What is Swimply? Everything you need to know about the Aribnb for swimming pools

All photos courtesy of Swimply

Make sure your stay is going smoothly, whatever the season.

Faced with the start of summer, canceled vacations, safety concerns in the midst of a pandemic, and a quarantine that lasted much longer than anyone imagined in a home without central air conditioning, the Los Angeles couple, Carrie Borzillo and Eric Pritchard, invested in an inflatable children’s pool. , mixed a pitcher of colorful cocktails and poured into their new garden oasis. Unfortunately, this inflatable solution did not live up to the temperature that would later hit a triple-digit record.

“We were dying in our house. The kiddie pool was great at first, but it got hotter and hotter and you can only cover part of yourself. By this point, we had caught the pool bug anyway, ”says Borzillo, writer and freelance producer. “I kept complaining that I would have liked to have had a pool or that we had to rent an Airbnb nearby that had one. My husband started Googling and voila! He found Swimply. Neither of us knew this existed before that, but now we’ve done it four times in four different pools. He used it to shoot an underwater scene for a music video. We’ll probably be using it for nightly hot tub dates this winter. We are addicted.

They are not alone. This summer, To swim, aka Airbnb for the hourly rental of private pools, welcomed more than 110,000 swimmers against 20,000 last summer. Since a test in 2018 and the official launch in 2019, the active pool inventory has grown from 100 to 8,000 in 30 states, including Florida, Utah, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont, Texas, l ‘Oregon, Illinois and Hawaii (there are also 500 other dives in Australia).

Continue reading the article after our video

Fodor’s Recommended Video

“The majority of reservations are hyper-local, with the average distance between a guest and a pool being six miles,” says 23-year-old founder Bunim Laskin. “Repeated use also indicates that it is not so much a vacation platform like Airbnb as a product that improves everyday life. The goal of Swimply is to give tenants the joy of owning a private pool or resort type amenities without having to spend thousands of dollars to build one and thousands more to maintain it. It is about improving the quality of life of average families.

He is confident that he knows what the users want. And he should, because he and his 11 younger siblings were technically Swimply’s first customers in Lakewood, New Jersey, in 2017.

“That year my mom had her twelfth child, so we couldn’t afford to send someone to camp or on vacation and that got me to the point of desperation,” Laskin recalls. “I asked our neighbor if my family could use their swimming pool when their grandchildren weren’t there in exchange for paying 25% of their expenses. She was so happy with the arrangement that she got five other families to make the same deal. Her swimming pool expenses were covered and she started to make a profit. I thought other people would like this kind of arrangement because swimming pools are expensive to maintain and most people don’t use them 24/7.

He believed in his stroke of genius enough to drop out of college. He went to Google Earth and located 80 swimming pools in his area. And then hit the ground running… literally. “I started running, knocking on doors and pitching. Four of those houses said ‘yes’ and we launched the platform with them, ”he says. “These four became 50 and 50 became 100 pools. The website ended up collapsing after a few hundred bookings, but we used that to raise money to officially relaunch it.

The platform works similarly to Airbnb in that the first step is property inspection and owner verification. Customers search by location and browse pages of photos and owner-personalized ads to reflect their pool type (saltwater or chlorine), dimensions, level of privacy, cleaning schedule, and amenities like child-resistant slides or barriers. The list will tell you what other furniture or parts of the yard are available (i.e. outdoor changing rooms, bathrooms, grills, chairs) and if there are any additional costs like heating or using the whirlpool.

“We loved the nice assortment of pools in the cool neighborhoods. They were all different and that was part of the fun, ”says Borzillo. “You could see the Hollywood sign from one of them. One of them had a huge snack section and bottled water. Another had tons of pool toys and floats. For us everything was as advertised every time, but my advice is to ask all your questions in advance. Especially for turning on the heater or the hot tub.

The owners set available dates and times, prices (the average is $ 45 an hour), and rules for things like alcohol, music, and sunbathing. Renters are encouraged to negotiate terms or extras like filming Pritchard or hosting a bachelorette party, but the owner reserves the right not to accept reservations or to make exceptions. Once it’s booked and paid for through the app, you receive the address and instructions for entering the yard.

“Most of the time everything goes very well; I can just fix it and forget about it, ”says Missy Jenkins, a health policy consultant who started praising her. dive and Jacuzzi in Alexandria, Va., in August. “I try to let people have their privacy, but there were things I had to deal with like a dad who let the kids at his son’s birthday party do flips on the slate or guys who broke my drinking rule and become rowdy To their credit i went out and said something and they calmed down.

Swimply grew at a respectable rate from the start, but there’s no doubt that Laskin’s aquatic baby was the fortuitous recipient of a huge pandemic surge.

“We couldn’t have predicted the tough times our country finds itself in due to COVID and I wish we weren’t, but I can’t deny that the travel and shelter-in-place restrictions support our self-service, contactless business. model, ”Laskin says. “People are bored of their homes and the entertainment options were very limited. They were looking for safe and fun ways to get out of the house and enjoy their day, especially during the summer when the kids were not in school and they usually went on trips while controlling people. with whom they spent time for health reasons. Others were looking for exercise options, as gyms were closed in many cities. And in the current climate, a lot of people were looking for additional sources of income, so we added some great pools. “

After the CDC considered chlorine a COVID-19 killer and public pool use was low risk, Swimply implemented a variety of different policies, often depending on the location of the pool. and if this city / state was a hot spot, to make the service safer. during the cruel spring and summer of 2020. Examples include capacity limits, mandatory buffers between reservations, and disinfection protocols. Laskin says, “We have tried to educate our hosts on what they can do to limit the risk of infection. Our owners are excited to be making the money, but they were also very excited to be able to help families in their community.

Jenkins, laughing, admits it was all about the Benjamins when she decided to run Swimply, but hearing “kids screaming” and “seeing parents chilling out” or watching a bridal shower unfold was a bigger reward. than she had expected.

“This couple, loyal customers, booked a rainy day, so I heated the pool,” Jenkins recalls. “I thought they would definitely cancel, but they showed up with their floats and got on board. They looked asleep, they were so relaxed. It started to rain and they were so comfortable that they continued to float. Being able to play a small role in creating such a moment is special, especially given how difficult this year is. “

That’s not to say it hasn’t been lucrative too. Swimply says several homeowners report five-figure monthly incomes at the height of the heat. The company itself is on track to raise over $ 5 million in revenue this year. In two months, Jenkins had earned enough to pay for maintenance, make a profit, and make a few upgrades, including adding heat lamps and a “mac daddy heater” which will hopefully turn her summer Shangri-La into. an all-season oasis. “Think about adding a fireplace and try to tap into the hydrotherapy market. I know it won’t bring in as much business as it does in summer, but it can be very romantic and warm there so hopefully some keep coming.

Laskin is also looking to diversify, and he’s betting the same pandemic ramifications and increased stays will help his second rental app make a splash like Swimply. Scheduled to launch in select cities like LA in February, and then across the US over the next 12 months, Space of joy will allow users to rent private tennis and basketball courts, large backyards, moored boats and home gyms set up by the hour.

“The people who build these things are really passionate about them, but there are other people who have the same love of basketball or training, but they don’t have the same economic privilege,” Laskin says. . “With Joyspace, like with Swimply, we are really trying to democratize luxury.”

Comments are closed.