All Things Independent

/All Things Independent

All Things Independent

Boutique Hotels Driving Trends

Frances Kiradjian | August 24, 2017

By Frances Kiradjian Even for an industry known for being in a constant state of flux, the hospitality industry was barely prepared for the sea change that came over it with the arrival of boutique and luxury lifestyle hotels two decades ago. The repercussions of that change are still being felt today, as the boutique sector has consistently remained a driving force for changing trends in the hotel industry. From design havens to signature restaurants and a focus of local suppliers, many of the big stories of recent years have originated in the boutique and luxury lifestyle environment. This is due in no small part to the independence o...

Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) Launches Stay Boutique™ Leadership Conference in Los Angeles

the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) | August 22, 2017

Inaugural Conference to Connect Boutique Powerhouse Brands and Hospitality Innovators for Three-Day Event, Oct. 3-5 Los Angeles – August 22, 2017 – This October, BLLA is disrupting the boutique space with the launch of the Stay Boutique™ Leadership Conference, replacing the association's annual Leadership Symposium. Designed to congregate the leaders and influencers in the community, the new conference will take the boutique and lifestyle sector to new heights, dissect the "new boutique mindset" and forecast ahead to what boutique means for 2018. Hotel pioneers, lifestyle authorities and hospitality innovators will gat...

Dream Training Programs for Boutique Hotels

BLLA | August 9, 2017

By Frances Kiradjian Training is one of those things that just about everyone agrees is a good idea on paper. But in the hectic day-to-day business of running a hotel, the dream of establishing a formalized training program often takes a back seat in favor of "learning on the job". This latter solution, apparently saving time, is no substitute for a well-formulated staff training program. Let's look at some of the reasons why. BLLA is gearing up to launch the boutique hospitality program in collaboration with UCLA Extension and would love your input on the challenges and needs of the hospitality world. Follow this link to complete a bri...

A Look at the Future of the Boutique Hotel Industry: BLLA’s 2017 Sentiment Survey Results Revealed

Frances Kiradjian | July 7, 2017

By Frances Kiradjian A little insight is a valuable thing in the hospitality industry, and the value of comparing notes and getting an overview on the industry in general and broader trends is huge. These kinds of insights are also one of the reasons BLLA is such a useful organization to be part of for the Boutique & Lifestyle sector. And nowhere is this clearer than in our annual Sentiment Survey, an essential overview of the state of this thriving area of the hospitality industry. We reached out to you, our ever-expanding network of more than 1,000 of the finest Boutique & Lifestyle hoteliers, to find out the truth about the s...

Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs to Make Fall 2017 Debut in California

Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs | June 29, 2017

Soaring to new heights in Palm Springs is Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs, now accepting reservations in anticipation of its opening this fall. The seven-story, 153-room urban desert escape anchors the city's major downtown revitalization project and features Palm Springs' first and only rooftop pool, two restaurants and two bars, serene views of the majestic San Jacinto Mountains, and inspiring spaces for meetings & events. The first full-scale hotel built in the area in decades and Kimpton's first project in the Palm Springs market, Kimpton The Rowan Palm Springs is a celebration of the desert's organic, rugged beauty artfully bala...

The Complexities of Boutique Hotel Development

Frances Kiradjian | June 22, 2017

By Frances Kiradjian The complexities of boutique hotel development were discussed by an illustrious panel of hotel-industry luminaries at the fifth annual BLLA Boutique Hotel Investment Conference New York. Moderated by Jay Newman, chief operating officer of The Athens Group, the panel featured Michael Fuerstman, co-founder of Pendry Hotels, a new luxury brand from Montage Hotels & Resorts; Allie Hope, head of development and acquisitions at Virgin Hotels; Matthew Livian, SVP and CIO of Sydell Group; Chris Pardo, co-founder of Arrive Hotels; and Jason Pomeranc, chief executive officer of The Pomeranc Group. The panelists were asked...

