Richard Lewis, Partnerships Director – Travel and Tourism.
At the end of 2016, I joined what3words. Having first heard of what3words nearly 18 months ago, it really is an exciting time to be joining such a talented team.
I would like to share with you what it was that intrigued me about this truly innovative startup – and as someone who has worked in the hospitality industry for over 35 years, why it seemed to me that this simple idea has the power to change the way we travel – and experience destinations.
As a hotelier, I have seen first-hand the frustrations that travelling can bring. I know how much it can damage a guest’s perception if they get lost on the way to your hotel, or show up at the wrong hotel because there are two properties with the same brand, in the same city.
And as a globe-trotter, I know how upsetting it can be to miss out on that special, once-in-a-lifetime experience, simply because you took the wrong turn or were given inaccurate or partial directions.
Have you ever found yourself in these situations? Planning to meet your friends on the beach and searching around for each other; trying to locate a specific attraction or street market stall in an unfamiliar place; waiting at the roadside for the taxi driver who can’t find you – or even using a vehicle satnav to direct you but still having trouble finding your exact destination.
Despite all the tools and services at our fingertips, we still struggle to define and communicate a precise location. If a hotel can’t direct people to their own front door every time, or a tour guide provide an exact meeting point for visitors, travellers become increasingly disillusioned.
In the more rural parts of the world, this is an even bigger problem; many of the most inspiring places in the world don’t have an address. If I want to meet friends in Wadi Rum, Jordan, to go hot air ballooning, how can I let them know precisely where I will be – in a simple and easy to communicate way?
For the travel and tourism industry, effectively communicating location is essential. If you can’t tell people where to find you, then you simply can’t run your business successfully.
what3words is enabling tourism businesses to share their location accurately every time, and helping travellers explore the world without getting lost.
So how does what3words work?
what3words is a global addressing system. It has divided the world into a grid of 3m x 3m squares and assigned each one a unique and precise 3 word address.
For example, the front door of my favourite place for Friday brunch in Dubai is: hammock.lifelong.theatrical. Much much easier than their ‘official address’: Jumeirah Beach Road, Umm Suqeim 2, Near Umm Suqeim Park, Emarat Petrol Station – Dubai – United Arab Emirates – which may or may not get me to the front door of The Surf Café!
3 word addresses are more accurate and reliable than postal addressing. They’re easier to remember and share than GPS coordinates and provide an incredibly simple way to talk about location. what3words ensures that travellers’ time is spent doing what they love to do – not getting frustratingly lost.
what3words can be used in 14 languages and works offline – apps, maps and guides for travellers, such as Pearlshare, TripGo, Navmii and PocketEarth have what3words built-in, so tourists can discover and travel to and from easy-to-remember 3 word addresses, without wasting valuable time!
Those travelling in unfamiliar or foreign cities are no longer hindered by language barriers or roaming data charges. Any non-Japanese speaker who has visited Tokyo with its confusing street addressing system and character-based language, will know the difficulty of trying to enjoy a city and never being able to find your way around.
Thanks to what3words, that never has to be a problem anymore; every part of Tokyo has an address I can find, use and share – made of just three English words (or, naturally, my language of choice).
Helping travellers get where they’re meant to be
Travel agencies, tourist boards and rental accommodation sites can simply display accurate and extremely useful 3 word address details to help visitors plan their trips.
Hotels, bars and restaurants can provide the precise location of their front door. National parks can pinpoint the start of a hiking trail or car park entrance. And retailers can rest assured that their customers will always locate a meeting point or find an attraction.
3 word addresses can also be communicated easily between people. Travel guides and listings can print a 3 word address in magazines or travel documents. Locations can be shared simply via social media.
With what3words, campsites no longer need to rely on descriptive directions or unreliable signage to point customers to their front gate. Instead, a 3 word address can identify their location – whether surrounded by farmland in rural England or hidden in the great North American forest.
Adventure Tour Operators can also use 3 word addresses to plan their itineraries and venture deep into uncharted territory, safe in the knowledge that they’ll always find camp at the end of the day.
In fact, 3 word addresses can be used to identify virtually anything on the planet – a unique rock formation in the Outback, a canal lock along a waterway, the entrance gate to a temple high in the mountains. If it exists somewhere on the planet, then it already has a 3 word address.
what3words is in action in travel and tourism all over the world – TripUGo is a travel guide listing 3 word addresses for the best surfing spots, for example. Airsorted add 3 word addresses for each of their locations on Airbnb. The Independent Map Company provides a guide to the best local shops, each listing a 3 word address.
A printed guide for discovering hidden gems in rural Ireland gives guests a 3 word address for every site; the Ulaanbaatar tourist map shows the 3 word address of every location in the city, including its traditional Yurt campsites. Yosemite National Park and Glastonbury are also using what3words.
Hotel chains like the Landmark Hotels in Dubai provide the 3 word address of each front door for their guests. So, guests driving from Saudi Arabia or Oman will never get lost – not for a second!
Landmark Grand Deira
PO Box: 42222, Al Riqqa Street, Deira, Dubai UAE
Contact: +971 4 250 1111 FAX: +971 4 250 2020
With what3words, accommodation providers and retailers know their guests will always end up at the right door; and travellers can discover great places to hike, bike, cycle, climb, drive, dive, golf, fish, swim, surf, skate, ski, trek, ride, sleep, eat and much more.
what3words gives the precise location of every single point of interest – no matter how remote. Whether people are using our own free app, or apps like PocketEarth or Navmii, with what3words technology built in, travellers will spend more time where they planned to be.
In all my years in hospitality and travel, I have never heard so many people, from so many countries, in so many diverse businesses say, ‘Wow’. And the breathtaking simplicity of this new address system encourages people to find out more about what3words.
By enhancing travel experiences worldwide, we are already helping numerous organisations become even more successful.
If you would like further information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
P. S. It’s always free to list a 3 word address. You can find yours, or the address of your campsite, hotel, Airbnb, or yurt in the Gobi Desert on our free app or at map.what3words.com
P.P.S. Your guests and customers could soon be enjoying their travels even more!