Tag Archives: boutique hotel association

BLLA – Hotel Industry App

The Best Travel Apps on the Market

We take our smartphones along wherever we go these days, whether we’re at home or on vacation. Our phones have become a tool for so many things, why not put them to use while we’re traveling?

Our friends at Roomer Travel have put together this handy guide to some of the best apps for your smartphone that will take your next vacation to a whole new level!

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1. Seat Alerts by ExpertFlyer (Free on iOS and Android) – Do you have a preference for which seat you take while flying? Get back in control of where you sit with this great app. All you have to do is let it know which seat you want on your next flight and the app will let you know if and when that seat becomes available.

2. WalkJogRun GPS Running Routes ($4.99 on iOS) – So you love running and you hesitate to go on vacation because you’re afraid it will disrupt your routine? With this app you can stay in shape and keep up with your regimen. It finds the safest running routes in millions of cities all over the world and lets you choose your running level in order to give you the best results possible.

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3. Chefs Feed (Free on iOS and Android) – Don’t know where to eat when you go on vacation? Who better to trust than a group of chefs? Get reviews on local restaurants by top chefs from all around the U.S., Canada and London.

4. City Maps 2Go Pro Offline Maps ($2.99 on iOS and Android) – Gone are the days when you need an Internet connection on your smartphone in order to access maps. Offline maps help you navigate your way around a city without having to purchase expensive data packages.

5. Wikitude World Browser (Free on iOS and Android) – Ever wished you could just point to a building or monument and know all that there is to know about it? Well, now you can. With Wikitude Word Browser you can literally point your phone’s camera at a landmark to discover more information about it.

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6. Touchnote (Free on iOS and Android) – Nobody really sends postcards anymore, but what if you could send them straight from your phone? You can use Touchnote to create your own postcards to send your friends and family straight from your smartphone!

Passionate hotel owners

http://youtu.be/AtYu1UVjfeI (BLLA Video)

There is nothing like coming into contact with an independent hotel owner in the boutique, lifestyle or luxury category.

Their passion shows in their eyes, in their every movement and in just about everything they do online or off.

Why is that?

Basically, they are on their own, making decisions about everything including what/where/when & why. Their sounding board is either themselves, trusted friends and family or consultants and business associates they choose to work with.

They get into the business and some become passionate only after they’ve opened the hotel and see first-hand their vision come to life.  “It’s like birthing a baby,” says Tim Dixon, owner of the Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee.  The heart and soul of these properties mostly are tied into an owner, even if the hired designers and architects take a lead position.  They don’t have a rule-book with strict policies and procedures to follow.  They are the P&P’s at the end of the day.

On their own — reminds me of the ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) tagline “Without a travel agent, you’re on your own!” In today’s world of traveling, it’s kind of nice to have someone backing you up in case you need help or advice or just a sounding board to help you make the right decision so you aren’t floating around out there without a safety net, wasting both time and money, and with so many choices online, this is not hard to do!

For boutique & lifestyle hotels, they also need that back-up, that sounding board, that one place to find experts and relevant information to help them through the thick and the thin of hospitality ownership in this special category.

That’s where BLLA comes in. The association’s mission is to raise the awareness of boutique & lifestyle properties everywhere on earth. Not an easy task. But one that is becoming more and more urgent and necessary. With new global property owners joining everyday, the larger number of members will mean that our voice gets louder and louder.

No matter who you are, if you believe in our mission, come join us today. http://www.blla.org/join-blla.htm


I discovered this great article on this subject matter at trendsetting.com and absolutely believe it applies to the boutique and lifestyle sector of hospitality.

We’d love to hear from you and who your vote would be who represents CLEAN SLATE BRANDS in our sector of the industry!  21C Museum Hotels, SLS and Virgin come to mind. 


There’s a profound shift in power taking place in the business arena. With a whole new breed of exceptional new brands living by the rules of Business 3.0, consumers are now attracted to unproven and unknown brands the way they were attracted to established brands in the past. In fact, ‘established’ is now often just another word for tired if not tainted. The future belongs to CLEAN SLATE BRANDS.

CLEAN SLATE BRANDS:   Newer, better, faster, cleaner, more open and responsive; consumers are rushing to CLEAN SLATE BRANDS and are now  lavishing love, attention and trust on brands without heritage and history.


Why for consumers, ‘new’ now truly means ‘better’

The consumer arena has never been more fixated on the ‘new’. Thanks to the democratization and globalization of innovation (not to mention the celebration of entrepreneurship), brands and individuals from all corners of the world are now working around the clock to dream up and launch endless new products and services, that are truly better and more exciting than current offerings. Lower barriers to entry has gone from buzzphrase to reality, especially online.

And to underscore the ‘for and by’ element of the democratization of innovation, new players are by default more nimble and laser-focused on what consumers want now (as opposed to yesterday) than the bigger legacy-laden brands they compete with.

So from being something that was pushed to consumers by businesses (‘new and improved’), the ‘new’ is now subject to an increasingly strong pull from consumers. Excited by positive experiences of a ‘new’ that is genuinely ‘better’, consumers are hungry for more.


