LOS ANGELES — After spending years visiting the tropics, Joseph Peron decided to recreate the luxury resort experience in his own backyard.
Peron's Hacienda Heights home now has a pool ringed with palm trees and a hammock at water’s edge, as well as a jacuzzi, an outdoor kitchen and a covered patio with fans and lighting.
“I’m trying to create Fiji, Hawaii, Jamaica and the Bahamas all combined in my backyard,” said Peron, who loves his homemade resort so much that he’s started inviting strangers to use it for a fee.
“I’m enjoying my backyard and want to let someone else enjoy it who hasn’t had a chance to go places like I have,” said Peron, who has so far rented his pool area to three families — or four, if you include this coming weekend.
Peron's pool is one of 100 that the Swimmy app is hoping to sign up in LA by the end of the year. Originally launched in France in 2017, Swimmy already has 130,000 users in Europe but only jumped the Atlantic this summer, setting up shop in Los Angeles in June.
Similar to Swimply, another peer-to-peer pool-sharing app that came to LA last summer, Swimmy is leveraging the share economy forged by companies like Airbnb, applying it to an asset that’s synonymous with Southern California.
Pool owners create a listing on the app, set their daily rate, availability, amenities and the maximum number of guests allowed. Pool users then book it and pay.
Similar to Swimply, Swimmy makes its money by charging a double-sided commission. It takes a 17% cut from the host and a 20% fee from the guest. In LA, sessions range from $45 to $80 per person.
“We all have memories of swimming pool fun in our childhood,” said Swimmy founder Raphaëlle de Monteynard, who started the company in France after swimming in a private pool with a friend and realizing that all the pools in the gardens around them were empty. “This is what we aim for at Swimmy — creating those memories over and over again.”
"We’ve met some amazing families," said Laurie Green, who started using Swimmy to rent her pool in Thousand Oaks earlier this month. "Everyone is just so friendly."
Green explained how she and her friend Keven Simmons had hosted a pair of 911 operators and a couple with an arthritic dog who needed to swim for rehabilitation. Dogs are welcome in their pool, which costs $80 per person for half a day and includes a court to play volleyball, basketball and paddle tennis, a two-hole putting green, a sitting area with Edison lights, and bathroom access.
Some pools on the app also offer towels, snacks and the use of their barbecues for an extra $3 to $10 fee, according to a Swimmy spokesperson.