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JZ Vacation Rentals Requires NoiseAware + Breezeway For All Properties. Here’s Why.

A family business in the truest sense of the word—the company is named for owner Alex Zemianek’s dad, and many staff members are related to one another, while all are treated like family, regardless—JZ Vacation Rentals had big plans. First, the Maplewood, Mo.-based property management company, which started as a one-property operation in 2016 when Zemianek rented out his own apartment, wanted to grow its STR management portfolio to 50 fully managed properties by the first quarter of 2023.

At the same time, JZ Vacation Rentals wanted to protect rental rights in the Missouri communities where it primarily operates, some of which, including historic riverfront destination St. Charles, were seeing a stark increase in anti-STR sentiment.

But to make these things happen, JZ Vacation Rentals needed a solution that would offer in-stay insight, historical noise data and an automated solution to noise issues during guest stays. Operations Manager Nikolai Kronk explains how NoiseAware, plus Breezeway, were the fix he was looking for.

NoiseAware Case Study - La Quinta pilot program

The Challenge:

From its inception in 2016, the company that would become JZ Vacation Rentals had one overarching goal: Do it better. 

This mission started with the company’s cleaning operations. Kronk explains that JZ’s first bona-fide employee was Kim Conway, who, from the moment she was first hired, focused on improving both the quality and efficiency of housekeeping across the company’s growing property portfolio. Next, in 2017 came Rick Kronk—yep, he’s Nikolai’s dad—who came on to handle maintenance operations. By the end of 2017, JZ Vacation Rentals was a full-fledged vacation-rental property management company. And they were doing it while making sure employees felt supported and valued, at every level.

But that’s when the real challenges started. For one thing, the company had brought on several duplex and townhome properties, which were great for rental revenue. But the properties’ shared walls meant noise, and noise complaints, were a bigger issue. 

“For the longest time, we would get random messages from guests in our townhome properties, saying, ‘Hey, the neighbors are super loud, we don’t know what’s going on,’” 

Nikolai Kronk, Operations Manager, JZ Vacation Rentals

One starter rental


= JZ Vacation Rentals’ 2023 Goal

After first testing the STR waters by renting out his own apartment in 2016, Alex Zemianek has built a full-fledged property management company with big goals, and big challenges.

Then there was the rise in anti-STR sentiment, especially in tourist areas like St. Charles, along with increasingly strict local ordinances—and the threat of even more onerous restrictions to come.

Along with these issues, JZ needed a way to lighten the “crisis-management” load on its staff, if it wanted to live up to its promise of being completely guest-centered: “Everything we do is for the guest or because of a guest,” Kronk says.

And, as a new and ambitious property management company facing increasing competition and tightening inventory, it needed a way to build trust with homeowners and maintain that trust, to grow acquisitions and prevent churn.

Solution NoiseAware Case Study - La Quinta pilot program

The Solution:

Kronk recounts that Alex Zemianek first encountered NoiseAware at a VRMA conference, and was quickly impressed with the product’s ease of use and effectiveness. “Next thing you know, he’s introduced the JZ team to the technology, and by Monday morning we were getting started with NoiseAware,” he says.

From the get-go, having NoiseAware helped JZ address the issue of noise in its shared-wall properties. “Now, when someone makes those complaints, we can look at NoiseAware, see what’s going on, and let them know, ‘We’ve got everything under control,’” Kronk says. “By having the system in place, already ready to go, when a new property comes on, it actually allows our team to focus on more important issues with guest experience,” rather than having to figure out if excessive noise is happening, and how to handle it.

Another big factor in the noise-solution part of the package? Operations-automation and guest-messaging platform Breezeway. Kronk explains that JZ doesn’t just rely on Breezeway as its housekeeping automation tech, but it uses the award-winning technology to integrate NoiseAware with Streamline, its property-management software, to enable AutoResolve. With the AutoResolve feature, guests are messaged directly when there is a noise issue (management staff can receive a notification, too, for visibility). In 90% of cases, AutoResolve, with Breezeway’s help, fixes excessive noise issues without management intervention or added labor cost, usually with just one text to the guest.

NoiseAware also immediately helped JZ tackle the problem of anti-STR sentiment, and the threat of harsh local restrictions. “One of the biggest things people who are against STRs always complain about is noise. And the solution was NoiseAware. Because now we have graphs [NoiseAware’s NRS graphs, which show noise levels over time and maintain historic decibel-level data] that we can take to the city, and say, ‘You said noise was a problem. We’ve solved that. No, it’s not. So we should reevaluate your reasoning as to why you want to keep short-term rentals out.”

 “One of the biggest benefits with AutoResolve was that I no longer have to watch NoiseAware all day every day. When there is a problem, AutoResolve automatically handles it for me. That right there is a big time saver for my team, and a big operations saver. Everything is automatically set up and ready to go.”

-Nikolai Kronk, JZ Vacation Rentals

Results NoiseAware Case Study - La Quinta pilot program

The Benefits:

For JZ Vacation Rentals, the multiple benefits of NoiseAware have made it an essential must-have in the company’s 150+ onboarding itemsspecific mattresses, linens, household items and moreimplemented when new properties are added to its management portfolio.

One of JZ’s biggest reasons for installing NoiseAware in all properties, not just “problem” properties that are prone to noise complaints or parties? “By  automating with systems like NoiseAware, we now have the time to focus on every guest review individually, and use those reviews to make proactive choices rather than reactive choices,” Kronk says.

But perhaps the most compelling reason of all is that NoiseAware is helping the company meet its growth goals. “We don’t charge our homeowners for the monthly subscription, we only charge for the initial equipment. The monthly subscription is built into our pricing, there’s no opt out,” says Kronk, noting that JZ actually gave NoiseAware to its first 20 properties completely free of charge, as a test, and sent a message to owners to let them know about the product installation. 

When the reaction was overwhelmingly positive“We had owners that immediately responded, ‘Oh my God, thank you! I was worried that there would be problems,’ or ‘The one thing we were always worried about was people having parties,’” Kronk saysfull-portfolio installation became a given. 

“Giving homeowners peace of mind is one of the biggest benefits we’ve gotten from NoiseAware. It lets everyone know things are good in their home, and we don’t have any problems as far as our properties causing issues for neighbors.”

-Nikolai Kronk, JZ Vacation Rentals