Why Are Other Industries Attracted to the Boutique Hotel Sector?

Frances Kiradjian | June 16, 2017

By Frances Kiradjian One of the many exciting things about the boutique hotel world is its ability to absorb exciting elements from disparate areas—from the art world to music, fashion and cuisine—anything it can harness to add character and interest to a hotel's offering. And this diversity of influences was highlighted this week at the BLLA Boutique Hotel Investment Conference, where a panel of luminaries from very different backgrounds converged to discuss their shared interest in the boutique space. Chaired by Gettys Group president Andrew Fay, the panel featured David Bowd, principal of West Elm Hotels; Tony Kurz, CEO o...

Major Hospitality Powerhouses Reveal Key Trends at Annual Boutique Hotel Investment Conference (BLLA)

BLLA | June 12, 2017

Executives from Leading Hotels of the World, Equinox Hotels, Sixty Hotels, PENDRY, West Elm Hotels, Arianna Huffington and More, Converge in New York to Talk Boutique Hospitality New York, June 12 – Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) successfully closed its 2017 Annual Boutique Hotel Investment Conference in New York, June 7, with some of the most influential hospitality powerhouses in the game. Worldwide hotel luminaries, executives and developers gathered at the Times Center in the heart of New York, to discuss major hospitality trends and provide an in-depth analysis of the ever-developing industry. Over 45 sp...

How the Staff of a Midtown Manhattan Boutique Hotel Became Even More Productive Without Radio Communication

ALICE | June 7, 2017

New York, NY -- Luxury Midtown Manhattan boutique, Kimberly Hotel & Suites, has selected hospitality operations platform ALICE to improve staff communication and efficiency at the 194-room hotel. ALICE unites all staff departments together with a shared work management and communication system. The Kimberly Hotel's housekeeping, engineering, room service, front desk, and concierge teams have all been using ALICE since February 2017. Implementing ALICE has had an immediate impact on staff productivity throughout the hotel. Prior to ALICE, the Kimberly ran their operations with pen and paper, walkie talkies, and a fair bit of staff lo...

Embracing New Technologies and Hotel Security in Our World Today

Frances Kiradjian | May 30, 2017

by Frances Kiradjian To the uninitiated, the current fad for virtual and augmented reality technologies might seem to have little overlap with the travel industry. Why go to the trouble of traveling anywhere if you plan to sit in a darkened room wearing a headset and exploring a fantasy world? Such a view is echoed by the sentiments of Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Expedia, in 2016 who told a technology conference, "I hope that VR in travel fails miserably because I want people to go places." But technology has a habit of making itself useful in situations where we least expect it – which can only explain why, a year later, Expedia it...

Other Methods of Garnering Guest Loyalty

Frances Kiradjian | May 22, 2017

by Frances Kiradjian We all know the power of loyalty in the hospitality industry, as our most valued guests are those who stay over and over again. One enticement to promote this behavior is the loyalty discount, which offers guests a financial incentive to return. It also encourages them to book direct, cutting out those hefty online-agency fees and keeping the hotel in direct contact with that all-important customer base. But for hotels, the downside to free loyalty schemes is the cost. If a discount is offered to one customer, it should be offered to all, and so we face a situation where regular revenue streams dip significantly as ...

The New Boutique Hotel Lobbyists

Frances Kiradjian | May 12, 2017

by Frances Kiradjian 'After the party, there's the hotel lobby ….. And round about four you've got to clear the lobby,' R. Kelly once sang in his hit 'Ignition (Remix)', painting a debauched picture of how hotel lobbies functioned at the start of the 21st century. But what are these things called lobbies and how have they changed over the years? In actual fact the lobby's origins couldn't be further than R. Kelly's bumping'n'grinding R'n'B entourage. It's a term that originates in the chaste monasteries of the 16th century, where a lobbia signified a covered walkway or open arcade. The first recorded printed instance of the word ...

