Sincerely, BLLA

An Interview with Deborah O’Donnell

The BLLA Events Team sits down with Deborah O’Donnell, Director Strategic Sales, Lodging & Institutions at DIRECTV, as she prepares to participat...

The BLLA Events Team sits down with Deborah O’Donnell, Director Strategic Sales, Lodging & Institutions at DIRECTV, as she prepares to participate in the 2023 Boutique Hotel Investment Conference on June 7-8.

BLLA: What are you hoping to get out of your participation in the Boutique Hotel Investment Conference?

DO: I love attending these conferences as there’s always so much to learn. I’m looking forward to learning more about the overall trends, challenges, and needs facing the boutique hotel investment and management community as it relates to DIRECTV’s offerings so we can help to meet their needs, and of course, the opportunity to network.

BLLA: How did you come to enter the hospitality industry?

DO: After 14 years of voice, data, video, and telephone solution sales within the Enterprise Commercial space, I had the opportunity to work with a hotelier who was developing a new hotel property in Chicago. While all businesses need technology, I was quickly learning all aspects of technology needs specific to the hospitality industry. I found that I was really enjoying the ability to assist with providing solutions that helped shape the hotel’s brand image, improved employee efficiency, and created a positive guest experience. Overall, the conversations were interesting and exciting to me – and ultimately led to a hospitality-focused shift in my career… and that was over 11 years ago!

BLLA: What does boutique mean to you?

DO: Boutique invokes many meanings for me. Boutique hotels strive to provide guests with an elevated experience—from the cuisine to the customized local décor and concierge services. Boutique aims to provide a truly local experience, making the hotel its own destination. You tend to see more effort and personality put into the design process to create a unique concept and ambiance with unexpected extras to truly provide an exceptional guest experience.

BLLA: What are the top three trends that you see in the boutique hotel investment space?


  1. Shifting demographics: As Millennials and Gen Z grow as a hotel-going market, you see hotels adapting their services accordingly. One example is the increasing number of digital nomads who look to combine work with travel and stay at boutique hotels for longer periods.
  2. Staffing shortages: High turnover in the hospitality industry has left hotels with lean teams that rely on automation and digital processes. 
  3. Contactless service: Guests want the safety and convenience of contactless service. Innovations like smart locks, digital guidebooks, and more make it possible for boutique hotels to help meet these guest expectations.

BLLA: What is the mission statement of your company?

DO: DIRECTV’s mission is to aggregate, curate, and deliver entertainment with our exceptional and innovative services. 

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