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

BingoBangoBongo

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Got it. Either way, I am not sure that means a flawed business model but rather work on execution is needed. The business model is the ability to rent timeshare weeks in a similar way that you can rent a home on VRBO or AirBnB. The trouble with search functionality doesn't necessarily mean the business model is flawed. It's a young company and they are working to make improvements and seeking input from users. That is a good thing.
The searches I've done seem to have a very low level of inventory, which really isn't a surprise. If I pick a particular property that I would like to stay it with no dates entered it brings up a list of room types that I then have to click through to see what dates are available, which in some cases in none. When I've input the same area with dates, I get a list of resorts with a Check Availability option and then get a Sold Out result by clicking on that link in many cases. I just ran a similar search on Tripadvisor for the same time period and came up with a bunch of options that were bookable immediately. It's great that they are seeking input from users, but the bottom line is still need inventory.
 

heathpack

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Disney’s Grand Californian and Hilton Head Island
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Sheraton Broadway Plantation
The searches I've done seem to have a very low level of inventory, which really isn't a surprise. If I pick a particular property that I would like to stay it with no dates entered it brings up a list of room types that I then have to click through to see what dates are available, which in some cases in none. When I've input the same area with dates, I get a list of resorts with a Check Availability option and then get a Sold Out result by clicking on that link in many cases. I just ran a similar search on Tripadvisor for the same time period and came up with a bunch of options that were bookable immediately. It's great that they are seeking input from users, but the bottom line is still need inventory.
And they need non-tedious, intuitive ways to search.

I just went online to check. I searched Hilton Head, no dates. I found Barony Beach resort. Clicked on that. It says SOLD OUT. Yet I personally have a Barony Beach listing that is active. No prospective renter has a hope of finding my listing.

Any the renter may just want to go to Hilton Head. They should be able to search Hilton Head and retrieve all the active listings. Not a map in which they have to click on various properties only to find out there’s nothing available at that resort. Once you understand that map displays the Price if there is a listing, but a House icon if there’s not, you don’t necessarily need to click through every House icon. But that’s not intuitive IMO and many renters would just wander off after getting the vibe that there’s not much avail.
 

The Colorado Kid

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And they need non-tedious, intuitive ways to search.

I just went online to check. I searched Hilton Head, no dates. I found Barony Beach resort. Clicked on that. It says SOLD OUT. Yet I personally have a Barony Beach listing that is active. No prospective renter has a hope of finding my listing.

Any the renter may just want to go to Hilton Head. They should be able to search Hilton Head and retrieve all the active listings. Not a map in which they have to click on various properties only to find out there’s nothing available at that resort. Once you understand that map displays the Price if there is a listing, but a House icon if there’s not, you don’t necessarily need to click through every House icon. But that’s not intuitive IMO and many renters would just wander off after getting the vibe that there’s not much avail.
Ugh that is the worst
 

heathpack

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Marriott Barony Beach and Mountainside
Sheraton Broadway Plantation
Yeah the site is super super non useful. I searched Hilton Head. Found Barony Beach. Clicked on Barony Beach and it said SOLD OUT. Then I clicked on RESORT WEBPAGE and found four active listings. Not much chance a renter is going to find my listing.
 

The Colorado Kid

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Indian Palms
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Marriott Surfwatch
I did also find there is a Koala Timeshare Owners Facebook page - could be a good place to ask all these questions....like the known missing Barony listing during the supposedly enhanced search functionality. Timeshare Owners Group by KOALA on FB 122 Members so far
 

heathpack

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Sheraton Broadway Plantation
Ugh so non intuitive.

Search Hilton Head. Get a map with icons for various resorts. Click on resort. IF your unit is the first iteration of whatever variations they have in their database (in this example, 2BR oceanfront), then a price is displayed if a listing is available or CHECK AVAILABILITY is displayed if no listing is available. If your unit is the second, third or fourth iteration (in this case 2BR Oceanside, 2BR Courtyard- which I don’t even think is a view designation at this resort, or 2BR Gardenview), then you see the CHECK AVAILABILITY from the first iteration (if no listings are available), then you click on that to see SOLD OUT, and you’d have no obvious way to realize other iterations of units are available at this resort. You’d have to notice an arrow to the right of the displayed photo and start scrolling through identical pics which each are a placeholder for the various view designations. The non available view categories are all designated as CHECK AVAILABILITY. The available ones list a price, but they may be buried under many many clicks to discover this. And of course the renter may not be familiar enough with the resort to be aware of all the view designations which would prompt further clicking. And they may just want to go to Hilton Head, not Barony. This site is REALLY making prospective renters work hard to find listings. Probably 10-20x harder than people are interested in working.
 
Last edited:

dioxide45

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Ugh so non intuitive.

