Life Before Google

Have You Heard

Twenty years later, do you remember all those brochures?

Google is 20 this year and to mark the anniversary of this world-changing company the BBC used personal anecdotes to illustrate what life was like for journalists, barristers, librarians, and academics before Google.

The article looking back comes as Google is making headlines for a $5 billion European Union antitrust fine linked to its Android operating system. The company has vowed to appeal.

There’s no mention in the BBC piece about what life was like for event planners. Do you remember?

Event planners needed a lot of shelf space to store all the venue, hotel, and destination brochures they received through the post from all over the world and then used to create events. Learning about a destination involved trawling through dozens of long brochures and reviewing suggested itineraries. And much more time was spent on the phone having long conversations with DMOs to gain an understanding of the possibilities they could offer delegates. Site visits were more common and important because there was no “Googling” to see anything you forgot to check when you were there. And let’s not forget, pricing an event relied on finding the exchange rate for the local currency in the newspaper — and it was always a day out of date.

But it was much easier to create the wow factor, as delegates went to a new destination with minimal knowledge and expectation. Researching beforehand took effort and dedication, and few had the resources to do so. Delegates came to an event fresh, with little prior knowledge of what was in store for them there. These days, everything on your itinerary has been “Googled.”

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