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Meet Alex Zemianek of JZ Vacation Rentals

Today we’d like to introduce you to Alex Zemianek.

Hi Alex, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
At 18, I was broke, hungry, and facing eviction. I was in Columbia, Mo at the time with an intent to study & earn a degree, but found myself quickly drowning financially from poor choices made in a short period of time living in a college town.

Though my parents were emotionally supportive, they didn’t bail me out financially when asked. As a result, I grew up and learned to accept my own responsibilities. Two years later on April 28th, 2004, I received the devastating news that my father had suffered a catastrophic heart attack and died at the young age of 52.

This life-changing event gave me an entirely new perspective on life, helping me to understand how truly fragile it is. And it was this realization that made me determined to live with both passion and purpose. I joined the corporate world with a vengeance, moving up in just 9 years with a wireless company to the position of top regional manager in the nation.

After that, I decided to follow my passion and take a leap of faith. After being inspired by the book “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, I started a real estate brand, named in honor of the initials of my late father & newborn son.
From its humble beginnings, it has grown into JZ Properties, JZ Vacation Rentals, and a non-profit, JZ Gives Back.

My core belief is that there’s nothing that feels better than achieving a goal and helping others achieve theirs. With that, I was blessed with two beautiful children, Mason and Mila, and the proud son of my incredible mother, Lori Zemianek.

Pandemic comeback story: https://jzvacationrentals.com/the-comeback-story/.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Hills & Valleys:

In 2003 I searched my couch for change to eat for the first time in 2 day


In 2004 my late father had a sudden heart attack around 1 am April 28th.
In 2008, I began my REI Entrepreneurship journey during the major RE & Economic crash.
In 2014, I experienced the greatest gift of life,

“Fatherhood”
Mason Jacob Zemianek was born.
(Hence “JZ”)

In 2016, a 2nd blessing was received & was named Mila Marie Zemianek.

In 2018, a former business partner was caught stealing 6 figures and I faced my first potential bankruptcy.
In 2020, all liquidity was erased within 7 days of the announcement of a pandemic.
In Q3 of 2020, I discovered the Grace of God, the true power of prayer, and my companies recovered thanks to my incredible team that volunteered their time for free, and thanks to the SBA & other government support.
In 2021, we began hiring employees again and went from 5-8 full-time employees and 20 in total including remote teams.

Now, in Qtr 2 of 2022, I’ve learned that obstacles/challenges are inevitable for any entrepreneur, so what’s most important is how we decide to approach them.

Years ago, I would’ve tried to solve them on my own, but now, I’m blessed to have a strong faith in my life and an incredible team that inspires me to be a better leader than I was yesterday.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about JZ Vacation Rentals?
The JZ Brand is made up of 3 entities, JZ Properties, JZ Vacation Rentals, and our education non-profit, JZ Gives Back. Our website (jzvacationrentals.com) offers more than 200 luxury vacation rental properties in more than 15 US states and in Mexico.

In the competitive world of short-term rentals, we distinguish ourselves by being a true one-stop-shop. Our team handles every aspect of the journey, from consulting, design, furnishing and decor, housekeeping, maintenance, accounting, and marketing on 100+ sites, including our own.

We serve two clients. The first is our guests and the second is the owners that entrust us with the care, promotion, and management of their properties. 95% of management companies accept virtually any property into their portfolios and rely heavily on the OTAs (online travel agents), such as Airbnb or Vrbo for clients and bookings.

We are part of the 5% that choose to invest in their own infrastructure to grow brand loyalty and direct bookings.

Each of the properties we represent must pass a rigorous 150-point inspection before they are accepted into our rental program. This list comes from years of interacting with and listening to our guest clients about what they want/expect in a vacation home. Its goal is to create a consistent experience that our guests can rely on, regardless of which of our properties they reserve.

Much like travelers who only stay with one hotel brand because they know they can count on a consistent experience, we want guests of JZ Vacation Rentals to have that same confidence when they book our properties. We refer to our owner clients as our partners. What sets us apart from other property management firms is the increased revenue our owner partners see with our services.

As we explain early in our onboarding process, It’s simple to list a property on a listing site. What’s not so easy is providing an experience that will create repeat guests. This is particularly true when, in addition to customer relationships, owners also have to efficiently manage every other aspect of a high-volume, high-energy short-term rental business.

We’re seasoned experts, ready and able to tackle every aspect of managing short-term (and long-term) rentals that owners may not be aware of, such as the additional expense of listing each property on 100 other sites, providing dynamic pricing, and a direct booking website.

And perhaps the most important aspect of all is our in-depth knowledge of this industry, with all its emerging technologies, as well as the highest level of guest-centric customer care and service.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am right today without the many mentors along the way who guided me. Networking and seeking advice from others in advance easily shaves years of mistakes off your learning curve. Everything I teach today came from a failed attempt or from advice from someone else.

My advice for finding a mentor is good research. Regardless of what industry you’re in, find someone on LinkedIn who is what you consider successful. Read and absorb their story, and then simply reach out to them. It might be a little scary or intimidating, but you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised at how many people are willing to guide or mentor you for free.

I find it very rewarding to give back time, and while I may not be the right fit for everyone, I’ll gladly offer anyone an hour of my time. I am particularly proud of my non-profit organization, JZ Gives Back, which is centered around education. Visit us at JZGivesBack.org.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Meridith Struebing Photography

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