Uniting the Boutique Community to Amplify the Lucrative Future of Boutique Hotels
Leading minds in boutique hospitality create a one-of-a-kind agenda for the 11th annual Boutique Hotel Investment Conference
Los Angeles, CA - The Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA) is returning to the live stage with the 11th annual Boutique Hotel Investment Conference on June 7-8, 2023. Boutique experts and visionaries will gather in New York City’s Florence Gould Hall to better understand the fundamentals of hotel investment as it relates to the evergrowing boutique landscape.
Taking the stage are hospitality icons like Andrew Zobler - The Sydell Group, Jason, Larry, and Michael Pomeranc - SIXTY Hotels, Andrea Grigg - JLL Hotels & Hospitality, Richard Valtr - Mews, Chris Hemmeter - Thayer Ventures, Raul Leal - SH Hotels & Resorts, Rafael Museri - Selina, and Amanda Hite - STR to name a few. The roster of leaders includes dynamic owners, investors, and developers who will ignite conversations about the current trends and projected growth for the thriving sector that is boutique hospitality.
“There is always excitement in the air when BLLA returns to New York to meet with our industry’s top hoteliers,” stated Frances Kiradjian, Founder & CEO of BLLA. “This year’s conference is the first time, in its 11-year history, to hold it over 2 days. We’ve added extra time for networking, more active sessions with audience participation throughout, and a later start time which has been requested by attendees.”
Key topics on the two-day agenda include:
Capital Markets Overview
The Legal Matters
Debt & Equity
A Candid Talk on Technology
Update on European Boutique Hotel Investment Landscape
F&B as a Recipe for Success
The Realities of Asset Management
Development: Transforming Vision into Reality
Ariela Kiradjian, COO & Partner of BLLA, added, “By uniting top minds in the boutique hospitality industry, this event showcases the shared embodiment of leadership, innovation, knowledge, and passion for ‘the boutique lifestyle’.” The diverse programming is especially interactive with formats such as mentorship sessions, in-person networking, debates, evidence-based think tanks, keynotes, case studies, and more.
Companies speaking include: SH Hotels & Resorts, STR, JLL, The Sydell Group, Citi, Thayer Ventures, SIXTY Hotels, Selina, Main Street Hospitality Group, HFTP, PKF hotelexperts, Bridgeton, Global Holdings Management Group, HVS Americas, Mews, Auberge Resorts Collection, Beaumier, Goldman Sachs, Nestle Premium Waters, Roomza, citizenM, Dragonfly Strategists, Corporate Spending Innovations, Greenberg Traurig, Prospect Ridge, cb5 Hospitality Group, JMBM, EOS Hospitality, FOC, Gansevoort Meatpacking, The Canyon Group, Cedar Capital Partners, and StayBoutique™.
Tickets are available here. There are discounts for current members of BLLA. If you would like to become a member to receive the Member rate, apply here for BLLA. Student pricing is available. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will be an exclusive digital Webex networking platform for attendees to build their own personal profiles and connect with one another throughout the conference, as well as receive communication such as the agenda and other announcements in real-time.
The network is grateful for the support of the current Headline Sponsors, including: HFTP (exclusive association sponsor), Nestle Premium Waters, Dragonfly Strategists, Lockton, Greenberg Traurig, Roomza, Mews, Pace Revenue, and Corporate Spending Innovations, as well as its Boutique Sponsor: Lily Jack, and Lifestyle Sponsors: cb5 Hospitality Group and Staypineapple.
Sponsorships are also available and offer a range of digital and in-person benefits, such as speaking opportunities and marketing promotions before and during the event. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Check out some video reels from past events here: 1-BLLA conference (the 2022 Conference at The Plaza Hotel), and 2-BLLA conference (showcasing Florence Gould Hall).
BLLA, in collaboration with ROOMZA, hosted a Social Club Dinner Party on April 12th
The goal was to bring top minds in the independent boutique hotel space together in a closed, intimate setting to discuss worldly topics and opportunities for collaboration
Los Angeles, CA - The 4th iteration of BLLA’s intimate Social Club Dinner Party was held on April 12th in downtown Los Angeles in the private room called “The Apartment,” located on the 2nd floor of The Hoxton Hotel.
