Business & Finance

BLLA Redefines the Meaning of Boutique Hospitality at Annual Conference

Industry Powerhouses Come Together to Discuss Future of Luxury, the Boutique Concept and What Hospitality Means for 2018

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Los Angeles, CA - October 16, 2017 – Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) successfully closed its 2017 Annual Stay Boutique Leadership Conference held at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center last week. Over 230 attendees and 56 speakers came together to dissect the boutique and lifestyle industries and divulge into the boutique movement, by redefining what the industry means and where it is heading in 2018. At the forefront of this movement, BLLA is redefining what hospitality is by further merging the fashion, lifestyle, wellness, design, and food and beverage industries.

“At this year’s leadership conference, we joined together an eclectic line-up of presenters from every area of the hospitality sector, that showed us what it means to be boutique,” says BLLA Founder & CEO, Frances Kiradjian. “BLLA has become the industry’s go-to source to educate, provide and inspire the world of boutique and we’re so excited to have created a community that brings all these sectors together to create the new and enhanced boutique movement.”

At the helm of this movement is mother-daughter duo, BLLA CEO & Founder, Frances Kiradjian and Vice President, Ariela Kiradjian, who continue to collaborate with the best in the industry to create a world-renowned platform and association to inspire all things boutique. “Boutique is not just a hotel, it’s an experience and any industry can join the community” says Ariela, on how the boutique sector has become much more than just a hotel. BLLA is redefining what boutique hospitality means, being at the forefront of taking the industry and integrating it into other sectors like fashion, design, wellness, lifestyle and food & beverage. This year’s conference also announced BLLA’s Stay Boutique™ platform, the world’s first and only direct booking site for boutique and lifestyle hotels, and a platform for boutique inspiration.

The conference addressed and examined the success and challenges of the industry, defined today’s luxury traveler and consumer, and strategically assessed how to meet their needs. “Positive disruption is about having the courage to celebrate the intent of the action", said keynoter Bill Walshe, CEO of Viceroy Hotel Group, who spoke on the ideologies of the industry, and the importance of providing a cultural journey to retain consumer loyalty. Founder and CEO Sam Nazarian of sbe, discussed the topic of staying relative in the sector, explaining “it’s about more than the design and gimmicks…You have to have culinary and hospitality expertise to make these unique.” CEO Sue Walter of The Hospital Club dove into the rise of member clubs and providing exclusive services. The group represented and spoke to the new wave of boutique and lifestyle hospitality, including Co-Founder Rosie O’Neill of Sugarfina, Co-Founder John Terzian of H.Wood Group, CEO Jonas Tahlin of Absolut Elyx, Principle David Fishbein of Runyon Group.

The conference also announced this year’s BLLA awards, acknowledging the best of 2017 for the following categories:

  • BOUTIQUE HOTEL The Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa, Kirkland, Washington

  • LIFESTYLE HOTEL the ART, a hotel, Denver, Colorado

  • BRANDED BOUTIQUE HOTEL Hotel Beaux Arts Miami, Autograph Collection, Miami, Florida

  • BRANDED LIFESTYLE HOTEL Hotel LeVeque, Autograph Collection, Columbus, Ohio

  • SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER Roza Sinaysky, Tel Aviv, Israel ,

  • BOUTIQUE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT Jamie Beck for Ann Street Studios

  • BOUTIQUE HOTELIER Brendan Gresham, Charlestowne Hotels

  • BOUTIQUE HOTEL RESTAURANT Casa Amate at Andaz Mayakoba Riviera Maya, Mexico

  • BOUTQIUE RETAILER Tuft & Needle, Phoenix, Arizona

  • BOUTIQUE LOUNGE Poppy, West Hollywood, California

  • BOUTIQUE WELLNESS FACILITY Basecamp at the Whitney Peak Hotel, Reno, Nevada

  • BOUTIQUE THINKER John Terzian, H.Wood Group, Nightlife Entrepreneur

  • BOUTIQUE RESTAURANT RUKA Restobar, Boston, Massachusetts

  • BOUTIQUE COMMUNITY CONNECTOR Casea Collins-Wright, Honolulu, Hawaii - ‎Director of Experience at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

  • BOUTIQUE COLLABORATOR The High Line Hotel, New York


  • BOUTIQUE SOCIAL CLUB The Hospital Club, London, U.K.

  • BOUTIQUE DESIGNER Patrick Sutton, Baltimore, Maryland (for the Sagamore Pendry Hotel)

About the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA)

The world’s most innovative and progressive organization dedicated to the luxury independent boutique lodging and lifestyle industries. The association connects the world’s most dynamic executives with cutting edge business and operational insight. BLLA’s membership benefits allow access to the world’s leading minds in the space through events, research and education. Our mission is to provide leadership and opportunities for global recognition and connections to the world’s best hotels, vendors and manufacturers. All resulting in strategic interactions and access to information that helps people and organizations thrive. Join the movement that BLLA gave birth to in 2009 and become a part of something that is truly unique, exciting and inspirational. For more information visit www.blla.org and www.stayboutiquemedia.com.

Media Contact:
Ariana Squillacciotti
J Public Relations
Tel: 212-924-3600

Coming Up In The December Online Hotel Business Review

Feature Focus
Hotel Law: Issues & Events
There is not a single area of a hotel’s operation that isn’t touched by some aspect of the law. Hotels and management companies employ an army of lawyers to advise and, if necessary, litigate issues which arise in the course of conducting their business. These lawyers typically specialize in specific areas of the law – real estate, construction, development, leasing, liability, franchising, food & beverage, human resources, environmental, insurance, taxes and more. In addition, issues and events can occur within the industry that have a major impact on the whole, and can spur further legal activity. One event which is certain to cause repercussions is Marriott International’s acquisition of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. This newly combined company is now the largest hotel company in the world, encompassing 30 hotel brands, 5,500 hotels under management, and 1.1 million hotel rooms worldwide. In the hospitality industry, scale is particularly important – the most profitable companies are those with the most rooms in the most locations. As a result, this mega- transaction is likely to provoke an increase in Mergers & Acquisitions industry-wide. Many experts believe other larger hotel companies will now join forces with smaller operators to avoid being outpaced in the market. Companies that had not previously considered consolidation are now more likely to do so. Another legal issue facing the industry is the regulation of alternative lodging companies such as Airbnb and other firms that offer private, short-term rentals. Cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Santa Monica are at the forefront of efforts to legalize and control short-term rentals. However, those cities are finding it’s much easier to adopt regulations on short-term rentals than it is to actually enforce them. The December issue of Hotel Business Review will examine these and other critical issues pertaining to hotel law and how some companies are adapting to them.