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Koala fills a niche that others may not see quite yet, but I see it as a great alternative

rickandcindy23

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The fact that this is the ONLY way to see dates available, other than to click on each individual listing, is a big flaw in my view. I don't find it particularly user friendly.

I spent some time perusing around after this thread....I had looked at the site briefly before, but the high commission fee had put me off. I am still not convinced.

It's certainly more "fresh" looking than Redweek but I feel like the approach is fundamentally flawed. Timeshare's are rented "weeks" at a time. While the proliferation of points systems makes it possible to to reserve (and thus rent) shorter stays, the effort required doesn't make it worthwhile. In addition, the additional it's harder to amortize the cost of things like guest certificates across short reservations and still garner a decent profit (or even just cover your maintenance fees). With that in mind, I don't understand why they've spent the effort on a booking engine that mimics something like Expedia or Orbitz. I think something with a list view makes more sense.

They also have conflicting information on their site - in some places they confirm to renters that the rental "prices you see on Koala include all taxes and fees, including resort fees. Nothing hidden, no surprises." Yet then (as to be expected) on certain bookings they indicate additional fees will be do on-site and collected by the resort. I think it could be a bit confusing to renters....

Finally, they appear to have been operating for three years, but the number of resorts in their directory and the number of listings is quite paltry....and they've got what appears to be a pretty big staff of people. I'm not sure how it all computes. Are they just surviving off investor seed money?

I may post a week or two just to see how it pans out, but by the time I add in the costs of additional commission they charge, I'm not sure my rental prices will be competitive.
TAT fees are mandatory and need to be disclosed to a renter. Also, Shell charges housekeeping fees at the end of the rental. I had to disclose those. There is nothing I can do about those. I cannot add them to the amount collected and then pay them myself. Parking fees are charged at Waikiki Beach Walk and other resorts in Waikiki Beach. There is no getting around it, and if you don't disclose, someone will pay, and it will be the owners through Koala. I get so many free housekeeping credits with Shell and have no idea which they will charge and which they will not charge. It's an unknown. So I disclose them on every ad I do on Redweek.

I hope they make the website more user-friendly for the renter. It's easy to add listings, but I agree that finding a resort should bring up a list of what's available based on date. Seems like a good suggestion for the web designer.
 

dioxide45

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Finally, they appear to have been operating for three years, but the number of resorts in their directory and the number of listings is quite paltry....and they've got what appears to be a pretty big staff of people. I'm not sure how it all computes. Are they just surviving off investor seed money?

I may post a week or two just to see how it pans out, but by the time I add in the costs of additional commission they charge, I'm not sure my rental prices will be competitive.
Are people looking to be competitive against places like Redweek or TUG Marketplace, or competitive against other services like hotel booking websites, AirBNB or VRBO? I think that is the difference. They have a potentially larger market to rent to vs Redweek since Redweek has a pesky cost of entry (membership fee). Comparing to renting on TUG is completely different since you are renting directly from an owner there with no guarantee of verification like KOALA. Aslo once a renter has paid their money (usually Payal Zelle, check or some other non refundable method), the money is gone. People may be willing to pay more for a verified seller vs some of the other options. I think the target market is somewhat different and potentially larger.

More options to rent out your weeks are better and one with no upfront fees is certain something that is a good thing. Build your added costs (commission) into the sales price and see how it works out. Right now may not be the best gauge since they are still being discovered.

I am also not sure that they have been operating for three years. Yes, their web address was registered in 2017. Websites are often registered just from the thought of a business idea and long before any execution. From what I understand they have only been renting weeks since around first quarter 2020, and we know how 2020 went...
 
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ocdb8r

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Are people looking to be competitive against places like Redweek or TUG Marketplace, or competitive against other services like hotel booking websites, AirBNB or VRBO? I think that is the difference.
This is my point though - you can't replicate those sites just because you think that's who you're competing against. They're not selling the same product as any of these - Timeshares don't lend themselves to the same per night or check-in date flexibility that hotels or even AirBnB/VRBO do (at least for "renting"). So why structure the site in a way that tries to pander to those sorts of searches? Like I said, I like that the website itself is certainly more "fresh" than some other options, but I just question some of their core approach. I've listed the two rental weeks I have for this year and will see how it goes.

