2018 40 Under 40: Joe Schwinger, MeetingPlay

Joe Schwinger

Joe Schwinger, 39, works in Washington, D.C., as founder and CEO of MeetingPlay. As a 2018 40 Under 40 honoree, Schwinger discusses his passion for the events industry. 

*Connect with Schwinger on Twitter. What I do: My focus is to inspire, drive, and lead more than 30 of the world’s most talented event tech professionals, who I’m thankful to call MeetingPlay team members. Together, our goal is to create the industry’s most cutting-edge technologies to enhance events on a global scale. I also oversee MeetingPlay’s core strategy to help our business evolve and to scale our services for our clients. How I got here:  My path began with a 10-year career at Marriott International, where I helped grow the e-commerce department into one of the most profitable and important sales channels in the organization. After noticing an opportunity to create a valuable service in the industry, I combined my experience in hospitality with my passion for entrepreneurship and knowledge of technology to create MeetingPlay. Today, I’m proud to offer our clients an innovative platform to solve their attendee engagement issues at their events.  Greatest career accomplishment: Before growing MeetingPlay into a global solution for Fortune 500 customers, I led the North American e-commerce division for Marriott. Very early in my career, as the internet started to become an integral part of the sales process, I saw an opportunity for Marriott to become an innovator in the hospitality industry using engaging proposals and communication. I utilized my background in software development to design and implement the Marriott Essentials sales suite. Within six months of the launch, Marriott Essentials became a company-wide standard used by thousands of employees to interact with millions of customers.  Impressive stats: In MeetingPlay’s first four years, we grew more than 100 percent on a year-over-year basis without a sales or marketing department.  Specific improvement I’ve made:  MeetingPlay was born as a solution to a specific problem I noticed in the industry. During my tenure at Marriott, I was a part of a strategic project called “The Future of Meetings.” It was during this time that I observed a major gap in the event space related to attendee engagement during an event. As an event progressed, attendees became increasingly distracted by emails and the thought of getting back to the office. I wanted to create a solution to keep attendees as engaged on day three of an event, as they were on day one. When I saw there was nothing on the market, I decided to shatter the old way of organizing events. Fast forward six years. Today, MeetingPlay delivers on my attendee-engagement goal for our clients every day. If asked, they’ll tell you how MeetingPlay’s products make their meetings more meaningful by reinforcing their goals using our cutting-edge technology. What I’m working on now: We’ve recently launched our fully integrated augmented reality system to help our clients increase attendee engagement using gamification and augmented reality. What I do outside of work:  Our aggressive growth forecast for the next 18 months doesn’t leave much time outside of work, especially with my travel schedule. When not in the office however much of my “relaxing free time” is used to fuel ideas and new products for MeetingPlay. Online news reading and keeping up with trends is my favorite past time.