The tourism industry changed dramatically when platforms like VRBO and Airbnb enabled travelers to forgo hotels for a vacation home rental. But not only did this change traditional tourism lodging models…it gave “regular people” a thirst for renting their stuff to tourists, thrill seekers, and folks looking to relax. I mean…why stop at lodging?
And suddenly, the apps and online matching platforms were born. Here are six surprising things you can rent by the hour, from regular people who have something you want and don’t/can’t own yourself.
Love gardening or want to try growing some veggies, and don’t have your own patch of land for the pleasure? The platform Shared Earth matches people who have plots of unused land with aspiring gardeners in their area. Through the in-app messaging system, you can get information about the sunlight, soil quality, and other pertinent facts to help you determine if that particular land is suitable for the types of things you want to grow. Tourism professionals…take note here. Got some land you could share with the community this way? Worth considering.
A Swimming Pool
Want an escape but can’t afford the time/money for a vacation? Rent someone’s swimming pool and yard by the hour through Swimply (which might be the most perfect brand name on the planet). You plug in your desired location and time and voila…a list of pools for rent and their photos are shown. Then you just book and go. One gent raked in nearly $200,000 just renting out his pool over the course of two years. The only downside to such a perfect brand name comes when you want to develop new revenue streams: Swimply is beta testing Swimply Spaces, through which you can rent people’s tennis courts, private gyms, and more. Cool idea but it dilutes the power of the name.
Why buy a ticket for a boating experience with lots of other tourists? Rent your own for an hour or two – even with a private captain and/or crew – from someone who has a boat to rent out as a side hustle. The Boatsetter app will match you with your perfect boating experience in your preferred location. Yachts, fishing boats, party boats, pontoon boats, sailboats…even jet skis are available. And the locations are pretty diverse, with both ocean and lake options across the US.
Outdoor Sporting Gear
In another example of a perfect brand name getting diluted through expansion, Spinlister began as a way for folks to rent bikes of all kinds, from touring to mountain and everything in between. Over time, it grew to feature a wide range of outdoor gear like surfboards, stand-up paddle boards, skis, and more. This makes total sense for folks who are casual outdoor enthusiasts that have neither the inclination nor the storage space to own their own gear. Tourism professionals…take note here: there’s a Spinlister Pro version available for businesses, so if you want to lure in all those folks staying in Airbnb’s around your community, this might be a gateway.
A Yard for Your Dog
The brilliantly named Sniffspot – and please for the love of branding, Sniffspot…don’t you too start renting out other things that make no sense for your name – will allow you to rent someone’s backyard for your dog to play in by the hour. And not just a backyard…the listing options include private hiking trails, fenced in/roam free areas, yards with pools the dogs can use, yards for private use, yards for playing with other dogs, yards with doggie agility courses, and more. At prices that range from $5 – $20 (ish) per hour, it’s an incredible value…even if you have your own yard for your dog, but occasionally want to rent one with a pool or agility course to give your pup its own mini-vacation.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a driveway, garage, or any kind of owned area that could be a parking spot in a densely populated area (where scoring a parking space is like winning the lottery), you can rent it out through SpotHero. At first glance, the website looks like it’s only used by big companies and parking garages, but regular folks can rent out their home spot here too…by the hour, day, week, or month. It’s a super helpful service for people who don’t have time to waste looking for a parking spot, but don’t want to pay the exorbitant fees often charged by garages, stadiums, and (sorry tourism industry) urban hotels.
And in addition to these six surprising things you can rent by the hour, here’s a bonus: Fat Llama. Want to rent a painting? A photography lighting umbrella? A scooter? A sewing machine? A ukulele? A drone? A power drill? You can find it all (and more) at Fat Llama.
Now THERE’S a brand name that can handle expansion into any category. Because…random.
For some memorable examples of when tourism businesses treated me with the same kind of personal relationship vibe you get from these “regular person” rentals, check out these 10 unexpected (and fabulous) tourism guest service stories.