Category: Events

How the BLLA Leadership Symposium is Raising the Bar for Attendees and Sponsors

BLLA is excited to announce that we are changing the face of our conferences and taking the entire experience to the next level for both our attendees and our sponsors. The Leadership Symposium is happening Oct. 21-23 in Santa Monica, Ca and will focus on Leadership and Innovation.

BLLA is dedicated to taking a fragmented industry and uniting the world’s independent boutique and lifestyle hotels through a robust network of industry experts, thought-leaders, suppliers, and other resources. This conference is a chance for all of these individuals to meet in real-time.

Here are just a few of the ways we’re focusing on making the Leadership Symposium a better experience for both attendees and sponsors:


We have curated amazing all new content this year and have an innovative conference prepared for you with expert speakers, boutique companies and inspiring discussions. These speakers include the Founder & President of Hawkins International PR, Managing Director of Hospitality of Related / Equinox, the Vice President of Gettys and many more. Check out the full list here.

Attendee gifts and gift bags

In past years, we have always handed out an “attendee bag” at the Registration desk at the conference. Additionally, many of you hand out items at your booth or table. We noticed that both of these models make it very difficult for attendees (to handle a bulky bag and walk into the ballroom or walk around the exhibit space at the same time). It’s very uncomfortable and distracting.

This year we’re changing the model around so that both attendees and sponsors have a better way of connecting.

  1. Welcome Gift Bag for attendees. This is for attendees checking into the Fairmont Hotel where they would find a nice surprise waiting in their room.
  2. Gifts for the conference opening session. These gifts will be placed at each seat in the Ballroom. Room will be set up classroom style, so the gift will sit on the table in front of each chair.
  3. You can also sponsor a morning beverage. As an example, we’ve had Bloody Mary’s served with a toast. Bellini’s could also be served as people enter the Ballroom. (We would assist with setting this up.)
  4. The fourth option is to have your items to be placed at the gala dinner. These gifts will be at each dinner place setting in the Ballroom. They must be small and compact in nature in order to fit at each place setting.

We are BOUTIQUE after all, so we’re excited to step up to a new method of connecting with attendees that last long after the conference ends! If you’re interested in sponsoring or exhibiting the conference, click here for more info. Interested in attending? Join us now!

BLLA was founded in 2009 to unite the world’s collection of boutique & lifestyle properties and the suppliers that sustain them. BLLA’s leading network helps give equal opportunities to those not normally able to compete in this chain-dominated industry. Today the association has more than 750 members.

Women in Hospitality & Tourism

9 Ways to Drive Success for Today’s Leading Women Executives in Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality

The Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network held it’s inaugural conference July 30-31 at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena. The high level takeaways from the event are in the article entitled “9 Ways to Drive Success for Today’s Leading Women Executives in Travel, Tourism, and Hospitality” with the link to read the entire article below.

Women in the industry are continuously looking for ways to connect and TIEWN was created on LinkedIn to accomplish just that with the group now more than 8,100 professionals around the world.

The gap between the number of women and men, who occupy top spots at companies, boardrooms, and conferences, continues to be wide.

Executive Women's Conference 2014
Executive Women’s Conference 2014

While the female perspective of two of the largest hotel conferences in the U.S. this year was largely missed (149 men speakers compared to only 14 female speakers at a recent New York hotel conference and 179 men compared to 27 women speakers at a Los Angeles hotel conference), more and more women are stepping into the industry.

TIEWN Conference - Wellness Panel
Executive Women’s Conference 2014

As the only association focused on boutique hotels globally, the BLLA (Boutique Lifestyle & Lodging Association) set out to uncover key insights and perspectives to drive success for today’s top women executives and CEOs in the travel and hospitality sector.

At the inaugural Travel Industry Executive Women’s Network Conference, women could find insights and guidance from some of the most respected top executives in the travel and hospitality industries on how to improve their status, grow their companies, and ultimately excel.

Read the entire report:  CLICK HERE

Life and all it holds for us in this industry

I have been remiss in keeping up with this Blog.  No excuses, so here I/we are again to talk about life.

What brought me to talking about life was an email from one of my staff about the passing of a leader in travel and tourism who I have known since my first day working in the industry with Carlson Travel.

Michelle Morgan, CEO at Signature Travel, worked tirelessly over so many years in the industry and made a terrific number of contributions to travel agents and suppliers to travel and tourism.  I remember her brilliance at Carlson with fond memories.  She was always so creative and so committed to whatever project she was working on.

We always hope, through our careers, that someone will notice the good that we are doing and hope that we can achieve this recognition during our time alive on earth.   Personally, I know so many people in our industry who give of themselves, of their capital and of their heart to helping others.

I make it a goal to ensure they are not forgotten and are celebrated in some way during their lives.  If you know of someone who deserves to be celebrated, you may email me for recognition here or enter them into our AWARDS for Person of the Year, or Hotelier of the Year.  Here is the link:



Frances Kiradjian
Founder and Chairwoman

Authenticity – have it and win!

When searching for a new car, what do you take into account before making the final decision?

Price, gas mileage efficiency, and safety features are all common answers. But even more importantly, the authenticity and dependability of the car and brand weigh significantly into your decision.

The same is true when deciding which hotel to stay at. You look for properties that are committed to the guests and offer authentic services. The Boutique and Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) resonates with this idea of authenticity and ensures that this theme is apparent in every aspect of the organization. Within the hospitality industry, it is imperative not to confuse imitation with legitimacy.

In uniting boutique and lifestyle properties all around the globe, BLLA assures authenticity is displayed in all areas of involvement in order to enhance the image of the members. When securing a new property, a vetting process is conducted to uncover all features of the hotel. It is essential for the property to exhibit dependability with their interactions with guests, vendors, as well as their own employees. This commitment to the authenticity of their approach is vital to BLLA. Without credibility, boutique properties lose their main asset, customers. Guests become apprehensive if they believe the endeavors or service offerings are fabricated.

In addition to obtaining credible boutique and lifestyle properties, the authenticity of BLLA events is highly regarded and paramount to the organization. In connecting boutique/lifestyle properties and suppliers, again this theme of authenticity must be presented by BLLA itself, projecting their legitimacy within the hospitality industry. BLLA makes sure that all aspects of their conferences and programs are genuine, ranging from the speakers to the actual venue. It is critical for BLLA to demonstrate authenticity to strengthen the reputation of their properties and the suppliers that sustain them.