The evening conversations were poignant and interesting as each attendee was offered a particular question and subject to address during the dinner. As wine and great food flowed, the hoteliers were lively and completely engaged with each other. “It is such a pleasure to experience our boutique community sharing their stories and connecting on such an intimate level,” said Frances Kiradjian, CEO of BLLA. “The measure of success of any event is when the wait staff literally needs to turn off the lights because no one wants to leave. It is such a special moment when that happens, even though we know we could have gone on for hours.”
BLLA Social Club Dinner Los Angeles 2023, sponsored by ROOMZA.
Frances Kiradjian, CEO of BLLA
The Hoxton, Downtown LA
In collaboration with ROOMZA as the sponsor of the event, BLLA invited several boutique hotel owners and small brands as well as BLLA staff to the event including: Alex Kirkwood, Founder & CEO, Kirkwood Collection - Curtis Crimmins, CEO, Roomza - Dave Neupert, Owner, Gold-Diggers - Jeremiah Johnson, VP & Head of Business Development, Roomza - John Flannigan, Founder & CEO, Wylder Hotels - Kara Bartelt, GM, The Hoxton - Max Waitt, Co-Founder, Orli La Jolla - Maya Mallick, Hotelier & Creative Director, The Culver Hotel - Ramin Kolahi, Principal, Lighthouse Investments, LLC - Sam Spring, Founder & CFO, Roomza.
"In the world of hospitality, it is the spirit of community that fuels innovation, fostering connections that spark the creation of unforgettable experiences, and transforming buildings into the boutique hotels that define our industry – and travel itself,” stated Curtis Crimmins, Founder of Roomza. “The gathering of lodging innovators and tastemakers, curated by BLLA and hosted by Roomza, last week in Los Angeles was an evening of culinary delight and illuminating conversation igniting a fusion of ideas and forging lasting connections that will undoubtedly shape the future of hospitality.”
The open dialogue covered an array of topics such as the hotel booking experience, the onsite technology experience, best practices for team building, the characteristics of a successful hotel lobby, the key to a healthy relationship with your stakeholders, investment strategies & outcomes, and the wholehearted joys of being an independent, boutique hotelier.
Curtis Crimmins & Sam Spring, Founders of Roomza
Top minds collaborated in an intimate setting
Kara Bartelt, The Hoxton & Dave Neupert, Gold-Diggers
Alex Kirkwood, Kirkwood Collection & Jeremiah Johnson, Roomza
View images from the event here.
Past press:1 - Mews Dinner 20212 - BLLA at the Inhabit Hotel London 20193 - 2018 London at The Hoxton plus Scotland
Noteworthy Quotes: “BLLA hosted an intimate dinner party for industry tastemakers that was a wonderful experience and unlike anything I had been to before. As a novice in the industry, with a newly established boutique hotel brand, it was so enriching to hear from successful hoteliers and industry executives on their experience, passion, and dedication to the boutique community. The open discussions left me with new insights, connections, and knowledge, as well as an excitement for what is to come in the years ahead. I feel honored to have been invited to this dinner party and cannot wait for the next one.” - Max Waitt, Co-Founder, Orli La Jolla
“People get excited about building things that haven’t been done before.” - Curtis Crimmins, CEO, Roomza
“Being an independent hotelier is about being the next steward in telling a story/continuing a legacy.” - Alex Kirkwood, Founder & CEO, Kirkwood Collection
“It’s a very human business. Not one day is ever the same.” - Maya Mallick, Hotelier & Creative Director, The Culver Hotel
“A successful lobby is one where the neighbors come in.” - Kara Bartelt, GM, The Hoxton
“Music can transform the industry and is the fabric of what we’re doing. Everything is connected.” - Dave Neupert, Owner, Gold-Diggers
Annual TIEWN Gathering Sets New Paradigm for Building a Community of Women
Annual TIEWN Gathering Sets New Paradigm for Building a Supportive Community of Professional Women Who Can Help Companies Close the Gender Gap. Interactive Sessions Encourage Sharing of Best Practices in Mentorship, Raising Capital, Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, Financial & Personal Well-being, and the Industry’s Formidable Technology Solutions.
In celebration of Women’s History Month and facing the realities underscored by March 14 as Equal Pay Day, the Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network (TIEWN) held its annual Women in Travel & Hospitality Conference on March 2 & 3 at the Westlake Village Inn (Los Angeles). An intimate group of female (and male) visionaries came together to embrace the beauty of our humanity and recognize the undeniable power of womanhood in today’s world.
