#7: Breaking Guinness World Records and Quitting His Job To Transform Travel w/ Jay Olenicz, CEO & Co-founder at Staze

#7: Breaking Guinness World Records and Quitting His Job To Transform Travel w/ Jay Olenicz, CEO & Co-founder at Staze

At 18, Jay Olenicz decided to break a world record. Four years later, Jay and his brother embarked on the 48-day journey across the Atlantic that would earn them three Guinness World Records. After several near-death experiences and countless hours of reflection, Jay conducted a reassessment of his life. This profound experience inspired him to quit his management consulting job in Bristol, UK, and start a travel tech startup in early 2020.

Jay is the CEO and Co-founder of Staze, a travel app that allows you to book last-minute “holiday” rentals for discounted prices and provides travel recommendations so that you don’t have to worry about deciding where to go.

What is the PROBLEM that Staze is solving? When Jay was a management consultant, he traveled and stayed at Airbnb’s so often that he realized that he could get significant discounts on luxurious Airbnb accommodations if he contacted the owners last-minute and asked for a discount. He and his Co-founder, Henry, realized there was no marketplace for discounted rentals. The Problem for Travelers: The process of traveling and booking last-minute vacations is fundamentally broken. On average, it takes fours hours of research for someone to find a place to travel. Travel, in its current archaic state, is like Blockbuster 20 years ago, where you would have to choose what movie to rent out of a selection of 100s of options. Additionally, without a market for discounted rentals, most travelers will spend a lot of money unnecessarily. The Problem for Hosts: In the UK, holiday rentals are unoccupied 45% percent of the time throughout the year, which amounts to about about 50 million nights per year. But this isn’t just a problem in the UK, it is a global problem. Across the world, there are 1.2 billion nights per year of holiday rentals that are unoccupied. This is a massive amount of money that is being lost.

What is Staze’s SOLUTION? Staze saves travelers money by giving them access to last minute holiday rental deals and they save hosts money by maximizing the utility of their properties. Like Netflix recommends shows, Staze personalizes your travel search based on your preferences. By using travel preferences (such as cost and distance) and leveraging an AI engine, they save “thinking” time for their consumers by reducing the four hours it usually takes to book a trip down to four minutes. As a result, Staze helps people travel more for less and also helps property managers to maximise their revenue. Staze’s mission is to “enable people to live fun, free, and fulfilled lives through experiential exploration.”

2 Value Bombs

When you’re able to disconnect from the world, you’re able to reconnect with yourself on a deep level. Devoid your environment of external stimuli, and you will have no choice but to go deeply within yourself.

When you have a two-sided marketplace, target the acute pain points for those on both sides of the equation. In Staze’s case, they increased travel demand by minimizing the cost and time it takes to travel, which incentivizes hosts to offer up more rental properties.

Discussed in this episode…
[02:26] Why did he do his 48-day trek across the Atlantic? And what came out of it?
[09:52] How did you react to a near death experience and what did you learn from it?
[15:25] What does Staze do as a brief overview and what’s the mission?
[23:43] How did Jay discover the problem Staze is solving?
[26:56] If Staze was to achieve its ultimate destiny and fulfill its vision, what do you think the world would look like?
[29:53] How did Staze manage the COVID-19 situation? And if it was challenging, how did Staze navigate through that?
[35:23] When Jay first started Staze, how did he make that initial entrepreneurial leap and what were the fears, doubts, limiting beliefs or insecurities that passed through his mind?
[39:45] What has being an entrepreneur taught Jay about life itself?

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