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Masked Phone Numbers with PHP and Laravel

This PHP Laravel sample application is modeled after the amazing rental experience created by AirBnB, but with more Klingons.

Host users can offer rental properties which other guest users can reserve. The guest and the host can then anonymously communicate via a disposable Twilio phone number created just for a reservation. In this tutorial, we'll show you the key bits of code to make this work.

To run this sample app yourself, download the code and follow the instructions on GitHub.

Legal implications of managing communications between users

If you choose to manage communications between your users, including voice calls, text-based messages (e.g., SMS), and chat, you may need to comply with certain laws and regulations, including those regarding obtaining consent. Additional information regarding legal compliance considerations and best practices for using Twilio to manage and record communications between your users, such as when using Twilio Proxy, can be found here.



Notice: Twilio recommends that you consult with your legal counsel to make sure that you are complying with all applicable laws in connection with communications you record or store using Twilio.

Let's get started!

Create a Reservation

The first step in connecting a guest and host is creating a reservation. Here, we handle a form submission for a new reservation which contains the guest's name and phone number.

        
        
        
        
        app/Http/Controllers/ReservationController.php

        Create a Reservation

        app/Http/Controllers/ReservationController.php

        Part of our reservation system is receiving reservation requests from potential renters. However, these reservations need to be confirmed. Let's see how we would handle this step.

        Confirm the Reservation

        Confirm the Reservation

        Before the reservation is finalized, the host needs to confirm that the property is still available. Learn how to automate this process in our first AirTNG tutorial, Workflow Automation.

        Once the reservation is confirmed, we need to create a Twilio number that the guest and host can use to communicate in the getNewTwilioNumber method.

              
              
              
              
              app/Http/Controllers/ReservationController.php

              Confirm Reservation Method

              app/Http/Controllers/ReservationController.php

              Once the reservation is confirmed, we need to purchase a Twilio number that the guest and host can use to communicate.

              Purchase a Twilio Number

              Purchase a Twilio Number

              Here we use a Twilio REST API Client to search for and buy a new phone number to associate with the reservation. When we buy the number, we designate a Twilio application that will handle webhook requests; when the new number receives an incoming call or text.

              We then save the new phone number on our Reservation model, so when our app receives calls or texts to this number, we'll know which reservation the call or text belongs to.

                    
                    
                    
                    
                    app/Http/Controllers/ReservationController.php

                    Purchase a Twilio Number

                    app/Http/Controllers/ReservationController.php

                    Now that each reservation has a Twilio Phone Number, we can see how the application will look up reservations as guest or host calls come in.

                    Find a Reservation

                    Find a Reservation

                    When someone sends an SMS or calls one of the Twilio numbers you have configured, Twilio makes a request to the URL you set in the TwiML app. In this request, Twilio includes some useful information including:

                    • the From number that originally called or sent an SMS
                    • the To Twilio number that triggered this request

                    Take a look at Twilio's SMS Documentation and Twilio's Voice Documentation for a full list of the parameters you can use.

                    In our controller we use the To parameter sent by Twilio to find a reservation that has the number we bought stored in it, as this is the number both hosts and guests will call and send sms to.

                          
                          
                          
                          
                          app/Http/Controllers/ReservationController.php

                          Find a Reservation

                          app/Http/Controllers/ReservationController.php

                          Next, let's see how to connect the guest and the host via SMS.

                          Connect Via SMS

                          Connect Via SMS

                          Our Twilio application should be configured to send HTTP requests to this controller method on any incoming text message. Our app responds with TwiML to tell Twilio what to do in response to the message.

                          If the initial message sent to the anonymous number was sent by the host, we forward it on to the guest. Conversely, if the original message was sent by the guest, we forward it to the host.

                                
                                
                                
                                
                                app/Http/Controllers/ReservationController.php

                                Connect Via SMS

                                app/Http/Controllers/ReservationController.php

                                Let's see how to connect the guest and the host via phone call next.

                                Connect Via Phone Call

                                Connect Via Phone Call

                                Our Twilio application will send HTTP requests to this method on any incoming voice call. Our app responds with TwiML instructions that tell Twilio to Play an introductory MP3 audio file and thenDial either the guest or host, depending on who initiated the call.

                                      
                                      
                                      
                                      
                                      app/Http/Controllers/ReservationController.php

                                      Connect Via Phone Call

                                      app/Http/Controllers/ReservationController.php

                                      That's it! We've just implemented anonymous communications that allow your customers to connect while protecting their privacy.

                                      Where to Next?

                                      Where to Next?

                                      If you're a PHP developer working with Twilio, you might want to check out these other tutorials:

                                      Click-To-Call

                                      Put a button on your web page that connects visitors to live support or sales people via telephone.

                                      Automated Survey

                                      Instantly collect structured data from your users with a survey conducted over a voice call or SMS text messages.

                                      Did this help?

                                      Thanks for checking out this tutorial! If you have any feedback to share with us, we'd love to hear it. Tweet @twilio to let us know what you think.

                                      Mario Celi Jose Oliveros Agustin Camino Andrew Baker Kat King David Prothero
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                                      Need some help?

                                      We all do sometimes; code is hard. Get help now from our support team, or lean on the wisdom of the crowd browsing the Twilio tag on Stack Overflow.