Industry Update
Press Release15 December 2020

Top hospitality executives come together to support the boutique movement, lead by The Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association

The official association to the world’s authentic boutique hotels, BLLA, proudly announces it’s Board of Advisors and Committees for 2021

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BLLA logo 2019

Los Angeles - BLLA, the Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association and Founder and CEO, Frances Kiradjian, are pleased to announce that over 40 iconic and up-and-coming executives are confirmed to be a part of the Board of Advisors and various Committees for 2021. The top agenda items for these teams include supporting independent boutique hotels and small brands through the pandemic and into the beginning of profitability. These executives will assist the association in membership expansion, program planning, and a broader educational program for members. The sector has clearly risen in its popularity due to the changing landscape and preference of boutique hotels for investors, operators, and the traveling public.

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By banding together in a type of "think tank," these creators, disruptors, and innovators will lay the continued groundwork for boutique hotels to continue to flourish authentically. Their work with BLLA will be integral to ensuring that the next generation of hospitality is one that is genuine, unique, profitable, and inspiring. The 2021 Board of Advisors and Association Committees have a vast array of knowledge in all parts of hospitality, but with a keen passion for the boutique sector. They have all committed to supporting the BLLA mission:

  • 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 hospitality industry. To build on our now 12-year legacy of reimagining the multifaceted future of boutique hotels and the boutique lifestyle—together.

Specifically, the Board of Advisors will be the core group who will help guide the association and provide valuable insights as travel resumes and hotels return to a sense of renewed beginnings, working closely with their communities. The Board will be structured to also provide direction and focus on connecting hoteliers with resources that are appropriate and friendly to boutiques, as well as helping strengthen the boutique community into a cohesive global working group that furthers the segment. There are many projects on the schedule for 2021 including data gathering and research, defining the community as new entities are purchased or merged with other boutique groups (trending), and supporting financial institutions and investors in understanding the many benefits of operating a boutique hotel post-pandemic.

The Board will be lead by BLLA Founder & CEO, Frances Kiradjian, who will continue her role as Chairwoman. Kiradjian states that "the top priorities for the 2021 agenda will be to continue the accelerated movement of investors into the independent boutique segment, supporting hotels through the crisis by offering complimentary services as well as branded properties that want to join the independent upscale ranks, advocating on their behalf globally, educating the industry and the public on the authenticity of boutiques, and growing the direct booking channel through stay-boutique.com. We are committed to also ensuring that the boutique ethos does not become a formula that is replicated - but that it holds true to its original essence."

Introducing the 2021 BLLA Board of Advisors:

Amber Asher, President and General Counsel, Standard Hotels
Ariela Kiradjian, Partner & COO, BLLA
Carolyn Schneider, Partner & President, Casetta Group
Chris King, Chief Development Officer, Salamander Hotels & Resorts
Dan Daley, Chief Operating Officer, Relevant Group
Daniel C. Peek, President - Hotel Group, Hodges Ward Elliott
David Bowd, Founder & CEO, Salt Hotels
Frances Kiradjian, Chairwoman, Founder & CEO, BLLA
Gigi Vega, General Manager, The Wall Street Hotel
Jack Westergom, Founder & Managing Director, Manhattan Hospitality Advisors
Jagruti Panwala, President, Wealth Protection Strategies, Past Chairwoman, AAHOA
Jennifer Barnwell, President, Curator Hotel Collection
Jennifer Hawkins, Founder & CEO, Hawkins International PR
Kia Weatherspoon, President, Determined by Design
Luis Gallotti. Co-Founder, Amek Group
Mark Keiser, Chief Development Officer, SH Hotels & Resorts
Omar Palacios, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer & Partner, Geolo Capital
Phil Hospod, Founder & CEO, Dovetail + Co
Rami Zeidan, Founder & CEO, Life House
Rani Gharbie, Head of Acquisitions & Development, The Pod Hotels
Rob Blood, Founder, Lark Hotels
Ross Walker, Founder, FOUND Places
Samantha Ahuja, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig
Tammy Farley, Co-Founder, The Rainmaker Group

The Committees currently include Education, Program Planning, and Membership. The executives contributing their time and energy to the association are committed to participating and many are continuing in their roles for 2021. BLLA Partner and Advisory Board Member, Ariela Kiradjian, states that "we welcome their viewpoint and input and are truly grateful to our team of thought leaders who are donating their time to support the most highly sought after sector in hospitality, the authentic boutique hotels of the world. We are optimistic and excited about the future."

New Committee Members include Denise Korn with Gensler, Cara Federici with tech theory group, Andrew Freeman of af&co, Regina Connell of Bull Stockwell Allen, Christian Holmsen of rezStream, Tiffany Lin of ATLIST, Robert Stevenson of INTELITY, Jonathan Falik of JF Capital, Kevin Rohani of sbe, Allie Hope of Virgin Hotels, James Chappell of Horwath HTL, Kevin Davis of JLL, Moniqua Lane of The Downtown Clifton Hotel, Rani Gharbie of Pod Hotels, Ronit Copeland of Copeland Hospitality, John Keeling of Valencia Group, Romy Bhojwani of Yours Truly DC, Jamila Ross of The Copper Door B&B, Lori Christopherson of Lutron Electronics and Savannah Fox of Cuyama Buckhorn.

We invite you to explore all of our Board and Committee members who have continued their journey with us and those who have just begun, here.

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About the Boutique & Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA)

Founded in 2009, the Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA) is the official association for the world's top visionaries in the boutique lifestyle industry. Membership with the BLLA includes not just a strengthened sense of community—it offers all the resources necessary for small and independent businesses to thrive in this growing sector, including access to distribution channels, marketing tools, webinars, white papers, reports about the evolving boutique landscape, and more. The organization promotes connection, education, and advocacy. As a pioneer in forecasting the boutique movement, the BLLA's network has grown beyond its hotel foundation to welcome more passionate entrepreneurs, businesses, and purveyors that amplify the boutique lifestyle. BLLA is a catalyst for trends and the future of boutique. blla.org

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