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

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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, 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 due 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.
Thank you for your feedback on KOALA. I would like to take this opportunity to address some of your comments.

We launched a new search function last week to make the useability and searchability on KOALA more familiar to a traveler who is not necessarily familiar with timeshare rentals. We’ll be doing another update soon that allows the “best of both” search functions, so we really appreciate all your feedback.

The additional update will display ALL related or suggested listings at the top of the results. This update will make it easy for travelers to locate and book relevant listings The ‘suggested’ feature at the top of search results will highlight owner listings that fall within or near the date ranges that were searched.

With regards to our pricing and transparency on pricing, we disclose any and all mandatory fees that a guest would be responsible for at check-in or check-out on each and every listing and also notify hosts when they list that they must disclose all additional resort charges. This has been readily available in our terms and conditions, KOALA’s FAQ’s and Pricing and Fees page. However, we will review this, given your feedback, and work to be even more transparent with the way we display these fees so there is no confusion.

KOALA recently launched in August of 2020 with the goal of building a modernized timeshare rental marketplace. By creating a secure, transparent, and easy way for timeshare owners to rent to travelers, it is unlocking real control and flexibility —and is delivered in a way that today’s traveler absolutely expects. While we grow the platform we have been focused on supporting a number of popular brands first with a view to expanding and adding new brands/resorts every month. Each and every team member at KOALA is valued and contributing to building a better service for the timeshare community.

Thank you for your valuable input, KOALA is continually being updated based on user feedback and it is very much appreciated.
 

GrayFal

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Going to take a look now. I have a number of La Cabana reservations I rent.
 

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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.
It is probably becuse they call the resort to confirm and the resort doesn’t have that far out in their system.
 

rickandcindy23

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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.
Yes, they do ask for a forwarded copy of your reservation. Some of mine have not gone live quite yet. Redweek was always able to verify my Disney reservations via a phone call. Not sure about Hyatt.
 

GrayFal

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Yes, they do ask for a forwarded copy of your reservation. Some of mine have not gone live quite yet. Redweek was always able to verify my Disney reservations via a phone call. Not sure about Hyatt.
@rickandcindy23 how do you pay only 5% fee. It states 8% on the website. If you could provide a link to where you are seeing 5% I appreciate it.
 

dioxide45

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GrayFal

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I am not sure 5% has ever been mentioned?
Cindy has mentioned it multiple times on this thread
I must be misunderstanding something?

“And that is why I feel compelled to tout this site to all TUG members who rent timeshares. I don't want to put Redweek out of business, but also list with Koala and see what comes through. If it's a $1,000 rental, add $80 to it. I am just adding $50.00 because I use Paypal at 3%”

“ It's still just 5% for me, if I am using Paypal to have them pay me.

It wouldn't hurt to list your weeks and add in that 5-8% and see how that works for you”
 

Sandy VDH

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@rickandcindy23 would use paypal and would have to pay 3%, so if Koala takes 8% that is really 8-3% = 5% more for Cindy, in the normal course of events.

Cindy is just calculating the difference between what she would have paid and what Koala charges.
 
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GrayFal

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@rickandcindy23 would use paypal and would have to pay 3%, so if Koala takes 8% that is really 8-3% = 5% more for Cindy, in the normal coarse of events.

Cindy is just calculating the difference between what she would have paid and what Koala charges.
Gotcha.
 

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We launched a new search function last week to make the useability and searchability on KOALA more familiar to a traveler who is not necessarily familiar with timeshare rentals. We’ll be doing another update soon that allows the “best of both” search functions, so we really appreciate all your feedback.
Is the new search active already?

As an example I searched Cancun in July

1616433476785.png


I get these results

1616433576890.png


When I click on check availability on ANY resort it says "sold out" rather than listing the weeks avaiable

1616437305635.png
 

dioxide45

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DannyTS

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What I am noticing, if there is availability, you won't have the "Check Availability" button. It will show a price instead.
View attachment 33712
The system seems to show the first week available in that situation. To find the other weeks for the same resort you have to jump through the same hoops I described above.

Also, when you are lucky enought to find the correct check in date, the system should automatically fill out the check out date and indicate the the stay is for 7 days only (or whatever the lenght of that reservation is). If you click on any other day, the system currently indicates "sold out" even if they are in green which may lead to frustration.
 

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Based on the majority of posts, I went ahead and listed my Hawaii unit for next February.
My husband is willing to pay a slightly higher commission as long as we don't have to pay upfront to post on their site.

