Back before Google, most search engines, there were about 6 – 8 of them, were pretty bad. We largely used human edited web directories to navigate the web. To make a long story short, Google eventually became so good that web directories became obsolete.
For the most part I agree, web directories are obsolete. But I can see an exception: local directories, particularly covering a geographic area that attracts a lot of visitors and tourists. However you cannot just put together a heirachical set of links like we did in the old days. A modern tourist directory needs to be an authoritative guide. It needs to incorporate the editor’s unique local knowedge and judgement in it’s listings, something Google with all it’s fancy technology cannot do. The model is more that of a dining guide. So the listing needs to contain a review, telling the traveller why one hotel is better than the others, what makes it unique, what dining, sites and entertainment is nearby and within walking distance. Same for restaurants, local live theaters. You must lead your readers to find local things that might not have a web page but are still interesting. If you have a podcasting skill, then offering audio tours is possible. Maps are good. Google, Bing even Yelp can’t do those things. You have to set yourself up as **the** definitive authority on your little patch.