How many times have you gone on travel, checked into your hotel and barely glanced at the in-room phone?
A normal hotel stay starts with entering your room, dropping your bags and looking around. A quick freshen-up and either you are out the door for your next activity (tour, dinner, etc.) or you change and go straight to bed. Maybe you check-in with your boss or spouse to let them know you have arrived safely.
At almost no time does the idea of making that call from the in-room phone even cross your mind. Wither is because you expect outrageous charges for a long distance or international call, or because you use your own alternate, the room phone is left for calling housekeeping, to order room service, or other in-hotel services.
The idea for Phonebnb popped into our heads at of all things a telecom conference being held in the USA.
One of our Founders had a customer conference call scheduled, but the Wi-Fi at the conference and hotel was spotty at best and he had run out of minutes on his mobile plan.
With no feasible solution, he ended up joining the conference call from his in-room telephone. Unfortunately, this came at a considerable cost.
When we got to discussing it, we realized that with frequent international business travel our schedule would look less like a typical hotel stay and more like this:
A normal business trip starts with entering your room, dropping your bags and looking around. A quick freshen-up and either you are out the door for your first meeting, usually followed by dinner with colleagues or customers. Then it is back to the room and either you get on email and calls with people west of you, or you get up early for emails and calls for those who are east of you. Frequently it is both.
Or you can have a morning meeting followed by hours of conference calls and work from the home office. The idea of spending hours on your smartphone is not appealing for many reasons: bad reception in the room, outlandish roaming rates, having enough battery, or the trying to balance a smart phone on your shoulder while you try typing or writing something.
There sits the in-room phone that is just as easy to work with as the one in your office or home, but normal hotel rates for local, let alone long distance, calls is usually quite high.
Thus the idea of a simple to use, flat-rate plan was born.