MeetingsNet’s 2022 Changemakers list recognizes outstanding meeting professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways. Find the full 2022 Changemakers list here.
Kyle Kocinski, DES
Implementation Manager, Endless Events
For working to improve clarity around options available in the virtual-event space
“Which virtual platform best fits my events’ needs?” This became an almost universal questions among planners when the Covid pandemic hit, and meetings and conferences were forced online. Over the past two years, choosing a technology partner has taken on even more weight as virtual events become part of many organizations’ permanent offerings and not just an stop-gap measure.
Kyle Kocinski, DES, understands the stakes—and the confusion. Virtual meeting technology has exploded, and finding a good fit with a provider can be daunting. “A lot of these [virtual event platforms] put all their marketing money into Google search, and many event planners are probably going to pick from the top five on Google,” says Kocinski, implementation manager for
In what began as an internal project, Kocinski decided to dig into the platforms on the market to learn more about their features, pricing, and focus. He and his team took a year to evaluate hundreds of platforms, eventually producing an article calling out their idea of the 22 best and posting it on the Endless Events blog last fall. But an even bigger compilation looking at 100 platforms—was published a few months later, in February of this year, and made available to meeting professionals.
The platforms are evaluated for six core capabilities—registration, streaming player, video meetings, gamification, lead retrieval, and continuing-education credit tracking—and given one- to five-star ratings for more subjective features such as analytics, brandability, community, ease of use, engagement, hybrid capability, mobile app, and security. In addition to their own research, the team also read reviews and case studies from multiple sites.
The resource continues to evolve as the Endless Events team tracks the platforms’ new releases. A best 23-for-2023 ranking is in the works.
Picking the right platform, doesn’t automatically mean successful virtual events. For example, if the platform has the capability for breakout sessions, but the group is still scheduling hour-long sessions by a single speaker, there won’t be much engagement, notes Kocinski. “It’s important to understand the features that are offered and see which ones you can start integrating into your events,” he advises. He suggests evaluating what a platform offers and building an agenda based on the needs of the audience and other stakeholders. Some groups want to network. Some won’t be comfortable right off the bat, he says.
In addition to his virtual platform research, Kocinski also gives his time as one of 25 founding members of the #EventProfs Community, (an updated version of the #EventProfs Slack community). The community allows planners to host their own events and share content and ideas with their peers around the world. “Our goal is for the community to run on its own from the in-person and virtual events our planners want to host,” he says. “I am also working with other founding members to create an ongoing content calendar as we expand to reach planners across the globe.”