Boutique “Soft Brands” Defined

Frances Kiradjian | May 1, 2017

by Frances Kiradjian, Founder & Chair, BLLA Looking at the large online travel agencies recently you might be surprised to spot a few new names among the Starwoods and Marriotts. Tribute? Curio? Quorvus? Could these be new independent David's taking the hotel-world Goliaths by storm? Of course, these aren't new companies by any stretch of the imagination, but fresh incarnations of those same hospitality superpowers that have dominated the industry for decades. Independent in ethos, but multinational in outreach, these are the new hotel 'soft brands', they've come out of the blue, and they're opening up everywhere. But what is a soft...

A Pair of Midtown New York City Boutiques Upgrade Their Operations

ALICE | April 10, 2017

New York, NY -- The Gregory Hotel and The Renwick Hotel - a pair of historic boutique hotels in Midtown Manhattan - are using ALICE's operations technology and guest engagement platform to improve staff coordination and provide convenient communications options to guests. Both hotels have a strong legacy of New York City hospitality. The Gregory opened as the Gregorian Hotel in 1903 and quickly became a popular residence for the famous and well-to-do. The Renwick began its life as a home to artist studios and intellectuals and is a member of Historic Hotels of America®. Both hotels were restored (and, in the case of The Gregory, ren...

The Who’s Who of Boutique Hospitality Industry Come Together in New York City for Distinguished Conference

The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) | March 20, 2017

Arianna Huffington and C-Level Executives of Equinox Hotels, Leading Hotels, Virgin Hotels, Sixty Hotels, Grace Hotels, Valencia Group and More to Speak at BLLA Conference, June 7 New York – Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) announces powerhouse line-up for 2017's annual boutique hotel investment conference. The Times Center in New York will be the backdrop for this year's acclaimed conference that will bring together the industry's most elite hoteliers, investors and developers. BLLA is the leading Boutique & Lifestyle Association aimed at globally connecting independent, upscale hoteliers with fellow indust...

Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) Announces New Board of Advisors for Strategic Alliance with UCLA Extension

UCLA Extension | March 8, 2017

Leading Hospitality Executives and Industry Suppliers Address Strategies for New Hospitality Program Designed to Address the Luxury Boutique Hotel Sector Los Angeles, March 8, 2017 – BLLA's top executive, Frances Kiradjian, brought together leading boutique hotel brand CEOs and the industry's top service providers to participate in advancing hospitality's only boutique luxury-focused educational program, in conjunction with UCLA Extension. The Board of Advisors recently held their first meeting in Los Angeles to announce a new 5-day educational program for hospitality executives and professionals to launch in March 2018. Through ...

The Olympia Companies to Develop & Manage New Hotel for Colby College

The Olympia Companies | February 17, 2017

The 42-room Boutique Hotel will Launch Downtown Waterville's Revitalization Portland, Maine – The Olympia Companies is proud to announce Colby College as the newest addition to its growing portfolio of properties in the campus hospitality sector. Olympia will develop and manage Colby's new 42-room boutique hotel and restaurant in downtown Waterville, Maine. The hotel is owned by Elm City LLC, Colby's development arm, and will be the focal point of Waterville's downtown revival. Ground breaking is expected to commence in 2017. "We are thrilled to partner with Maine-based Olympia Companies, which is known for developing unique h...

Boutique Design to Debut Hands-On Demo Space at BDNY Featuring New VR, 3D Tools for Hospitality Designers

HMG | November 10, 2016

Learn from the tech experts how to use the latest virtual reality and 3D printing breakthroughs to amp up the impact of your presentations and designs, and get clients not only on the same page but visually "in the room." Strap on the headset and immerse yourself in next-gen design in Boutique Design New York's new Incubator space at the Boutique Design Booth, Display #349, Nov. 13 and 14 at the Javits Center. Cincinnati, OH (November 10, 2016) – Leading developers of virtual and artificial reality (VR/AR) technologies for the hospitality design industry will provide interactive demonstrations for attendees in the new Incubator sp...