I am also not sure that they have been operating for three years. Yes, their web address was registered in 2017. Websites are often registered just from the thought of a business idea and long before any execution. From what I understand they have only been renting weeks since around first quarter 2020, and we know how 2020 went...
I wasn't saying this based on their website registration date, but rather the dates from the profiles of their staff and when they started working for "Koala". Even if they haven't been up and running for 3 years, they appear to have been developing the site for that long.
 

vol_90

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This thread has convinced me to establish an account with Koala and add my Redweek open postings (2 2021 & 4 2022) in an effort to expand my reach. At no cost to post you really can't go wrong. I would expect most timeshare renters to know of Redweek when looking at Koala and likely do comparisons. If they do this it can put Koala at a disadvantage for high $ rentals if the 8% is factored in to come up with what you want to come away with after fees. Example, a Marriott Crystal Shores 3BD prime week posting is $350 higher for me on Koala than Redweek in order to net the same after fees.

I like Koala's ability to expand visibility of my weeks at no cost.

Redweek as been good to me in 2021 with 15 of 16 properties rented before the posting expired. The one that did not rent cost me $59.99 for the full service posting. Of the 15 rentals I received queries to lower the price on 4 of them. Only 1 did I accept a price lower than advertised ($3,500 vs. $3,750). Just managing excess MVCI points for now.

Good luck to all!
 
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The Colorado Kid

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This thread has convinced me to establish an account with Koala and add my Redweek open postings (2 2021 & 4 2022) in an effort to expand my reach. At no cost to post you really can't go wrong. I would expect most timeshare renters to know of Redweek when looking at Koala and likely do comparisons. If they do this it can put Koala at a disadvantage for high $ rentals if the 8% is factored in to come up with what you want to come away with after fees. Example, a Marriott Crystal Shores 3BD prime week posting is $350 higher for me on Koala than Redweek in order to net the same after fees.

I like Koala's ability to expand visibility of my weeks at no cost.

Redweek as been good to me in 2021 with 15 of 16 properties rented before the posting expired. The one that did not rent cost me $59.99 for the full service posting. Of the 15 rentals I received queries to lower the price on 4 of them. Only 1 did I accept a price lower than advertised ($3,500 vs. $3,750). Just managing excess MVCI points for now.

Good luck to all!
Thanks for sharing specifics! Wow great results on RedWeek....I hope to emulate your success this year and also did post all my rentals on Koala as well for the same reasons you outlined.

I primarily have holiday or event weeks for rent. 4th of July / Christmas / Sundance Film Festival / Coachella - hoping that in 2022 the events are back in some form of normalcy.
 

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I have about twenty listings on Koala right now. That includes two that have been there for a month or so but haven't gone live because they are either unaffiliated or small, or both (Quarter House and Pine Acres Lodge).

Most of my activity on Koala has been posting new listings and canceling old ones. I had one rental that was actually initiated by Koala. They had a client who wanted something and Koala asked me if I would book it. I had one legitimate rental that has been paid and I have another one in progress. I don't know how many listings I've put on Koala. It's probably in the 75-80 range.

After a couple of months of inactivity, I expressed my dismay and said I was going to stop listing. The CEO sent me an email asking me to hang with them for a while as they were getting started. I was pretty impressed with that so I said I would.
 

rickandcindy23

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I am going to try some DVC rentals and see how they work out. I have studios for Food and Wine already booked. I usually get those rented pretty easily just by word of mouth.
 

rickandcindy23

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I would like to see an addition of timeshare weeks for sale on Koala at some point. If they could do the closing through LTtransfers.com, use that one for the sales, that would be great.
 

dioxide45

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I would like to see an addition of timeshare weeks for sale on Koala at some point. If they could do the closing through LTtransfers.com, use that one for the sales, that would be great.
Perhaps it is about a jack of all trades vs a master of none. Concentrating on a specific market can be better than trying to tarket too many.
 

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I also do not understand who they are tageting. If you read their home page, because the way it is structured they seem to focus on cheap rather than on quality and that is not good for the higher end resorts. Personally I would focus on brands, quality and leave value last. Vistana should not be there, it is irrelevant for renters, Westin and Sheraton are the recognizable brands.


1615833865520.png
 

rickandcindy23

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I also do not understand who they are tageting. If you read their home page, because the way it is structured they seem to focus on cheap rather than on quality and that is not good for the higher end resorts. Personally I would focus on brands, quality and leave value last. Vistana should not be there, it is irrelevant for renters, Westin and Sheraton are the recognizable brands.


View attachment 33441
I am going to make that suggestion. People do not know Vistana but do know Sheraton and Westin. You are right on that one.

