What did planning an event look 20 years ago?
For those of us old enough to remember the 90s, it would seem difficult to go back. From a nostalgic factor, there are plenty of fun things to remember – the television show Beverly Hills 90210, denim overalls, and VHS tapes. And who can forget the plethora of boy bands? But from a technology standpoint and running an event efficiently, someone in a time machine would have a hard time going back and wanting to stay. Here are a few things that have changed.
Get out your shoe box and index cards. Badges were clipped to them and organized Rolodex-style. Remember those? No early check-in. No fast pass. Put your comfy shoes on. You’re waiting in line to get that badge and when you do, there are no lanyards. It’s going to stick on you or get pinned to you.
We won’t even mention how every one of your clients required its own paper binder. With technology today we’ve got check-in via mobile app and event meeting schedules can that sync to your private calendar!
Remember home phones? Now you place a call to someone and you reach them because everyone seems to have a personal cell phone but back in the day we placed calls to their home and who knows who would pick up. Or you’d leave a message on an answering machine and hope no one erased it before the intended heard it. And sometimes you got a busy signal.
Event professionals everywhere had these small devices the size of Tic Tac containers that vibrated and produced a phone number. You then had to find a pay phone <gasp> or bribe someone to allow you to use their business phone. This was a big risk on their part because they had to pay for long distance calls (and long distance could be the next town over).
If you’re really old you remember the predecessor to beepers, pagers. These items were even larger – the size of a very narrow crayon box – and all they did was vibrate. When they did, you had to find that dreaded pay phone again and call a service that would then give you the message.
You sent them – on paper in the mail. You paid for postage and photocopies at Kinkos and you answered question after question on the phone. There was no website to refer them to, at least not for your average event. Large scale ones operated that way perhaps. And you asked for an RSVP that they either sent in wedding-invitation style or they called you to tell you whether they were coming or not. And you tracked it by hand, maybe in a Word doc on your computer if you were super sophisticated and technologically advanced.
Today, things are more urgent and being on call is an expectation. With cell phones and email not only can the individual be reached 24/7 but with social media, PR nightmares can occur any time of the day or night. Event professionals are accessible, or expected to be, all the time. This has added a layer of stress that didn’t exist in the 90s. But with that stress comes mobility. You’re not tied to a desk and you’re not annihilated with messages when you come in from a site. You can take a call while you’re on the go.
After reading this you’re probably thanking your lucky scrunchie that you’re hosting events today and that the 90s are over. And I didn’t even get into what PowerPoint slides used to look like or the annoying paperclip/puppy in Word. We didn’t know how hard we had it. Party on.
Luckily two decades later we have cutting-edge cloud technology that allows us to streamline our events like never before. Take a look here.