Why consumers are immediately comfortable with, even prefer, turning to CLEAN SLATE BRANDS

The whole concept of ‘brands’ rests on the idea that consumers need recognizable, trusted symbols, honed over many years, to help them navigate the wealth of available choices. However this idea is being swept aside in a business arena* now characterized by INSTANT TRUST.

* This trend is most relevant in mature economies, where trust in big business has never been lower: only 28% trust big business in the UK, 30% in Japan, 32% in Australia, 33% in the US and 34% in Canada. In emerging markets however, consumers’ trust levels are much higher: 83% in China, 72% in Turkey, 65% in Brazil and India (Havas, January 2013). The question is: will big business maintain this trust?

Four forces are making consumers immediately comfortable with (and even prefer) turning to CLEAN SLATE BRANDS:


Now that experiences are increasingly shared, and even the newest of the new is instantly reviewed and rated, consumers have THE F-FACTOR, and feel more confident in being earlier and earlier adopters.

92% trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising, up 18% since 2007. Online consumer reviews are the second most trusted source of brand information with a 70% trust rating, up 15% since 2008. Television ads were trusted by only 47%, down 24% since 2009.
(Nielsen, April 2012)


CLEAN SLATE BRANDS better reflect the zeitgeist. The fact that they are (by definition) newly established, means that they often have ‘new’ business values – such as higher environmental, ethical and social standards – deeply baked into their business models and practices. Just witness how the values of local, storied, sustainable, progressive new businesses have been consistently appropriated by big businesses, as they stumble to catch up here.

The average age of brands in Millward Brown’s BrandZ Top 100 Global Brands Report has fallen consistently, from 84 in 2006 to 68 in 2012. 
(Millward Brown, May 2012)


CLEAN SLATE BRANDS’ simple, lean operations (everything from fair labor practices, transparent supply chains and clean design) are easily understandable – and therefore trusted – by consumers. And with scandal after scandal (from financial products to horsemeat) being blamed on excess ‘complexity’, who can blame them?

Brands that simplify customer decision-making are 115% more likely to be recommended.      (Corporate Executive Board, May 2012)


Business practices are now totally transparent (and if not, merely waiting to be exposed). CLEAN SLATE BRANDS know this. Consumers know that CLEAN SLATE BRANDS know this. Which explains why, on top of the fact that CLEAN SLATE BRANDS, almost by definition, cannot have sinned yet (they’ve just started, after all), consumers trust them to act correctly in the future too.

64% of global consumers think most companies are trying to be responsible only to improve their image.   (Havas Media, 2011)     

Or, to put it another way, many ‘old’ brands were set up in the era of industrial capitalism, when secrecy was a source of competitive advantage and shareholders encouraged pursuit of profit at any cost. Now the world has changed, but even older brands that want to reposition themselves have a hard time wrestling with internal fiefdoms, convoluted legacy systems and opaque supply chains (something that many big company readers of our Trend Briefings might have first hand experience of ;-).


Why using or buying from CLEAN SLATE BRANDS feels more meaningful

CLEAN SLATE BRANDS are natives in a land where communication with brands is two-way, participatory and less reverential, and as such can connect with consumers in a way that older brands often struggle to.

Whether it’s through offering financial support, by helping to shape a brand’s operations, or even by contributing to the product itself (see the Lockitron, Coffee Joulies and Waze examples below), customers of CLEAN SLATE BRANDS often feel more in control – a basic human desire – and that they have a meaningful relationship with the brand*.

* Yes, we too hate the idea that all consumers want to ‘have a relationship’ with any brand they buy from ;-) There are many purchases that are, and will remain, purely functional. But even in traditionally ‘low involvement’ categories such as domestic care, CLEAN SLATE BRANDS with strong stories and identities can thrive. Witness for example how Method’s design-led, eco-friendly products succeeded against P&G’s and Unilever’s.

Don’t forget to tell us your vote for who you think the CLEAN SLATE BRANDS in boutique or lifestyle or luxury hospitality are. 

Boutique Airlines

Certain international airline carriers plus major carriers with unique routes and services can be a great add-on to a boutique/lifestyle hotel stay. 

Recent experience on Air Tahiti Nui which flies from Los Angeles to Paris was a huge surprise.  It fits beautifully with a boutique trip and includes many elements you would expect to find at a great property including design, service, amenities.

This is a small airline and operates one of the youngest fleets of A340-300 aircraft.  Taken from their site:

The airline has headquarters in Papeete and operates from Faa’a International Airport on the island of Tahiti. The company was founded in 1996 and commenced flight operations in 1998. The Government of French Polynesia is the major shareholder in the airline along with Tahitian private investors.

As the international airline of Tahiti, our mission is to develop tourism and trade from key world markets to Tahiti & Her Islands, to provide a high-quality airline for the people of French Polynesia, and to become the first choice of travelers on the routes that we fly.

Our flight crew operating the Air Tahiti Nui A340 aircraft is among the most experienced in the skies. Flight Captains average over 10,000 hours and 15 years of airline service while our Tahitian cabin crew has been carefully selected and extensively trained to provide the highest standards in passenger safety and comfort. Every member of the Air Tahiti Nui crew is fluent in French, Tahitian, and English in addition to Japanese for the crew on our Japanese routes. 

French Polynesian Hospitality!