expand on that line of thinking (“and”). MeetingPlay fosters this kind of culture in the brainstorming process, with effective communication and the sharing of new ideas.
MeetingPlay has established a Customer Advisory Board to vet ideas before adding them to its roadmap. Client feedback ensures that they always develop useful and necessary features.
The present and the future
The team is made of 30+ talented, technology-driven people with roots in hospitality. This smaller size allows them to be nimble; to give clients what they’re looking for in a short time frame. Each customer has a direct line to their account manager and can reach someone from the MeetingPlay team at all times without being passed through a phone tree.
“Our size is our strength – We utilize technology that the big boys cannot, and the personal touch is why clients come back to us year after year,” says Schwinger.
There are hundreds of event app providers in the market, including big names with a lot of money behind them. MeetingPlay hopes to continue its standing as a premier provider in the market offering solutions unique for each client with service and technology that is simply unmatched.
About Co-CEO, Joe Schwinger
A seasoned entrepreneur, Schwinger built and lead several successful businesses before co-founding MeetingPlay. He was key to developing global eCommerce for Marriott International, first, building the eCommerce organization for the Eastern Region at Marriott, which involved dedicated plans for all full-service hotels in the region. He then oversaw eCommerce for North America during a reorganization to help build the foundation of eCommerce at Marriott globally. Through his experiences at Marriott, Schwinger saw what the future of meetings could look like and started his own venture to make that vision a reality.
About Co-CEO, Lisa Vann
Lisa Vann has a long history of surpassing business goals and delivering technological innovations to corporate customers. She is adept at positioning organizations for success, using her skills and expertise to generate revenue and to build highly successful teams.
Before co-founding MeetingPlay, Lisa worked in the biotech industry, helping major bioscience technology companies develop corporate strategy. She earned her MBA from the University Of Baltimore Merrick School Of Business and her M.S. from the University of Florida.
"Our mission is to work hand-in-hand with our customers to develop well-designed, intuitive, information-rich and engaging mobile event apps that are infused with innovative technology, and allow meeting planners to provide an event experience that everyone will be talking about.” - Lisa Vann