Coconut Bay Resort in Fort Lauderdale
We have been reporting on families who were sold on the ability to rent out their timeshare to cover maintenance fees, and even loan payments, or sell “bonus” or “Getaway” weeks to cover costs. As industry experts explained in last week’s article, counting on renting to cover the cost of your timeshare purchase is not feasible, especially a timeshare financed at 12% to 17.99%.
Leave renting to the professionals:
Mike Kennedy and James Burbridge, co-founders of KOALA, explain how they applied principles of logic, reliability and precision in the development of KOALA:
“KOALA’s marketplace is successful because we focus on getting results for owners — not empty promises or setting false expectations to coerce them into paying exorbitant upfront fees. In fact, they pay zero upfront fees. As a result, we don’t get paid unless the owner does. Think about how that changes the DNA of the company they’re working with.”
Mike talked about the importance of not conflating the true market value of the rental with what an owner feels they’re entitled to – to recoup a purchase price, cover maintenance fees, or worse, rent for what a salesperson told them they could get. Those numbers are not linked in any way.
“We spend countless hours educating owners on how to price according to market and what to expect. If you can get the week on Expedia for $1,200 no one will pay you more because your maintenance fees are $1,500. Radical transparency – this is the only way to truly help timeshare owners and it’s something they’ve not been given enough of,” Mike explained.
Sheri in Minnesota mentioned in her report last week that she attempted to list her Westgate unit on various rental sites, including KOALA. Sheri and I reached out to Mike. He determined that Sheri’s listing was not overpriced. Mike said he would feature Sheri’s Westgate week to see if it would rent.
I decided to give KOALA a try
I clicked on “Hot Deals.” Scrolling through the choices, I found Coconut Bay Resort in Fort Lauderdale, pictured above. It was available for $135 per night. The total price for seven nights was $945. This price included KOALA’s $47.25 fee, to be billed AFTER I agreed to rent. They don’t get paid until the renter finds a tenant. I felt good about helping an existing timeshare owner with their maintenance fees.
Before confirming our booking, I did my timeshare math. I went to online sites and attempted to rent the same week, the end of April. I could not find availability for seven nights until September 6! This means that this is a timeshare resort that owners use. They are not giving up their week. The cost to book seven nights September 6 – 13:
162.89 (13% tax)
Compared to (Hot Deal) $945
Part of me doesn’t feel right taking a vacation when innocent people are being slaughtered in Ukraine. My grandmother came to this country as a mail-order bride after escaping Lithuania. I would go to Ukraine and fight if I had the youth and the skills. I don’t, so I live my life as normal and will stay at Coconut Bay Resort. I wanted to give a shout out to all the brave civilians and soldiers who are fighting for their homeland.
The Ukrainian National Anthem – Family Purity amidst Devastation
KOALA has sponsored a fundraiser for Ukraine and World Central Kitchen. I mentioned in the interview Mike and James provided, linked below, that Mike was involved with a restaurant in Brooklyn where my family had the opportunity to meet Mike and James. Mike said World Central Kitchen is amazing. They helped turn their restaurant into a food bank during the pandemic to feed health care workers. As Mike explained, “World Central Kitchen is literally on the front lines feeding Ukrainian refugees as we speak. KOALA is matching their member’s contributions and we’ve raised over 3K for them already!” Mike asked for a shout out for their Ukrainian fundraiser after reading my thoughts about Ukraine.
Our Interview with Mike and James
Below is the link to our interview with Mike and James, hosted by timeshare expert John Raymond, a resale broker. Mike and James explained the insight and research that went into KOALA’S development and launch:
Why KOALA Works
First, we are a company and platform that specializes in timeshare rentals. We have decades of collective experience in the market so we know how to optimize. Our team and technology make it easy for owners to navigate the logistics. We do most of the heavy lifting – we handle payments, secure the transaction, verify the listing and booking confirmation; and even ensure the owner against liability and damage up to $1M. Also, we work with owners to optimize their pricing so it will actually rent. This is the critical piece. If an owner comes in with unrealistic expectations, the rental is not going to work, regardless of the support we provide.
Education: Owners need to stay engaged. We’ve created a fair amount of tools and content on pricing and our team is available to speak to owners in person if they’re uncertain about the process or pricing.
This step cannot be overlooked.
No Upfront Fees: With some timeshare rental or resale platforms, the only “sale” happens when the representative convinces the owner that their week may be worth way more than it actually is, to justify hefty upfront fees. In Sheri’s case, it was $199 to list her Colonies week for rent and $299 to sell her Westgate week, but I’ve seen owners swindled out of thousands. Every owner wants to hear their 40K timeshare is worth 40K and weeks will rent easily for $800 per night. Scammers prey on that, but that’s typically not the case.
Here’s how Timeshare Consumer Association in the EU feels about KOALA:
Myles in Causal Business Attire
Thanks to Myles, Mike and James, and all our experts, striving to make timeshare purchases, sales and rentals a more transparent place to do business and enjoy what life has to offer.
Next week we return to a more sombre subject, active-duty military personnel finding their security clearances and career in jeopardy because they purchased a timeshare.
Thank you, Irene and all who contributed to this article, it is refreshing to publish something with a positive note for a change, we have said this before countless times, there is nothing wrong with the concept of timeshare, it is how it is sold that is the problem. Next week’s article will once again highlight this ever-growing problem of how it is sold, one thing we always hope for when running these stories, is the last-minute change where the company reached out and will resolve the matter. These articles are sent before publication for review, most times there is no response, but occasionally there is good news, let’s hope this is one of those occasions.
That is all for this week, as you can see Baby Dog is being the boss as he knows it’s the weekend and time for fun. Have a great weekend, I know we will.