Apps

Rent a stranger’s pool on Swimply

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The recent record-breaking high temperatures in Sonoma County sent crowds of locals and visitors clambering to their nearest coastal pool or beach. With the intention of beating the heat, many water seekers tolerate the crowds as long as they manage to stay cool.

Now, a new app in Los Angeles not only offers pool seekers a chance to keep cool when the temperatures start to rise, they can do so without the crowds.

Swimply, which has dubbed itself the Airbnb for pools, offers pool owners a way to rent out their backyard pool spaces hourly to neighbors who want to “escape locally.”

Kathy Housman began renting out her space in May 2021. She has the only pool in Sebastopol on Swimply.

“I built this pool 20 years ago, but the kids are grown and I’m not used to it and I still have to pay for it,” Housman said. “Now I’m fully booked all the time and I think people should just try it. People are usually more impressed and happy with what they did than what they thought went in.”

Swimply was created by co-founders Bunim Laskin and Asher Weinberger, who noticed that the pools in their area were largely unused.

They started asking neighbors to rent them out and created a website that has now grown into an app where people can book local private pools, hot tubs, and backyards by the hour.

“Most people think that Swimply is an app for pool parties and disruptive events,” Laskin says. “But Swimply was born because my family didn’t have access to this recreational activity.”

Laskin said people’s families and their health are the top reasons people book with Swimply, adding that 70% of Swimply bookings come from families hosting pool parties and events – which must be pre-approved by hosts, and adhere to the company’s neighbor-friendly policy and have neighbors’ permission — who make up less than 4% of all bookings.

Laskin also said the company is actively working to keep swimmers safe by checking every pool listing that appears on the site. He added that 99% of the pools on Swimply have five star reviews.

“Safety is our number 1 priority,” he said. “Trust and security teams are investigating all pools and the people they list.”

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