Travelling to the wrong place is easier than you think. The flying Dutchman story is now seven years old, but still travellers are getting caught out. In this story a Dutchman and his grandson bought tickets from Amsterdam to Sydney. They were surprised that the flying time was so short until told that they had flown to Sydney in Nova Scotia, not Australia.
The problem is that, despite global satellites and the like, things and places are rarely where they say they are. Famously, Google maps places it ‘pin’ for Cote D’Azur some 20 miles offshore. Tricky if you’re trying to drive there in any car other than one used by James Bond.
Searching for Disneyland Paris on the booking.com website won’t help you as it’s not listed there; but it does list 134 hotels around it. Use Expedia instead, it does list the famous resort, together with only 92 hotels.
The problem lies with the travel industry’s unwillingness to standardise on location definitions, so each website ends up using its own. OK, so the airline industry didn’t help the unfortunate Dutch travellers but everyone knows that ‘LHR’ is the unique international code for London Heathrow. And nowhere else. At some point in the future, the same discipline will need to be applied to the locations used by hotels and even cities or areas.
They could take a closer look at a great App called what3words. It’s created a truly global system that pinpoints locations. To do this, it divided the globe into a giant grid made up of 57 trillion squares, with each square measuring three square meters. Each grid then has a unique three-word address that can then be communicated to others.
According to their website, they estimate that 75% of the world suffers from inadequate addressing and, more seriously, 4 billion people remain ‘invisible’, so simply unable to receive packages – or even aid.
This App probably wouldn’t be much use to the Cote D’Azur Tourist Board but it will need to do something, even if its just fitting floats to cars!