As temperatures reach new, sweltering heights and housing costs alone — along with the cost of about, well, everything — bump increasingly out of reach, some business-minded people are seeing dollar signs in a backyard luxury.
It’s a luxury that’s likely to get only more rare as the West’s most precious resource — water — becomes more and more scarce.
And yep, there’s an app for that: Swimply, which has nicknamed itself the “Airbnb of pools.” The nickname has stuck, cropping up in national headlines as the app has gained interest from publications like The Washington Post and Forbes.
In recent years, Swimply has grown in popularity, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. From 2020 to 2021, the company claimed it grew 4,000%, according to Forbes, as restless Americans sought ways to cool off in pools that weren’t public.
Only 8.7 million American homes have pools, with 5.4 million that are actually in-ground, The Washington Post reported. Estimating that 96% of Americans don’t have access to a pool — while pool owners typically only swim in them 15% of their time — Swimply saw a market that would benefit both the pool-less and the pool-privileged.
And it’s been working. In May of last year, Swimply announced it had expanded to a total of 125 U.S. markets, as well as two markets in Canada and five in Australia.
“The shifting mindset from younger generations about ownership is a huge contributor to increased growth of the Swimply marketplace,” Asher Weinberger, co-founder and COO of Swimply, said in a prepared statement. “Swimming is the third most popular activity for adults and No. 1 for children, and yet no other company has tackled the aquatic space to make swimming more affordable and accessible ... until now.”
In total, Swimply offers more than 25,000 pools to choose from, The Washington Post reported.
And yes, Swimply is here in Utah, with listings available along the Wasatch Front and on the southern end of the state in sunny St. George. Utah prices range from $45 an hour up to $125, depending on the pool.