Koala came to TUG about a year ago, maybe a little less than a year ago, and asked what we would like to see in a timeshare rental site. I found some of the comments rather rude. I wondered why people would be so negative, especially after Redweek's decision to refund renters at the expense of owners. I kind of understand that some resorts were closed, so I could see both sides, but people here on TUG were angry.

I like the cancellation policy of Koala and the lack of interaction with the renters. I just hope they don't take ridiculous complaints seriously. We had a lady who cancelled her SBP for roaches. She complained and moved to another unit, then she kept on complaining. She kept talking about being a American Express Starwood credit card holder and how she should have better service. This is a timeshare that I own, so I don't know why she would think she should get special treatment.

I got nothing back for that week but she got a refund because she was rude and decided to go to a hotel room. She had a 2 bedroom. I don't understand her complaints at all. When there is a downpour, there is nothing a resort can do about bugs. Myrtle Beach has bugs. No one else complained. Some people just complain, and there is nothing you can do to appease them. Renting is a PIA. Just sayin'.
 

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I am going to make that suggestion. People do not know Vistana but do know Sheraton and Westin. You are right on that one.

Koala came to TUG about a year ago, maybe a little less than a year ago, and asked what we would like to see in a timeshare rental site. I found some of the comments rather rude. I wondered why people would be so negative, especially after Redweek's decision to refund renters at the expense of owners. I kind of understand that some resorts were closed, so I could see both sides, but people here on TUG were angry.

I like the cancellation policy of Koala and the lack of interaction with the renters. I just hope they don't take ridiculous complaints seriously. We had a lady who cancelled her SBP for roaches. She complained and moved to another unit, then she kept on complaining. She kept talking about being a American Express Starwood credit card holder and how she should have better service. This is a timeshare that I own, so I don't know why she would think she should get special treatment.

I got nothing back for that week but she got a refund because she was rude and decided to go to a hotel room. She had a 2 bedroom. I don't understand her complaints at all. When there is a downpour, there is nothing a resort can do about bugs. Myrtle Beach has bugs. No one else complained. Some people just complain, and there is nothing you can do to appease them. Renting is a PIA. Just sayin'.
I would love to see Koala succeed. Redweek should understand the market well but it is not well designed. I have not seen one improvement in the last 3 years and I hope Koala will not go the same route.
 

NiteMaire

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Koala came to TUG about a year ago, maybe a little less than a year ago, and asked what we would like to see in a timeshare rental site.
Thanks for bringing them up again. I looked at the website back then, but didn't try to rent anything. Based on your thread, I went to the website to add a few units for rent. Some were in the database, but one was not. For the one not in the database it was easy enough to "suggest" adding it. However, I have a 4BR LO and I didn't know if I should suggest that or the 2BR, so I called. The CSR mentioned I should add what I'm looking to rent so I added the 2BR. I'm now waiting on the resort being added.

I let her know they were being discussed on TUG and she mentioned they were on TUG. They've received plenty of feedback and are implementing changes. One of the potential issues I had with adding my unit is that it asks for a unit number on the deed. I noticed that when you list your unit as a float week, it asks for reservation number; however, when listed as a fixed week, it asks for unit number. While they can verify that, the unit assigned floats when making the reservation. I don't know if this will affect the verification (if they do one).

I also do not understand who they are tageting.
While this doesn't directly answer the question, here's what I received from them regarding "partner brands" when I submitted the request to add my Vacation Village unit.
----------------------------------
Thanks for suggesting that we add your resort or unit type to the KOALA database. We’ve received an overwhelming number of suggestions, and are considering them on a case-by-case basis.

If your suggestion is included in one of our partner brands, listed below, we should be able to add it shortly:
  • Club Wyndham (Including Worldmark by Wyndham)
  • Vistana Signature Experiences (Westin Vacation Club & Sheraton Vacation Club)
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Hilton Grand Vacations
  • Disney Vacation Club
  • Hyatt Residence Club
  • Ritz-Carlton Club
  • Diamond Resorts International
  • Vidanta
Rest assured that if your suggestion does not belong to one of the above brands, it has been added to the waitlist.
----------------------------------

My presumption is those are the targeted resort systems.
 

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Thanks for bringing them up again. I looked at the website back then, but didn't try to rent anything. Based on your thread, I went to the website to add a few units for rent. Some were in the database, but one was not. For the one not in the database it was easy enough to "suggest" adding it. However, I have a 4BR LO and I didn't know if I should suggest that or the 2BR, so I called. The CSR mentioned I should add what I'm looking to rent so I added the 2BR. I'm now waiting on the resort being added.

