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Boutique Hotel Owners Set the Pace for the Future of Hospitality at the BLLA Conference in Los Angeles

Attendees eager to engage & learn | Photo Credit: Linda Kasian Photography

Frances Kiradjian (BLLA) with Geronimo Hospitality Group

End of Day Reflections panel with BLLA Board Members

The frank discussions led the way for 2 days of thoughtful collaboration among some of the world’s best boutique hotel executives

Boutique hotels are very improvisational. You are nimble in the boutique business. If things are not that great, then you improvise. You are free to do whatever is necessary for that space.”
— Nile Tuzun, Founder & Chief Creative Storyteller at Studio Nilebrand
LOS ANGELES, CA, UNITED STATES, November 9, 2022 / -- BLLA, the Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association, held its annual Boutique Hotel Owners Conference on October 24-26 at the breathtaking Westlake Village Inn in the Los Angeles suburbs. A few hundred global pioneers came together to celebrate the bold and groundbreaking industry that is boutique hospitality.

On the evening of October 24th, the conference kicked off with a Jazz Night, sponsored by Marsh McLennan Agency. The lively sounds of the Jazz trio, paired with elegant cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, set the stage for all of the joy and enthusiasm that was to come.

The following two-day conference was filled with captivating panels, debates, breakout sessions, salon-style discussions, and open Q&A ranging from topics such as Top Issues Owners Face Today, How Energy Plays a Part in Creating a Boutique Hotel Experience, The Lost Art of Innkeeping, Food & Beverage - The Philosophy of Deal Making, Conscious Tourism & Slow Travel, and The Next Generation of Hotel Marketing & Branding. Audience participation was encouraged, and many partook of the opportunity to have a voice and be heard.

The warm and relaxing atmosphere allowed for attendees to engage in candid conversations with the notable roster of facilitators such as Rami Zeidan - Founder & CEO of Life House, Rob Blood - Founder of Lark Hotels, Richard Valtr - Founder of Mews, Maya Mallick - Owner & Creative Director of The Culver Hotel, Avi Brosh - Founder & CEO of Palisociety, and Brian De Lowe - President & Co-Founder of Proper Hospitality.

During the opening session, Ariela Kiradjian, COO and Partner of BLLA, encouraged the attendees to set their intention for gaining new connections and insights over the conference days. She also reflected on her own hospitality career and shared nine lessons that have helped guide her this year, such as: “Things do not always have to be so hard, sometimes letting go enables you to grow, putting a spotlight on fears actually helps heal them, and vulnerability is at the core of growth.” These themes ignited meaningful conversations throughout the event.

As emphasized on the stage, the boutique sector is clearly experiencing more of a success story than that of other hospitality segments who may rely on a bigger percentage of business travel to return. Boutique hotels are able to flourish during most storms because they are resilient and able to react quickly. These owners, investors, and developers are bullish on the future, as expressed through almost all of the discussions throughout the 2+ days.

At the End of Day Reflections & Open Mic Q&A session, Nile Tuzun, Founder & Chief Creative Storyteller at Studio Nilebrand, stated that “Boutique hotels are very improvisational. You are nimble in the boutique business. If things are not that great, then you improvise. This way, it is experiential and experimental. You are free to do whatever is necessary for that space.”

Judging by the heartfelt testimonials, the 2022 Boutique Hotel Owners Conference was a success and an impactful experience, as well as a time to celebrate the heart and soul of independent, boutique hotels.

Headline Sponsors included Greenberg Traurig, Lutron Electronics, Lockton, Nestle Premium Waters, Selfbook, Virdee, Mews, Englander, StayBoutique, and Boutique Money Group. Boutique Sponsors included Solonis, Orana Software, Chicago Marketing Consultancy, and Dragonfly Strategists. Lifestyle Sponsors included Salesforce, Hireology, Lightspeed, Cloud5 Communications, Marsh McLennan Agency, Studio Nilebrand, Vaask, World Cinema, ThinkReservations, Kickfin, and TakeUp. Supporting Partners included Linda Kasian Photography, Art of Tea, Bellocq Tea, Copper Cow Coffee, Good Pharma, Public Goods, Sunraysia, and Vacation. Media Partners included Hotel Executive, Hotel News Now, Hotel Online, Hospitality Net, The Lodging Conference, Boutique Design, Hospitality Design, Hotel Business, Skift, and TravelDailyNews.

View images from the conference here.
View the winners of the 2022 BLLA Boutique Lifestyle Hospitality Awards here.

Noteworthy quotes from the conference stage:

- “There is no perfect tech stack; don't build for just a day-one experience. It has to be interactive. Make your tech companies sweat." - Richard Valtr, Founder of Mews
- “If you believe in your dream and you make it energetic, then things are going to happen for you and for your business.” - Alejandra DeLuca, Owner of Malibu Meditations Journey
- “Branding is the embodiment of a living, breathing organism, and it is not just a logo. It is how a brand moves through the world; how they walk, how they talk, what they look like, the colors they use, and the emotions that they conjure.” - Tracy Campbell, Design Director at The Brand Terminal
- “Whatever we are going through as a society, as a collective, is happening to our employees and to our community. We are all connected.” - Darlene Cordero, Director of Talent Relations and Outreach at Chopra Global

Frances Kiradjian
Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA)
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