However looking around the site, I see a few things that as a user I find awkward:
1. If I just want to look at the resorts listing, I click "Resorts" link and the search controls show for entering dates & # of guests. Values for these 2 fields are not required, but it's not intuitive. So I entered a location & random dates, and the search results don't find any resort since it's basing query on both location & dates. Makes it look like they don't have many resorts in their stable.

2. on drop down list fields, the list vertical scroll bar doesn't always show, so you might think there are 6-7 choices to chose from while in fact there can be twice as many.
 

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It's still just 5% for me, if I am using Paypal to have them pay me.

It wouldn't hurt to list your weeks and add in that 5-8% and see how that works for you.
I don't understand... how Koala is only going to charge you 5%, if you will let renter pay by PayPal,? How is Koala going to get their $ from you if not from what is collected from the renter?
Do they give you different payment options after they've verified your listings? Thx.
 

dioxide45

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I don't understand... how Koala is only going to charge you 5%, if you will let renter pay by PayPal,? How is Koala going to get their $ from you if not from what is collected from the renter?
Do they give you different payment options after they've verified your listings? Thx.
Cindy was comparing the 8% fee that KOALA charges to renting on her own and collecting the payment via Paypal. Paypal charges a 3% fee. She wouldn't be renting through KOALA and using Paypal. The difference in fees she would pay by using KOALA is only 5% because PayPal would take 3% if she rented on her own.

Also need to consider fees associated with up front fee listings, like Redweek. If you have a $2000 rental, KOALA is going to keep $160 commission. If you rent on your own through Redweek (DIY), you will pay $30 + $19 (annual membership) + $60 (Paypal fee). So you are paying $11. KOALA is only costing you $50 more.
 

rickandcindy23

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Cindy was comparing the 8% fee that KOALA charges to renting on her own and collecting the payment via Paypal. Paypal charges a 3% fee. She wouldn't be renting through KOALA and using Paypal. The difference in fees she would pay by using KOALA is only 5% because PayPal would take 3% if she rented on her own.

Also need to consider fees associated with up front fee listings, like Redweek. If you have a $2000 rental, KOALA is going to keep $160 commission. If you rent on your own through Redweek (DIY), you will pay $30 + $19 (annual membership) + $60 (Paypal fee). So you are paying $11. KOALA is only costing you $50 more.
Exactly. I thought I explained it pretty well, but you did a better job, apparently.

I have 8 listings on Koala and have my fingers crossed. Even my Little Sweden listings have now posted live. I hope to get these rented before 31 days, when I have to cancel most of them.
 

rickandcindy23

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We really need to provide feedback for the website. I see a lot of problems with searching as a prospective renter. When you go to Destinations, you should see something more than boxes with destinations in them. Maybe those are suggestions, but I think you should be able to type in a destination.

I always thought VRBO was very hard to navigate. Even though some of you say Redweek is old, the site is easier to maneuver quickly to where you want to be. I think a list of resorts available in the area you look for is much better than a bunch of Wyndhams showing up. For example, do a search for Myrtle Beach and you get pages of options, with Wyndham resorts being the first ones. I was looking specifically for Marriott. If I was a prospective renter, I would want to see a list of brand names in alphabetical order, then the various resorts under that brand name. I know there is a way to filter, but you don't know what you don't know.

Take Hilton Head as another example. Hilton Head is a major player in Hilton Head. There are lots of resorts in the area, but Marriott would be my first choice, if I can get it.
 

NiteMaire

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I think you should be able to type in a destination.
You can do that on the landing page (and leave dates and guests blank). I agree with you, however, that there should be an input field on the "Destination" page as well...maybe even leave off the input fields for dates/guests since the main point is to see any/all destinations available. Oddly enough, those options exist when you get to the "Resorts" page.
We really need to provide feedback for the website.
Hopefully @KCO is continuing to monitor this thread for input.

ETA: This morning, I received an email from Koala informing me of a potential rental opportunity. Here's the text:
"As a part of our KOALA community, we wanted to offer our Vistana hosts a chance to fulfill a booking request we have received. The details are below. If you're interested just respond to this email with your lowest price, not exceeding $1100, and we will contact the owner with the most competitive rate! In addition, if this request is not of interest to you, but you'd like to be included or removed from future requests, just respond letting me know your preference.

Sheraton Vistana Resort, Lake Buena Vista
2 Bedroom Villa
Jun 30 - Jul 6
16 Day Cancellation"

I really like this idea. You see the requested resort, dates, unit size, price ceiling, and cancellation terms of a potential renter.
 