With an overarching theme of “Finding Your Circle of Influence,” the two-day conference, powered by BLLA, was packed with inspiring panels, breakout sessions, workshops, discussions, and open Q&A that emphasized key takeaways including 1) wellness is redefined with a deep focus on F&B, as well as aging considerations, 2) being a successful entrepreneur entails not getting too bogged down with numbers and personalizing the customer journey, and 3) there is great value in identifying your circle of influence which becomes your personal board of advisors.
Founded in 2008 by travel industry mainstay, Frances Kiradjian, TIEWN’s mission is to champion women in the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries, and the network is committed to passing the torch to the next generation of daring female leaders to the more than 13,000 global members in the network. Kiradjian’s daughter, Ariela, not only helps her run the five divisions of BLLA, but she also acts as host and wellness activist for the event. Ariela’s passion for wellness is woven throughout the agenda, which for the first time included a panel of Wellness Experts.
Ariela Kiradjian (BLLA), Tracy Campbell (The Brand Terminal), and Darlene Cordero (Wellness Culture) discuss creating community and finding mentors with like-minded goals to help women navigate their careers.
The raw, straightforward, and mindful conversations were guided by an incredible roster of facilitators, such as Marissa Hermer - Co-Owner/Partner of Boujis Group, Jersey Banks - Founder/CEO of Urban Cowboy Hotels, Diana Stobo - Owner & CEO of The Retreat Costa Rica, Jenesis Laforcarde - Founder of The Jenesis House, and Tammy Pahel - VP of Spa & Wellness at Carillon Miami Wellness Resort.
The event marked the first time that TIEWN incorporated a live Zoom session into its programming. Aradhana Khowala, CEO of Aptamind Partners and a globally recognized expert on the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries, lit up the virtual stage with her powerful keynote on the data behind female representation in leadership positions.
“Please do not underestimate your own power to make things better. Every second of your time and every second of your attention can be powerful because you are powerful. If we have the attention and resources devoted to advancing women into leadership roles, we can close the gender gap,” stated Aradhana Khowala, CEO & Founder of Aptamind Partners.
Bold anecdotes were organically shared throughout the entire conference, and these words struck a chord with the attendees. One standout was shared by Kari Cardinale from the Modern Elder Academy – life is a series of transitions and our “Third Act” – from 50 years old and onward – should and can be meaningful and productive.
During the End-of-Day Reflections discussion, Jessica Kramer, Founder of a Hospitality Advisory as well as a tech executive, stated, “The thing that came to mind today was how many women in this room did not have a blueprint for leadership, and yet so many of us have created our own paths and are doing amazing things as a result. The vulnerability and the willingness to share that feels like a continued conversation from last year’s conference.”
Executive women in travel, tourism, and hospitality unite as a community and develop lasting connections.
To round out the two days, attendees were invited to a closing Moon Circle, followed by an evening reception at the venue’s beautiful wine cellar. The energy and camaraderie did not stop there, as all attendees were given exclusive access to the virtual event platform App. This allowed them to connect with other attendees to continue the conversation beyond the conference, as well as learn about Sponsors and download Resources.
From the sincere testimonials coming in, the 2023 Women in Travel & Hospitality Conference proves to be one for the books. Industry professionals united as a community to embrace their vulnerabilities, share their stories, and rally for an open-minded and open-hearted future for travel, tourism, and hospitality.
TIEWN is grateful for the support of its Headline sponsors: DIRECTV HOSPITALITY, Nestle Premium Waters, Dragonfly Strategists, Lockton, and Greenberg Traurig, as well as its Lifestyle sponsors: Roomza and Studio Nilebrand.
View images from the conference here.
Noteworthy quotes from the conference stage:
“Do the ABCDs: Always Be Collecting Data.” – Marissa Hermer, Co-Owner/Partner of Boujis Group (which includes the restaurants, Olivetta and The Draycott)
“At the end of the day, when you are going to start a business, it’s great to have a great idea, but if you don’t have your bottom line and the foundation taken care of, you can get really far and fall.” – Angela Setters Bessard, CEO of The Real Credit Queen
“Some of the juiciest changes in our life can happen if we really settle into a “messy middle,” and we really savor undoing who we were to explore who we can become.” – Kari Cardinale, SVP of Digital & Alumni Strategy at Modern Elder Academy
“When you’re talking about bringing healthy food into your places of business, the quality of the ingredients is paramount. This is something that is going to define the future of humanity. And, what’s beautiful is that we can all take part in it.” – Oliver English, Co-Founder & CEO of Common Table Creative
Attendees gather for a group photo at the March 2-3 conference by TIEWN & BLLA.