I let her know they were being discussed on TUG and she mentioned they were on TUG. They've received plenty of feedback and are implementing changes. One of the potential issues I had with adding my unit is that it asks for a unit number on the deed. I noticed that when you list your unit as a float week, it asks for reservation number; however, when listed as a fixed week, it asks for unit number. While they can verify that, the unit assigned floats when making the reservation. I don't know if this will affect the verification (if they do one).


While this doesn't directly answer the question, here's what I received from them regarding "partner brands" when I submitted the request to add my Vacation Village unit.
----------------------------------
Thanks for suggesting that we add your resort or unit type to the KOALA database. We’ve received an overwhelming number of suggestions, and are considering them on a case-by-case basis.

If your suggestion is included in one of our partner brands, listed below, we should be able to add it shortly:
  • Club Wyndham (Including Worldmark by Wyndham)
  • Vistana Signature Experiences (Westin Vacation Club & Sheraton Vacation Club)
  • Marriott Vacation Club
  • Hilton Grand Vacations
  • Disney Vacation Club
  • Hyatt Residence Club
  • Ritz-Carlton Club
  • Diamond Resorts International
  • Vidanta
Rest assured that if your suggestion does not belong to one of the above brands, it has been added to the waitlist.
----------------------------------

My presumption is those are the targeted resort systems.
I was asking more about who the target renters are. IMO the brand names should be the focus of the website rather than media organizations and the best deals at the best resorts should also be prominent on the home page. I am not sure how many potential renters would be impressed with Summer Bay Orlando or Swallawtail at Sea Pines (I hope I am not offending any Tugger that may be renting those.)
 
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dioxide45

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I was asking more about who the target renters are. IMO the brand names should be the focus of the website rather than media organizations and the best deals at the best resorts should also be prominent on the home page. I am not sure how many potential renters would be impressed with Summer Bay Orlando or Swallawtail at Sea Pines (I hope I am not offending any Tugger that may be renting those.
Common! Swallawtail at Sea Pine used to be a Marriott!
 

dioxide45

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I let her know they were being discussed on TUG and she mentioned they were on TUG. They've received plenty of feedback and are implementing changes. One of the potential issues I had with adding my unit is that it asks for a unit number on the deed. I noticed that when you list your unit as a float week, it asks for reservation number; however, when listed as a fixed week, it asks for unit number. While they can verify that, the unit assigned floats when making the reservation. I don't know if this will affect the verification (if they do one).
I know some people with fixed week/unit still get a reservation number. I am pretty sure this is how Marriott does it for their fixed weeks. They still make a reservation and assign a reservation number. Perhaps for fixed weeks the system should ask if you have a reservation number and if you don't then require the week/unit number?
 

NiteMaire

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I know some people with fixed week/unit still get a reservation number. I am pretty sure this is how Marriott does it for their fixed weeks. They still make a reservation and assign a reservation number. Perhaps for fixed weeks the system should ask if you have a reservation number and if you don't then require the week/unit number?
Agree completely. When I confirm my Colonies week, I get a reservation (number) with the unit assigned. The unit assigned typically varies from the unit on the deed.
 

rickandcindy23

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I just added a couple of listings. I booked a few five-night stays at Disney's Old Key West in a studio. That resort is not even on the site yet. That surprises me. I understand some odd place like Val Chatelle not being on the site, but not Disney. All Disney resorts should already be in their directory.

I think we could teach Koala a lot about timeshare.
 

dioxide45

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I just added a couple of listings. I booked a few five-night stays at Disney's Old Key West in a studio. That resort is not even on the site yet. That surprises me. I understand some odd place like Val Chatelle not being on the site, but not Disney. All Disney resorts should already be in their directory.

I think we could teach Koala a lot about timeshare.
From what I understand, they don't add resorts until an owner requests to list a reservation. It takes a lot of effort and time to build out these resorts with resort details, different units and adding photos. To do that for a resort that they may not get a listing for several months may not be the best use of limited resources.

Have they added the other resort that you indicated you had requested to have added but it wasn't completed yet and it had already been a couple of days?
 

rickandcindy23

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This thread has convinced me to establish an account with Koala and add my Redweek open postings (2 2021 & 4 2022) in an effort to expand my reach. At no cost to post you really can't go wrong. I would expect most timeshare renters to know of Redweek when looking at Koala and likely do comparisons. If they do this it can put Koala at a disadvantage for high $ rentals if the 8% is factored in to come up with what you want to come away with after fees. Example, a Marriott Crystal Shores 3BD prime week posting is $350 higher for me on Koala than Redweek in order to net the same after fees.

