Interview with the founders of Rent ‘n Connect Turkey

We challenged our friends at Rent ‘n Connect Turkey – a WiFi Rental company in Turkey, to share with us and our Blog readers some of their thoughts about WiFi rental plans, business opportunities,  and even the most interesting events and festivals in Turkey during this summer. Their responses are more than enough to convince us that we are dealing here with a company that can make your trip to Turkey be worry-free when it comes to connectivity.

What is the personal story behind Rent`n Connect? What made you start this WiFi rental business in Turkey?

Me and my partners have been thinking of starting a business for some time prior to starting Rent ‘n Connect. We saw the adoption of the sharing economy and rise of tablet ownership as an opportunity, and thought that consumer electronics should also include a business model based on rentals and short term use. With this in mind, we started the business in 2012 with the main idea of renting tablets to visitors at places where people spend time waiting and would find a tablet with apps already populated handy and useful. So that is how we started. Soon enough we partnered with a boutique hotel chain in Sultanahmet region in Istanbul renting iPads with 3G internet to hotel visitors, and started noticing the need for services that helps avoid roaming costs and also provide dependable high speed mobile internet access during travelling. Following the developments abroad as well we decided to start Rent ‘n Connect website offering our services directly to the tourists visiting Turkey as well. Through our website visitors can book pocket wifi or digital guides in advance and receive them during check-in or at the airport.

Why should tourists use your service, what is your main advantage over buying a SIM card in Turkey?
  • First of all, if you stay more than 1 week in Turkey and want to use your smartphone, you have to register your device with the local authority in Turkey which costs about €40 as well as requires bureaucratic steps that you would need to complete which may not be so pleasant during a trip of 10 days or 2 weeks. If you don’t register your smartphone, or in general all devices using simcards will be blocked by the Turkish operators.
  • If you are staying shorter so you don’t worry about the blocking issue, you may purchase simcards from local operators, which will cost initially anywhere from 15 Euro to 25 Euro, then you would need to add credit to allow buying data quota typically that will cost 8-10 euro for 1 gb. Compared to this you can rent a pocket wifi or a digital guide for about 35 Euro for 1 week (you will get 30% off for booking for 7 days or more, and if you book via our Facebook page, you will get 15% in addition to the 30%) and receive unlimited internet access (up to 15 GB per week), can share the internet with other devices or people, and can easily connect via wifi anywhere anytime. If you prefer the digital guide, then you can also use the applications specially selected to make your trip better (maps, guides, social media, etc).
  • Besides the internet access, or other benefits, we handle delivery, pick-up, and all technical issues so that the customer can actually enjoy the trip instead of worrying about simcars, wifi points, roaming, top-ups etc.
How is your company doing until now, what are the trends that you see and where do you want to get to?
  • We are running this operation for 2 years now, but after the first months of 2014, we got “serious” attention and feedback. We are living in a world ruled by technology and internet. People want to stay connected to their timeline or news feed, no matter where they are. The visitors know that they will have free wi-fi at your hotel or many cafes and restaurants. But as we are experiencing, it is simply not enough anymore. It used to be enough when people were checking e-mails every now and then, and posting their photos one time at the end of the day. However now people want to keep their mobile habits unchanged, share their experiences immediately. Roaming charges is way too expensive and buying a local simcard has too much procedures to handle for thinking as staying few days or even few weeks.
  • We see that during the spring time typical rental is for 4 to 7 days which are more city trips, whereas during the summer typical rentals are 7-14 days where people are on their annual leave.
  • One of the main trend we also see is that people rent our devices in one city, then travel through the country at many stops then return at a different location. Having a flexible pick-up and drop-off policy allows them not to worry about what to do when returning.
  • If we are talking about our products, Mobile Hotspot (pocket wifi devices) is #1 on the list. Our Digital Guide is coming right after mobile hotspot but, as what we saw on the last few weeks, it also has a great potential for the near future. And we have also received many great feedbacks regarding our digital guide and, surely, we are expanding and updating our OS on the digital guide based our client feedbacks.
  • Our clients are 99% happy as far as the feedback we receive which makes us believe that we are on the right track. The top things they love with the service is prompt and friendly customer service, coverage with good quality, and flexibility of the service.
  • We definitely intend to keep the customer satisfaction levels high and expand to new markets at the same time. Our goal for near future is becoming the best and most affordable connectivity solution all over Turkey for tourists. Our future goal is to make this connectivity solution available outside of Turkey. So, we may be coming to your country soon!
What are the coolest events happening in Turkey in the summer of 2014? What would you recommend potential tourists to visit?

Here are the some of the greatest festivals and events of this summer in Turkey:

o   Living Legend Bob Dylan is coming to Istanbul on 20th June.

o   For music lovers the 42nd Istanbul Music Festival is between17th of June and 27th of June.

o   MiniPax Festival is on the 21st of June in Suma  beach in Istanbul

o  Istanbul Jazz Festival has become one of the good Jazz Festivals in the region, should not be missed if you enjoy Jazz music. July 1-16

o   Metallica performing 4th or 5th  time in Istanbul on July 13th,

o  If you enjoy EDM music, Isle of Dreams is the first big and multiday EDM festival in Turkey with mainstream DJs performing. August 5-7.

o   Midtown Fest with Portishead as the main feature is on 20th of August

o   For art lovers, the 28th International Izmir Festival features many events in historic and cultural places like the Ephesus Antique Theater and St John Baptist Church throughout the summer.

These are the main ones, but there are many other events happening around the country. Turkey is a multicultural country. Large music festivals, art festivals, different and interesting fairs, extreme sport events. Those events are known by most however, we are suggesting some extraordinary events to our clients and all potential tourists: taking a photo while crossing the Bosphorus bridge which is between Asia and Europa, and upload immediately to Instagram. Find a great local food using FourSquare without asking someone or your guide. Walk the city just using Google Maps or Yandex Maps, go wherever looks charming, exotic, hip or oriental. It’s hard to get lost, especially in Istanbul. Find a unique street art or wall graffiti and Tweet about it. All we can say is this: just stay connected with our mobile hotspots and internet & the city will take care of the rest.

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