No Pool to Your Name? Don’t Worry, Swimply Has Hundreds for Rent.
They’re the Airbnb for swimming pools, and thus an ideal summer hack
If you’re familiar with the winding drive up to the Hollywood Reservoir, you might already know how to find the headquarters of Swimply, aka “the Airbnb of pools.” In a rare trifecta involving hard seltzer, Justin Bieber’s former mansion and the young pool rental company, Swimply celebrated National Pool Day last week with happy hour at the four-story mansion on Weidlake Drive. Bieber-adjacent clout aside, the idea of bringing swimming holes and booze together isn’t a new one. Swimply’s model of curating the best pools online and renting them by the hour? That is.
When I visited Swimply HQ, I accidentally turned right off the mansion’s elevator and stepped into the living room, where a white baby grand and a custom Swimply painting (on which the letters of the Hollywood sign were replaced by the brand’s name) indicated the startup’s current stage of VC funding. (In case you’re wondering, it’s over $62 million as of January 2022.) Just like Airbnb before them, Swimply’s intention is to monetize underused resources — in this case, a backyard pool. Given L.A. rent prices, the water shortage and the fact that many people still don’t want to travel or be in large groups, the timing couldn’t be better. The company is looking to expand into renting out other private outdoor areas, too, like tennis courts or backyards. But for now, pools, and the glamour that surrounds them, remain their bread and butter.
Like so many of the made-up holidays now clogging our calendars, National Pool Day is an event in name only, so the media happy hour doubled as a chance for both Swimply, and their new hard seltzer partner, High Noon, to showcase just what spending a few hours at a private pool with your friends might feel like. The honest answer? Good, but expensive. Justin Bieber’s former mansion/Swimply’s current headquarters boasts some of the best views of the city, plus an enormous outdoor living area bordered on one side by a tiled pool bedecked with the word “HOLLYWOOD” in all caps (and also in tile). It’s not a bad place for a brand to set up shop while they spread the good word about hourly private pool rental, which has grown by leaps and bounds during COVID-19.
PR folks for the respective brands mingled with the guest list of media and content-capturing influencers, for whom a celebrity pool party on a fake holiday is a gold mine. The patio was stocked with a graze-minded spread of cheese and charcuterie boards, chips and guac, and other snacks, along with what looked like an unlimited amount of hard seltzer. The High Noon was doled out in tasting sessions, during which guests could figure out their preferred flavor — mine was kiwi, while a fellow attendee’s palate led him to peach. Unlike White Claw, High Noon is not overly sweet, which made it easier to drink, but it didn’t strike as particularly different than several of the other brands that are clocking in at 100 calories and hitting the gluten-free mark — except, as I was informed, it’s made with vodka and not malt liquor, and has no sugar added.
In Los Angeles, a swimming pool is always about currency and clout: those lucky enough to have one maintain a certain power within a friend group or when throwing a party. Those without are usually on the lookout for a chance to spend the day beside one. Swimply’s founder, Bunim Laskin, tapped into that desire back in 2018, when he convinced his neighbor to offer him a pool pass in exchange for taking care of the pool itself. Quickly realizing the financial potential, Laskin started Swimply with just four pools in New Jersey. Within the first year, the company racked up over $1 million in reservations.
Future challenges certainly await them — the brand would seem to share the same public liabilities as Airbnb in terms of property damage, safety concerns and potential impact on Swimply neighbors who want to use their backyard in peace and without strangers showing up next door. But they’ve taken steps to mitigate those issues, as hosts are provided with a $1 million liability insurance policy and are eligible for up to a $10K property damage protection. Laskin views Swimply as another way resources like pools can be democratized, and as part of a growing trend of shifts in the ownership model.
“The world and especially America is steering away from gluttony and moving towards making ownership either profoundly intelligent (by enabling you to make a profit from your assets) or completely unnecessary,” he tells InsideHook. “Swimply allows owners an opportunity to cover the cost of pool ownership and maintenance, while providing a meaningful community resource. We already have more private pools in L.A. than we will ever need — Swimply democratizes access to them.”
For now, the company’s many listings (over 350 available during a recent search!) of local pools in Los Angeles are a solid draw. With most reportedly renting in the $45-$65 per-hour range, a full pool day will cost around $200-$400 — split that between several people, and it’s not that unreasonable. And unlike the popular ResortPass, which lets non-hotel guests rent out spots at a property’s pool for the day, the guidelines and rules for using a private pool are generally far less restrictive.
Of course, Swimply’s L.A. power renters might end up being brands eager to throw private activations on a budget. Don’t be surprised if the next marketing event you attend boasts a private pool and a giant swan inflatable.
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