Executive Women in Travel Come Together to Discuss Financial & Personal Wellbeing
Speaker Roster Highlights for TIEWN Conference Held March 2 & 3 in Westlake Village, CA
Los Angeles, CA – With global tourism predicted to reach 80% to 95% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, registrations and the speaker roster for March 2 & 3, Women in Travel & Hospitality (TIEWN) Conference at the Westlake Village Inn in Los Angeles County both reflect that vibrancy.
The agenda of the two-day, interactive event will address the reality that women represent 54% of the workforce in the tourism sector and yet only 4% of the C-Suite positions in tourism are held by women. With a theme of “Finding Your Circle of Influence,” agenda topics will cover technology, business and personal financial wellbeing, mentorship, raising capital, self-growth and tools for mentoring one another along the career path.
“The breadth and depth of wisdom reflected in our roster of speakers this year embodies the sharing mentality that our members embrace, explains Frances Kiradjian, CEO and Founder of both TIEWN and the Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association. Today Frances runs the organizations’ five divisions with her daughter, Ariela Kiradjian, who is especially interested in the recent dynamic growth in wellness offerings in the tourism and hospitality industries.
“Wellness goes a lot deeper than yoga mats,” said Ariela. “Mental health is a big part of wellness and so is how you’re treating your staff and yourself so we will be covering those topics as well.”
Speaker highlights from the two-day conference include the ones below. Please visit BLLAEvents.com for a full list of our facilitators (we call our speakers “facilitators” because they engage with all attendees).
Marissa Hermer – Former star of Bravo’s Ladies of London, Hermer will be sharing her insights from a career as restauranteur, entrepreneur and author. Hermer’s experience working alongside Ian Schrager to open the Grammercy Park Hotel as well as partnering with her husband to open the popular Draycott restaurant in Caruso’s Palisades Village and two celebrity haunts in West Hollywood, Olivetta and Issima, should be of particular interest to the group.
Aradhana Khowala – London based travel, diversity & equality expert who is CEO of Aptamind Partners, offers strategic consultancy in sustainable tourism development. She is recognized as a leader in the industry, named as one of the 100 most powerful in hospitality and 25 most influential women. Aradhana is a speaker on diversity, gender equality, and femtech, highlighting the lack of representation in executive tourism and health research.
Chef Oliver English – Having grown up in his family’s restaurant business, Oliver is the Co-Founder & CEO of Common Table Creative (CTC), an impact-driven production & hospitality company specializing in advancing global food, sustainability and social justice issues. CTC creates films and experiences that bring people together and tell stories about the power of food. He created and is currently producing CTC’s signature documentary, Feeding Tomorrow (FT).
Tammy Pahel – VP of Spa & Wellness at Carillion Miami Wellness Resort and co-founder of Alchemy Wellness Resorts. Pahel has opened 15 different spa properties and exceeds at reading trends, creating strategic alliances with other wellness brands and making hotel spa wellness offerings not just popular but profitable. She will be sharing her story of creating the country’s first Touchless Spa Therapy Circuit during the pandemic, while exceeding revenue expectations.
Jersey Banks – Founder of boutique hotel and lifestyle brand, Urban Cowboy Hotels shares her dynamic and unlikely origin story about how she and her partner evolved their brand – with 4 + hotels under their umbrella in Brooklyn, Nashville, the Catskills and soon Denver – into a community of travelers and artists.
Diana Stobo – Celebrity chef, best-selling author, health and wellness life coach and founder and owner of The Retreat Costa Rica and a soon-to-open Ayurvedic Healing Center and Spa in Costa Rica. She is also the creator of Truth Bar, an innovative prebiotic and probiotic gut health bar. Stobo speaks on a host of subjects, including digestive health, food as a modality for change, hormone balancing, sex, aging well, weight management & wellness travel.
Dr. Marcus Coplin – Medical director for The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs, CO and Murrieta Hot Springs Resort in Murrieta, California where he advises on science-based usage of thermal mineral hot spring water for health. Dr. Coplin writes and teaches extensively on the re-emergence of Health Resort culture and programming in the 21st century health care field and wellness tourism sector.