Search Hilton Head. Get a map with icons for various resorts. Click on resort. IF your unit is the first iteration of whatever variations they have in their database (in this example, 2BR oceanfront), then a price is displayed if a listing is available or CHECK AVAILABILITY is displayed if no listing is available. If your unit is the second, third or fourth iteration (in this case 2BR Oceanside, 2BR Courtyard- which I don’t even think is a view designation at this resort, or 2BR Gardenview), then you see the CHECK AVAILABILITY from the first iteration (if no listings are available), then you click on that to see SOLD OUT, and you’d have no obvious way to realize other iterations of units are available at this resort. You’d have to notice an arrow to the right of the displayed photo and start scrolling through identical pics which each are a placeholder for the various view designations. The non available view categories are all designated as CHECK AVAILABILITY. The available ones list a price, but they may be buried under many many clicks to discover this. And of course the renter may not be familiar enough with the resort to be aware of all the view designations which would prompt further clicking. And they may just want to go to Hilton Head, not Barony. This site is REALLY making prospective renters work hard to find listings. Probably 10-20x harder than people are interested in working.
From what I understand, anything that is available shows up at the very top, above all those with CHECK AVAILABILITY. So if that is all you see, then there isn't any availability for the dates selected. Something else to note is that the dates you are using, it is looking for the exact same checkin and checkout dates to be available. IT IS NOT a date range to find availability between two dates. I would suggest that there should be some type of toggle where you can search for exact checkin/checkout dates or search by a date range. I also suggest that when you click on a resort on the map, the availability of that resort should show up on the left hand side and not just a popup to show the very first available room for the resort that matches the search criteria.
 

heathpack

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Sheraton Broadway Plantation
From what I understand, anything that is available shows up at the very top, above all those with CHECK AVAILABILITY. So if that is all you see, then there isn't any availability for the dates selected. Something else to note is that the dates you are using, it is looking for the exact same checkin and checkout dates to be available. IT IS NOT a date range to find availability between two dates. I would suggest that there should be some type of toggle where you can search for exact checkin/checkout dates or search by a date range. I also suggest that when you click on a resort on the map, the availability of that resort should show up on the left hand side and not just a popup to show the very first available room for the resort that matches the search criteria.
When I search HILTON HEAD, no dates, I get a map displayed.

Next step, click on icon at specific location you want to stay. Once you do that, you discover the icon represents Barony.

Next step, you click on the picture that pops up representing Barony. You have to notice that this icon specifically represents 2BR oceanfront units ONLY.

At that point, you either see CHECK AVAILABILITY (which means there’s no listings) or a price (which would take you to an active listing).

If you click CHECK AVAILABILITY it displays SOLD OUT. No indication that there are other view types with active listings.

If you then click on RESORT PAGE (there would be no reason to do this, you’d just think the resort was SOLD OUT, I just did it because I was trying to figure out where my active listing is). Once you go to the resort page, you will see other available listings.

You might be searching using the list feature to display available resorts rather than the map feature. I haven’t tried that. But if I search VRBO or AirBnB, I always search via the map feature. I’m searching using the approach I’d personally use for this type of search. I do it this way because I’m immediately going to exclude many listings based on location if I know where I want to stay at the location.

For a VRBO search, for example, I might know I want to go to Sedona and stay in a pet friendly unit that sleeps at least 2, but I am flexible at to exactly when I go. I can enter that search with no dates, see what is in their inventory, and what’s available close to trailheads I want to use. Then I can check the availability calendar for the desired property and see if any of the dates work. THATS a useful search method.
 

dioxide45

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This is something new. I am seeing a new "Stays" menu option at the top that seems to list out available inventory. the search function on that page seems to return inventory in that same list form and one can search by months instead of checkin/checkout date.
 

heathpack

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Sheraton Broadway Plantation
This is something new. I am seeing a new "Stays" menu option at the top that seems to list out available inventory. the search function on that page seems to return inventory in that same list form and one can search by months instead of checkin/checkout date.
I think the reality is that your average user is going to search from the search feature that’s prominently displayed on their landing page.

Like everyone else, I’d love for Koala to be a success.

But like one of the previous posters, I really wonder if this business will succeed. The search feature is absolutely fundamental to success for an endeavor like this. This search feature is so difficult to use that you have to wonder if the owners of the site really “get” the gist of their own business. I’m not trying to be mean and genuinely want Koala to succeed. It’s just hard for me to see that they understand how their customers will approach looking for a vacation.
 

rickandcindy23

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And they need non-tedious, intuitive ways to search.

I just went online to check. I searched Hilton Head, no dates. I found Barony Beach resort. Clicked on that. It says SOLD OUT. Yet I personally have a Barony Beach listing that is active. No prospective renter has a hope of finding my listing.