I like Koala's ability to expand visibility of my weeks at no cost.

Redweek as been good to me in 2021 with 15 of 16 properties rented before the posting expired. The one that did not rent cost me $59.99 for the full service posting. Of the 15 rentals I received queries to lower the price on 4 of them. Only 1 did I accept a price lower than advertised ($3,500 vs. $3,750). Just managing excess MVCI points for now.

Good luck to all!
Renters on Redweek pay a fee, too, to rent a verified week. If you have your listings as verified through RW, there are costs on top of the rental for the renter. Redweek makes money on both sides. So I don't know what the difference would be in actual cost to the owners. I don't rent anything from Redweek, but I have been very successful at renting my owned weeks through RW. I just want to give this a try and see if we cannot boomerang Koala into a viable rental option for us.

I am not going to say anything negative about RW, they have been very good to me. My Resort Network used to be great for me as well. I wonder how MRN lost its presence on the internet.
 

rickandcindy23

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Some of my listings have gone live. As I continue to add listings, I am reminded at what a big loss last year was for rentals with Covid-19 keeping us all home. I cannot believe I have this many points to use in Shell and WorldMark and Wyndham.
 

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Some of my listings have gone live. As I continue to add listings, I am reminded at what a big loss last year was for rentals with Covid-19 keeping us all home. I cannot believe I have this many points to use in Shell and WorldMark and Wyndham.
Cindy, I listed four and only my two Marriott listings have gone live. My DVC and Hyatt are still “pending” after over a week. Have your DVC listings gone live? I don’t think DVC or Hyatt will confirm reservations to third parties, so I see a problem in their model. Easy work around by asking for a copy of the reservation but so far I wonder if Koala has a plan for these systems.
 

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6,411
Points
899
Location
NE Florida
Resorts Owned
Marriott's Grande Vista
Marriott's Harbour Lake
SVV - Bella
SVV - Key West
Cindy, I listed four and only my two Marriott listings have gone live. My DVC and Hyatt are still “pending” after over a week. Have your DVC listings gone live? I don’t think DVC or Hyatt will confirm reservations to third parties, so I see a problem in their model. Easy work around by asking for a copy of the reservation but so far I wonder if Koala has a plan for these systems.
Perhaps even making it possible to upload a copy of it during the listing process. One concern is that electronic copies can be manipulated.
 

vol_90

TUG Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2018
Messages
299
Reaction score
330
Points
124
Resorts Owned
Marriott Phuket Beach Club, Aruba Surf Club, Canyon Villas, Desert Springs Villas II, DP & AP Points
Koala still working out the kinks.

On Monday March 15th I added 6 listings to the website. 5 of the 6 were verified and active within 24 hours. 1 was in pending status as of yesterday so I clicked on the chat icon in the lower right hand corner of the screen. Within 30 seconds I had someone willing to help. They requested I forward a copy of the reservation to hello@go-koala.com which I did. The reservation was verified and live within 20 minutes.

The e-mail and chat explanation was that my reservation was unable to verify because it was too far our out. The reservation in question was for May 27th - June 3rd, 2021. What didn't make sense is one of the 5 initially verified was for January 14th - January 21st, 2022 at the same resort.

I'll cut them some slack and hopefully they can grow their user base quickly.
 

The Colorado Kid

TUG Member
Joined
Jul 25, 2020
Messages
288
Reaction score
100
Points
93
Resorts Owned
Westin Riverfront
Christie Lodge
Apollo Park
Grand Timber Lodge
Indian Palms
Massanutten
Park Regency
Valdoro Mountain Lodge
Marriott Surfwatch
Koala still working out the kinks.

On Monday March 15th I added 6 listings to the website. 5 of the 6 were verified and active within 24 hours. 1 was in pending status as of yesterday so I clicked on the chat icon in the lower right hand corner of the screen. Within 30 seconds I had someone willing to help. They requested I forward a copy of the reservation to hello@go-koala.com which I did. The reservation was verified and live within 20 minutes.

The e-mail and chat explanation was that my reservation was unable to verify because it was too far our out. The reservation in question was for May 27th - June 3rd, 2021. What didn't make sense is one of the 5 initially verified was for January 14th - January 21st, 2022 at the same resort.

I'll cut them some slack and hopefully they can grow their user base quickly.
Very strange on them saying the dates were too far out. I have a listing on Koala as you do for Jan 2022. Glad to hear that they are more responsive...delays in the past for replies and posting listings for me have been the norm and not the best experience.
 
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