TIEWN is grateful for the support of its current Headline sponsors which include: DIRECTV HOSPITALITY, Nestle Premium Waters, Dragonfly Strategists, Lockton, and Greenberg Traurig, as well as its Lifestyle sponsors which include: Roomza and Studio Nilebrand.
Women in various sectors within the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries attend the event, including travel advisors, general managers, owners & entrepreneurs, hospitality developers, marketing & sales executives, tour operators, tourism offices, corporate travel managers, cruise line executives, travel and hospitality technology, premium service & solution providers to travel and hospitality, and students
For tickets to the conference, please visit https://registration.socio.events/e/2023tiewn
Media Contact: Kim S. Marshall, firstname.lastname@example.org
BLLA Announces New Inner Circle Club Members for 2023
The exclusive Club welcomes Lockton and Dragonfly Strategists, key supporters of boutique and lifestyle hotels
Los Angeles, CA – The Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA) is elated to announce its newest Inner Circle Club (ICC) members.
The Inner Circle Club is a distinguished network of hospitality companies that are recognized as prominent supporters of BLLA and top leaders in the boutique sector. The newest members, Lockton and Dragonfly Strategists, will join the exclusive club alongside Greenberg Traurig and Nestlé Premium Waters.
BLLA’s Founder & CEO, Frances Kiradjian, and Partner & COO, Ariela Kiradjian, are honored to welcome Lockton, the world's largest privately owned global insurance broker, and Dragonfly Strategists, the hospitality industry’s leading boutique advisory and services firm, to the invitation-only club.
“We are extremely grateful to both Lockton & Dragonfly for their unwavering support of our association over the past few years. It is obvious that they care deeply for the owners, creators, and operators of this sector of hospitality and have a great sense of pride for their organizations and what they have each built. I know they are as excited as we are to include them in this prestigious membership category and welcome them with open arms and hearts,” stated Frances Kiradjian, Founder & CEO of BLLA.
Boutique hospitality is a movement that is paving the way for an immersive, human-centered, and reimagined era of “the boutique lifestyle.” This movement would not exist without leaders who embody the spirit of boutique and believe in boldly advancing the industry’s cultural impact and category innovation.
Andrew Azzarello, Business Insurance and Risk Advisor at Lockton, states, “BLLA is a trailblazer in the hospitality industry. Their dedication to promoting boutique hotels aligns perfectly with our mission to support those dedicated to excellence and individuality. Lockton is thrilled to partner with BLLA and share a common commitment to independence and the belief that true innovation comes from those who are not afraid to challenge the status quo.”
Caryl Helsel, Founder & CEO of Dragonfly Strategists, states, “We are delighted to join as new members of BLLA’s Inner Circle Club. Joining this prestigious group enables us to further our commitment to the boutique, lifestyle, and luxury community, and aligns Dragonfly with some of the best, like-minded professionals in the industry. We look forward to our expanded partnership.”
BLLA is also thrilled to announce that current ICC members, Nestlé Premium Waters and Greenberg Traurig, will be renewing their membership in BLLA’s highly vetted network.
Peter Wright, Division Manager at Nestlé Premium Waters, states, “Nestlé Premium Waters’ San Pellegrino & Acqua Panna brands are delighted to continue our partnership with BLLA as Inner Circle Club members. The unique work BLLA does to bring together boutique hotel industry leaders creates a wonderful opportunity to cultivate new relationships with like-minded hospitality professionals and furthers our ambition to help elevate the guest experience.”
Samantha Ahuja, a shareholder at global law firm Greenberg Traurig LLP in Washington, D.C., states, “Greenberg Traurig is pleased to be a part of BLLA’s Inner Circle Club and to continue to support the organization’s efforts in championing the needs of boutique properties worldwide. The boutique and luxury segment of the hospitality industry is dynamic and growing, and we look forward to helping the association advance its goals.”
Lockton and Dragonfly Strategists will unite with the best in boutique to continue the global mission of BLLA:
To counteract corporate monotony and champion creativity. To forget the forgettable and forge the once-in-a-lifetime. To break down doors and link the most brilliant minds in the industry. To build on our now 10-year legacy of reimagining the multifaceted future of boutique—together.
Please join us in welcoming these new ICC members. BLLA's Inner Circle Club is comprised of trailblazers in their respective spaces whose overall impact will only serve to propel the association and the boutique hospitality industry to new heights. ICC membership includes top sponsorship of BLLA conferences, Committee participation, advertising & marketing benefits, and much more. Contact email@example.com for more information.