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rickandcindy23

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$1,100 for a week seems very low to me for a 2 bed at Vistana.
 

rickandcindy23

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All of my listings are live. The more I try using the site as a "renter," the more positive changes I am seeing, but I think if a person can type in a destination, even a broad destination, there should be a list of resorts in alphabetical order or something, and then inventory would be easier to navigate. I am not liking all of the Wyndhams that show in a search for Myrtle Beach.
 

dioxide45

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All of my listings are live. The more I try using the site as a "renter," the more positive changes I am seeing, but I think if a person can type in a destination, even a broad destination, there should be a list of resorts in alphabetical order or something, and then inventory would be easier to navigate. I am not liking all of the Wyndhams that show in a search for Myrtle Beach.
The site does appear to be very Wyndham heavy. I think this is because VIP owners are able to book with VIP discounts and rent cheap. They also have flexible cancellation policies with Wyndham to cancel and get their points back if they can't rent the booking. Wyndham still seems to be the one megarenter meca where that may not exist a lot in other system. It may only take a few big VIP owners who are renting to produce a lot of listings. KOALA really needs to find ways to pull in owners of other brands and this thread seems to be helping to bring in some other listings.
 

rickandcindy23

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The site does appear to be very Wyndham heavy. I think this is because VIP owners are able to book with VIP discounts and rent cheap. They also have flexible cancellation policies with Wyndham to cancel and get their points back if they can't rent the booking. Wyndham still seems to be the one megarenter meca where that may not exist a lot in other system. It may only take a few big VIP owners who are renting to produce a lot of listings. KOALA really needs to find ways to pull in owners of other brands and this thread seems to be helping to bring in some other listings.
I see a big problem with Wyndham renters taking over the site completely. Redweek has an easier search capability to keep a person from seeing all of the Wyndhams, if they want to skip them over. You should not have to know the name of the resort to be able to see the inventory for that resort.

This is such a needed site for us as timeshare owners. We need to help Koala be as big as VRBO, but specifically timeshares. Let's face it, we cannot compete with homes that have a private pool and six bedrooms that sleep up to 20 people for $250 per night.

Timeshares have more amenities and are in ideal locations, and many have security gates to keep crime to a minimum.

I have been contacted to give feedback about the site. What issues should I tell them about?
 

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Unfortunately TS rental appears to be a very complex proposition to be scalable.

1: Tons of resorts: e.g. lots of data points (amenities, fees, restrictions and so on).
2: Privately owned weeks / points that need to be allocated / reserved and then confirmed (e.g. very hard to automate and large players likely have no incentive to support this: e.g. the manual work needs to be done offshore to offset the cost and retain earnings).
3: TS week start + end + size are very specific to the concept and not fluid like AirBnB / hotels.
4: How to determine a good price / deal is also very hard / subjective compared to big / deep historical data sets available to Expedia / Google and the like.

Noble effort but very challenging as a sustainable business model IMO.

Startups that work out are scalable / repetitive with tons of automation and big data sets. Hard to see a ROI to build the same with something so fragmented and restrictive like TS'. IMO.

To drive traffic you need inventory. For inventory you need renters. So a traditional catch 22.

Of course a TS is an asset than can be activated to generate income (like a car with Uber / property with AirBnB) but how do you get momentum?

Another challenge: many TS owners, for various reasons, may not be inclined to proactively seek this opportunity. But without that there is no supply to grow demand.
 

rickandcindy23

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Redweek cannot be the only site for timeshare rentals.

I don't think VRBO or AirBnB are easy to navigate, and there are many dates that I would want that aren't there.

Timeshares have so much to offer to renters: a hotel-luxury experience with a unit that fits families better.
 

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Hopefully @KCO is continuing to monitor this thread for input.

ETA: This morning, I received an email from Koala informing me of a potential rental opportunity. Here's the text:
"As a part of our KOALA community, we wanted to offer our Vistana hosts a chance to fulfill a booking request we have received. The details are below. If you're interested just respond to this email with your lowest price, not exceeding $1100, and we will contact the owner with the most competitive rate! In addition, if this request is not of interest to you, but you'd like to be included or removed from future requests, just respond letting me know your preference.

Sheraton Vistana Resort, Lake Buena Vista
2 Bedroom Villa
Jun 30 - Jul 6
16 Day Cancellation"

I really like this idea. You see the requested resort, dates, unit size, price ceiling, and cancellation terms of a potential renter.
I like it as well. I received a phone call asking me about booking Marriott units.
I would prefer an email.
 
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