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Listing Owners Timeshare News

Trust and Safety in Online Marketplaces

Online marketplaces have become a go-to place for buying and selling goods and services. That said, they always face the initial challenge of establishing that trust and safety among its buyers and sellers. Here, we’ll discuss the significance of trust and safety in online marketplaces — like KOALA — and how adding a clear profile picture can help you build trust to increase your chances of getting a booking.

Mike Kennedy - May 03, 2023

Trust and safety are the cornerstones of a successful online transaction. Online marketplaces must ensure that their users feel safe and secure while using their platform to buy and sell goods or services – or in this case list or book timeshare rentals. In the absence of trust and safety, any marketplace will struggle to see transactions or retain buyers and sellers, add to that timeshare’s negative reputation for scams and you have a compounded trust factor. 

Marketplaces Should Provide Protection for Both Sides 

It is a marketplace’s primary duty to protect both the buyer and the seller in its transactions. Whether it’s vetting the merchandise, securing payments or mediating dispute resolutions – a marketplace is only as good as its transactions are secure and its users protected. Technology has evolved and grown many industries from the days of the classified ads section of the newspaper and the “Craigslist” style websites. Could you imagine staying in a stranger’s home without the protection of Airbnb or getting in a stranger’s car without some basic vetting from Uber? With all the advancements in marketplace technology and sharing economies, many timeshare rentals are still owner-to-traveler, with zero buffer in between.  

When KOALA first soft-launched in late 2019, timeshare owners were very surprised (and equally concerned) that we withheld funds from them until after the check-in. While this process was quite common in marketplaces for nearly every other industry, timeshare rentals had still been doing things the old way. 

Prior to KOALA, each individual timeshare owner was their own merchant of record. That means, the owner – not the platform – was responsible for collecting payment and managing their own rental contracts. It also means that these owners required payment upfront prior to confirming any booking. In some cases vacationers would be handing over thousands of dollars for a vacation that was a year away. Clearly this creates a lot of opportunities for bad actors at worst or zero recourse for the renter at best. 

But why does that matter to owners? Two-sided protection actually benefits owners as well. If a buyer doesn’t feel safe, the buyer won’t buy. In other words, most vacationers won’t transact that way – which meant timeshare owners weren’t reaching mainstream audiences. KOALA mitigates risk for the vacationer while also removing friction from the rental process for the owner. That’s a major win-win for all. 

The Importance of Uploading a Clear Profile Picture

Some of the most common feedback we’ve received is that the deals seem too good to be true(!). Timeshare rentals still remain one of the best secrets in travel – and that’s because many mainstream travelers still aren’t familiar with them. Most of today’s timeshare rental sites still only cater to that small cohort who are “in” on this secret.  KOALA’s mission is to simplify and mainstream timeshare rentals to the broader traveler. More travelers in the demand pool means more bookings, and higher payouts for you. Adding a profile picture is one of the best ways to help facilitate trust in and support that mission.  

A profile picture not only adds a personal touch, but it also plays a pivotal role in building trust between buyers and sellers – or in our case: timeshare owners and vacationers. It creates a sense of authenticity and credibility, making vacationers feel more comfortable renting your listings. A clear profile picture helps vacationers see you as a real person rather than just an anonymous username, making them more likely to trust you and book your listing. Ready to add or update your profile picture? 

It’s easy. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Log into your KOALA account.
    2. Click the three lines at the top right of your page and click “Profile.”
    3. On the left, select “Photos.”
    4. Click on “Upload a file from your computer.”
    5. Locate the photo you’d like to use, then click “Open.”

Be sure to use a photo that clearly shows your face, doesn’t include any personal or sensitive info you’d rather not have hosts or guests see, and is not a company logo.

Reviews and Testimonials  

In today’s world of sharing economies and ecommerce, reviews are tantamount to fact. The sum total of your customer’s experience should reflect (or expose) the basics truths and realities about your company. If you’ve used KOALA, leave us a review! Every bit of vetting from the community can help. Even if your experience wasn’t perfect, we want to know. Your feedback can help us improve services and features. Building a strong marketplace that is trusted by both owners and vacationers is how everyone wins.

Please leave us a review on Trustpilot! We know your time is valuable – it only takes a few minutes and means the world to us.

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