Any the renter may just want to go to Hilton Head. They should be able to search Hilton Head and retrieve all the active listings. Not a map in which they have to click on various properties only to find out there’s nothing available at that resort. Once you understand that map displays the Price if there is a listing, but a House icon if there’s not, you don’t necessarily need to click through every House icon. But that’s not intuitive IMO and many renters would just wander off after getting the vibe that there’s not much avail.
Absolutely. That is unacceptable. Poor search function. Like I said before, Redweek's site may be older, but it's very functional. I think there should be like an outline: Where do you want to go: Choose State > Area> resorts in alphabetical order> dates listed in date order. Redweek has that.
 

dioxide45

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Absolutely. That is unacceptable. Poor search function. Like I said before, Redweek's site may be older, but it's very functional. I think there should be like an outline: Where do you want to go: Choose State > Area> resorts in alphabetical order> dates listed in date order. Redweek has that.
They do now have that or something similar under the new Stays menu.
 

grupp

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I have a few listings that are now live on their site, but really not expecting much at this point. The more time I spend looking at their site the more I feel the don't really understand the marketplace for these rentals. But hopefully they can figure it out.

My biggest issue with them is their cancelation options as I mentioned before. Also, don't like that the charge commission/fee to both parties. Seriously, just do one or the other, but that is just my opinion.
 

dioxide45

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I have a few listings that are now live on their site, but really not expecting much at this point. The more time I spend looking at their site the more I feel the don't really understand the marketplace for these rentals. But hopefully they can figure it out.

My biggest issue with them is their cancelation options as I mentioned before. Also, don't like that the charge commission/fee to both parties. Seriously, just do one or the other, but that is just my opinion.
Commission fee to both parties? I am not aware of a charge to the renter. They take an 8% commission out of the proceeds to the owner.
 

rickandcindy23

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Commission fee to both parties? I am not aware of a charge to the renter. They take an 8% commission out of the proceeds to the owner.
Yes, exactly what Redweek always did. Fee to the owner, basically credit card fees to the renter. It's a minimal amount. If you search and choose a listing to rent, you will see the fee.
 

dioxide45

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Yes, exactly what Redweek always did. Fee to the owner, basically credit card fees to the renter. It's a minimal amount. If you search and choose a listing to rent, you will see the fee.
I see it now.
 

rickandcindy23

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I think a lot of people didn't know about the renter's side of things with Redweek. They always did charge a fee to the renter as well. I know that because a renter told me she didn't like renting the verified listings because they have a fee. I told her that credit card fees are something I absorb in my rentals. Now she is a regular renter with me, which is great. I have gotten quite a few repeat renters from my Redweek ads, but I am ready to move on to Koala, should it be an alternative like VRBO.

If TUG members go to Facebook and find Koala and like the page, then share it, we can spread the word that way. TUG isn't going to be the way to spread the word to renters.
 

tschwa2

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Redweek takes an additional fee if you do a redweek brokered rental which is included with verified. There is no additional fee if you do the old fashioned listing and negotiate and take the payment yourself.
 

grupp

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Redweek takes an additional fee if you do a redweek brokered rental which is included with verified. There is no additional fee if you do the old fashioned listing and negotiate and take the payment yourself.
This is why if feel Redweek is still the best option the best option for me since if offers much more flexibility in how you want to handle the transaction. Ultimately, I can get the price I want for my rentals and the renter can pay less on Redweek vs Koala. The only reason I will list on Koala is it might expose me to people who don't know about Redweek.
 

dioxide45

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This is why if feel Redweek is still the best option the best option for me since if offers much more flexibility in how you want to handle the transaction. Ultimately, I can get the price I want for my rentals and the renter can pay less on Redweek vs Koala. The only reason I will list on Koala is it might expose me to people who don't know about Redweek.
It may also help get people who otherwise aren't comfortable renting an unverified on non full service Redweek listing. It seems that the number of verified and full service listings has increased on Redweek because that is what today's traveler is looking for. They may not be as comfortable working directly with an owner without another trusted third party in between the transaction. Many are not comfortable working directly with an owner and paying by check or direct money transfer (Zelle, Venmo or Paypal).
 

rickandcindy23

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Redweek takes an additional fee if you do a redweek brokered rental which is included with verified. There is no additional fee if you do the old fashioned listing and negotiate and take the payment yourself.
Yes. That is true. But it costs money to list. Not much, but still it costs. I haven't gotten many hits on SBP with RW, but our daughter has rented several through Koala. She rented 3 units in one day. Yes, we own quite quite a few of those.

When you take the payment yourself through Paypal, it's 3% fee to you. So it's not like it's free. If you take personal checks, that doesn't cost. But asking a renter to transfer money through Paypal without a cost to you or them, that is a risky business.

Our daughter used to rent a lot through VRBO in past years, but last year was horrible for us. Koala came at just the right time. She rented 3 in one day! And not cheaply, either.
 
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