Thursday 8 July 2021 9:00 am

Airbnb inks deal with location tech firm what3words amid staycation boom

Airbnb has launched a partnership with what3words to bring the startup’s location mapping technology to its platform ahead of an expected boom in staycations.

What3words has divided the world into three-metre squares each with a unique three-word name to help pinpoint specific addresses.

The London-based company said its technology helps to tackle the inaccuracy of street addresses and provide precise locations such as building entrances, parks and many rural areas.

The partnership with Airbnb will allow hosts to provide more accurate details of their accommodation — especially those based in remote locations.

Airbnb said the technology could also inspire people to open up their properties and make use of unusual spaces and plots of land without allocated addresses such as tents, stables, treehouses and barn conversions.

It comes amid booming demand for holiday properties in the UK as Covid restrictions lift but uncertainty over international travel remains.

Airbnb said local travel has made up 82 per cent of nights booked in the UK so far this year while the percentage of rural nights booked for summer has jumped from 23 per cent in summer 2019 to 48 per cent this summer.

“From remote cabins to rural barns, Airbnb provides endless opportunities for adventure across the UK, particularly for those staycationing this summer,” said Amanda Cupples, general manager for Northern Europe at Airbnb.

“Through Airbnb’s collaboration with what3words, hosts on Airbnb can provide guests with an unforgettable stay, without worrying about navigation. And, with rural travel accounting for almost half of British Airbnb bookings for summer 2021, Brits are more excited than ever to discover these off-the-beaten path destinations.”

The partnership will come as a boost to what3words, which was founded in 2013.

Its technology, which has divided the world into 57 trillion squares, is designed to help businesses ranging from ecommerce and logistics to ride-hailing and navigation apps, as well as emergency services.

The company recently secured investment from both ITV and the holding company behind Ikea.