Hey Independents! Are You Thinking About Joining An Association?

Larry Mogelonsky | November 2, 2016

By Larry Mogelonsky, MBA, P. Eng. ( For most independent hoteliers, the decision to join an association such as Leading, Preferred, Small Luxury or Relais & Chateaux is a critical and complex decision. All of these organizations have stepped up their game of late, with grand improvements to both their web and sales offerings so that they can all stay relevant as traveler behavior changes. Moreover, the impetus to participate is exacerbated by the proliferation of inventory in the alternate lodging sector – that is, Airbnb – coupled with the marketing behemoths that are the OTAs. The costs of joining an associa...

Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association’s Leadership Event Debuts at UCLA Luskin Conference Center in October

The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) | September 29, 2016

Leading hotel and restaurant owners, developers, and vendors to partake in symposium UCLA Extension to teach a first-of-its-kind education day at the conference on the subject of "Turning an asset into a luxury boutique hotel" Los Angeles, 29 September, 2016 – Boutique hotel pioneers, industry visionaries, and trade media will gather on October 24 – 26 at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center for the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association's (BLLA) three-day Leadership Symposium. BLLA is the official organization to the world's premiere boutique hotels aimed at connecting independent upscale hoteliers with fellow industry i...

Boutique Hotel Industry Leaders Will Come Together for Annual Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association Symposium in Los Angeles

the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) | August 31, 2016

Symposium will feature luminaries from leading hotel brands and will debut first-ever luxury boutique hotels hospitality education day with instruction by specialists and UCLA faculty Los Angeles, 31 August, 2016 – Boutique hotel pioneers, travel advisors, media and industry professionals will gather at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center for the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association's (BLLA) annual three-day Leadership Symposium, October 24-26. BLLA is the leading hospitality association aimed at connecting independent, upscale hoteliers with fellow industry innovators, discerning travelers and hospitality investors around t...

Perkins+Will Expands Hospitality Practice with Addition of Industry Expert Jacqueline McGee

Perkins+Will | July 13, 2016

McGee and team join Boston office to accelerate hotel, restaurant, and multi-family residential design work BOSTON – July 11, 2016 – Perkins+Will announced today that award-winning hospitality interior designer Jacqueline McGee and her team have joined the firm's Boston office, helping to strengthen the firm's hospitality practice while supporting McGee's ongoing interior design work in hotels, restaurants, and residential projects nationwide. McGee has more than 23 years of experience in interior design, as well as theater set design and film design, including London theaters, the BBC, and motion pictures. Her work on hotel...

HVS Key Takeaways: Boutique Hotel Investment Conference 2016

Susan Furbay | July 11, 2016

By Susan Furbay The conference keyed in on ways for independent hotels to gain ground in today's market, from financing avenues to booking channels. Changes in consumer behavior, with tastes favoring the hotel "experience" more than price or brand, were a highlight. The following are some key takeaways from this year's Boutique Hotel Investment Conference. Evolution of Consumer Tastes in Travel Over the past several years, hoteliers have become aware of the rise of the Millennial generation of travelers and the shifts in consumer behavior its preferences have brought about in the field of hospitality. Price still matters. So does conven...

A Brief History of Boutique Hotels

BLLA | June 30, 2016

Provided Courtesy of BLLA Hotels haven't changed too much since Joseph and Mary arrived at the inn in Bethlehem and the clerk told them that their reservation had been lost. The hotel industry, of which started with boutique hotels, is closely linked to civilizations, periods, and nowadays, generations. The first wave of facilities offering guests accommodations are evident through biblical and medieval times. Enterprising Greeks developed thermal baths in villages designed for rest and recuperation. Not to be outdone, the imaginative Romans built mansions to provide accommodation for travelers going away for religious retreats. The cre...

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