Rooms by the Hour for People Weary of Quarantine


Netflix. Peloton. Charmin. These are well-known manufacturers benefiting from the quarantine life-style. Here’s one you’ve by no means heard of: Globe. Its goal buyer is all of us who’re actually irritated with the individuals we dwell with.

You need a break. Going to your office, a co-working space or a coffee shop are not currently options. So you flip to your Globe app and look for a nearby empty apartment to rent for a few hours. No overnight stays are permitted, and you have to send a photo of a thermometer showing you don’t have a fever to get access to the check-in instructions.

Brittney Gwynn, 32, has been quarantining in Brooklyn with her boyfriend and really needed a break. “Our love is unlimited but in terms of the time we’re spending together, we’re getting on each other’s nerves,” she said.

“I brought my anti-bacterial wipes, wiped down the desk, the doorknob, the light switch, any area of the apartment I was in,” she said. She conducted an important work call for 45 minutes, and then chilled for more than an hour.

But hotel workers balked at the extra cleaning they were being asked to do without additional pay.

So Mr. Bamfo decided to broaden his concept and connect anyone who needed a place to chill out to people who wanted to make extra money from their residences. He paired with a different friend from college, Mr. Xu, a former engineer at Reddit.

Globe did OK at first. There was supply, there was demand. The entrepreneurs were trying to make it scale.

Then came the coronavirus.

According to the company, its biggest current problem is that not enough people are listing homes and apartments they own for strangers to hang out in amid a pandemic. Right now, Globe has 5.500 active hosts and 10,000 guests who have access to the hosts’ listings.

But more than 100,000 people are on a wait list to become guests, Mr. Bamfo said, 20,000 of whom joined in the past nine weeks. He said he can’t give them access to listings until he has more available places for people to pay to crash by the hour.

In March, Globe sent him a cleaning supply kit with masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and thermometers for guest to use to show they didn’t have a fever, and Mr. Disu was comfortable enough to list his apartment on the app for two bookings.

But his schedule has been upended. “I’m working from home like everyone else, so the time of me not being at home is very limited,” Mr. Disu said.

Mr. Bamfo is now hoping to attract more people like Matt Earnest, 37, a property manager in the San Francisco Bay Area. He used to use Airbnb and HomeAway to fill the dwellings, but doesn’t want tourists, because of contagion fears.

Local people using the properties for an hour or two seems less risky. “I want to be as responsible as possible,” Mr. Earnest said, “and this has been a useful way to supplement our lost income.”

He had six bookings in April, making $100 to $150 for each after paying professional cleaners. Guests have included a woman whose boyfriend had been laid off — she didn’t feel comfortable making calls to close a big deal in front of him — and a man who wanted a nicer place than his own to conduct a professional Zoom meeting.

“So many people have four or five roommates, and their place is a pigsty with everyone working from home,” Mr. Earnest said.

When another unit in his apartment complex was listed on the Globe app, he booked it right away and headed over for an hour and half of $75 alone time. “I made a couple conference calls and just enjoyed having a little space to myself,” he said. “Being indoors with everyone is a little annoying.”



Source link Nytimes.com

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