US: what3words has given every three metre square in the world a unique three word address, and the system is being taken up by hard-to-find vacation rentals.
what3words cites the case of Zorigt and his wife Otgonbayar, who are reindeer herders, part of the nomadic Dhuka tribe who live in the Taiga snow forest of northern Mongolia. Living a traditional nomadic lifestyle, they pack up their small family camp every few weeks and move through the forest, following the movements of their reindeer herd.
The family rarely get to meet new people, so love to host travellers, but the remoteness of the area and the constant location changes have, until recently, made it almost impossible to tell guests where to find them. Now, however, the family have listed their home on Airbnb – by using what3words.
It means that, for the first time ever, Zorigt can easily tell guests where to find his camp. He has no internet connection, so he keeps his Airbnb listing up to date using a co-host in Tsagaannuur, the nearest town. When the tribe arrives at a new location, Zorigt simply checks the three-word address on the what3words app and texts it to his co-host, who adds it to the location information. what3words is available offline and in over 26 languages, and the Mongolian three word address can be switched into English with one tap in the app.
“We love hosting people. Tourists discover the area and learn about life here, and we also like welcoming them as it is interesting to meet new people,” said Zorigt
There are many short-term rental hosts and properties which don’t have a street address and are hard to find. These include treehouses, boats and yurts. But properties that do have an address can still be a challenge to find. Even in the world’s most modern and developed cities, street addresses are often duplicated and easy to confuse when you don’t know the area – in London, for example, there are 14 Church Roads, and Mexico City has 632 Juarez Streets. If you’re in San Francisco and trying to find Park Street, you’ll also find a confusing number in the area.
Addresses can also be hard to use when you don’t speak the language. Street addresses also take time to update, so if a listing is in a new building, it might take months for its address to show up in an online search. what3words says this is why hosts are adding their 3 word address to their listing’s location information, and recommending that their guests download the free what3words app before they travel.
Using just three words, guests can find the exact entrance of their Airbnb easily. The app is compatible with navigation apps including Google Maps, Citymapper and Waze, and even ride hailing apps such as Uber and Cabify, allowing people to book a ride to exactly where they need to be, even when they don’t speak the language.