Tag: hospitality design

Emerging travel and lifestlye trends in digital publishing

Yesterday, we participated in a webinar with Nxtbook Media on the subject of Digital Publishing. Our founder, Frances Kiradjian, was interviewed by Nxtbook Media, a BLLA Sponsoring company!

Here is the announcement by Nxtbook Media  for more information on the topic of emerging travel and lifestyle trends in digital publishing:

Boutique, lifestyle, hotel and travel industry has emerged as a growing market, especially among travelers looking for a unique or themed experience. But in an increasingly digital world, how can hoteliers and boutique designers remain on the cutting edge and win new business?

Whether targeting travelers always on the go, inns with specialty amenities, or a greater audience with lifestyle living in mind, digital publishing can empower you to make a bigger and better impact. In a webinar presented live Tuesday, May 29th at 2:00 pm ET Nxtbook Media and the Boutique and Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) partner together to bring you the best ideas in using today’s technology to make your materials more compelling.

In this webinar you will discover how several businesses in the industry, including BLLA, have used digital catalogs, brochures and magazines to reach new audiences with their brand. Hear how mobile options fit into the future of the industry, and how you can ensure travelers can find your materials no matter where they are. Get a glimpse into how some businesses seamlessly integrate their current print materials with exciting rich media to inspire travelers to choose their resort, hotel, or lodging. 

Missed the webinar? Well, lucky for you, we have parts of the interview with Frances Kiradjian below. Happy reading!

Tell us a little about yourself and what you’ve been doing professionally.
I’ve spent most of my life in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry.  Funny, but this last week I attended a specialized conference on rfp technology and you had the ability to add a ribbon to your badge.  I selected “Been There, Done That” as it really describes my career in this industry that I absolutely love.  It’s given me and my family a great life and it is chock-full of amazing people and the most interesting news and events in the world.  Who wouldn’t want to experience our globe through the eyes of hospitality?

Tell us a little about BLLA and the boutique/lifestyle hotel industry
BLLA is making big inroads into recognition for the association through worldwide conference participation, marketing and strategic partnership collaboration.  The industry morphs every week and things are in continual motion as far as development, emerging trends and consolidation.  The creative side of this hospitality sector keeps the buzz loud and interest high.

You have been publishing materials digitally for quite some time. What was your first experience with digital publishing, and how did that convince you digital was the way to go?
I first used Nxtbook digital publishing over 15 years ago when I wanted to cut costs on printing, mailing and labor for our monthly newsletters to over 25,000 locations. At the same time, I wanted our company to look cutting-edge on the side of marketing. It was a huge expense and this was an opportunity to make it more convenient and extremely cost effective for our company.  Plus, we actually had more time to work on it because printing, labor and mail time adds up.  So at the end of the day, the best decision we ever made.

What kinds of materials have you made digital? (ex: magazines, brochures, guides)
Hotel Directories
Training Instructions for Portal Use with demos/links

What were your goals or strategy in creating digital publications?
In addition to the above, our goal was to significantly increase our marketing reach while reducing cost.At the same time, it was a real plus too. 

Reduce waste and our carbon footprint. If you’ve ever been to a travel and tourism trade show, the amount of paper waste is quite disturbing!

Enhance the quality of our marketing turning it into a digital showpiece and include links to videos and images as well as auto-linking to our social media sites and websites.

Let’s talk about your newest digital endeavor, the BLLA Award book. You were previously providing readers a PDF version of this book. Why did you decide you wanted a digital version?
Digital allows your readers to better interact with a printed piece, including links as well as provides a higher quality and more professional image of your marketing brochures, thus elevating your company and brand to a much higher level.  Quite simple actually.

What kind of response have you had to the book?
We noticed an uptick in the open rate of our Nxtbook brochure vs. pdf.  Plus, the ability to click on links made it a piece that allowed users to be interactive in so many different ways, like increasing the size or decreasing to page view to glance through the piece before narrowing down what they wanted to focus on.

In a broader view, the boutique industry sets itself apart by offering differentiated product offerings, attention to customized amenities, and disrupting the feel of consistency set by some of the giants like Holiday Inn or the Marriott. How can digital play into that strength?
Digital brochures can engage customers much deeper than trying to click through a website.  Boutique & lifestyle hotels must pay attention to the top technologies in order to be seen as ‘edgy, customer focused, design and creative oriented.’  Digital publishing is one way to do this.

Let’s talk audience. Right now, your primary digital audience is for sponsors and other Boutique and Lifestyle hotels. In what ways do you see the use of digital in your industry expanding to including materials for consumers and guests?
Every hotel website should be thinking about including digital brochures for every area of the hotel as well as one with a general overview.  It should also link to experiential videos (which BLLA also offers members) and have the ability to forward to others.

Interested in learning more about emerging trends in the hospitality industry? Don’t forget to register for the upcoming International Boutique & Lifestyle Leadership Symposium on  October 22-24, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA, USA!



Greetings friends!

We’ve been keeping quite busy here at BLLA!

Our first exciting update comes to you from the infamous Las Vegas Strip! We are up front and center here at the BLLA Booth and will be here until Thursday the 17th! So stop by and say hello. You won’t miss us!

The HD Expo is the premier trade show for the hospitality design industry bringing together over 900 exhibitors and over 7,000 attendees to Las Vegas each May. Presented byHospitality Design magazine, the show is at the forefront of offering the newest and most innovative products and services, encouraging and sharing ideas, providing inspiration and connecting the industry.

BLLA Founder, Frances Kiradjian

We have a shared space with Americhip, the inventors of Video in Print®,  is the innovative mind behind Multisensory advertising technologies. Their beautiful video displays are definitely a sight to see and we are so happy to be here alongside one of our own members!

Beautiful display by Americhip

In other news, we are now on Pinterest. You asked and we pinned!  We have been collecting and pinning away the world’s most interesting hotels and properties. Whether it’s “icy cool hotels” to underwater hideaways, we’re sharing them with you, so follow us and spread the pin! However, we must warn you, there are so many unique and phenomenal properties around the world,  it’s hard not to get “pinned” away. Check us out here and feel free to leave comments, repin and send suggestions on new topics and ideas our way!

Now, we must get back to the HD Expo…we are off to one of the conferences called “The Importance of Engaging the Guest Experience: Successful Development of the Independent Resort.” Like our Facebook page for live updates from the HD Expo. Trust us when we say, you won’t be disappointed.

Over and out,

The BLLA-ger

THE DIGITAL AGE OF BOUTIQUE – From Business Center to Business Hotel

How effective are the business centers in your hotel? When we’ve stayed at hotels, rarely have we used the business centers – mostly because many of them are forgotten about caves hidden in the cold dark corners of the hotel. It’s time to phase these out – but what’s next?

There’s been plenty of research showing that free (or inexpensive) WIFI use throughout the hotel is quickly becoming an expectation of travelers – business or leisure, but now even that is no longer enough.

Take the Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood – where guests register on an iPAD tablet and are offered free WIFI, communal tables and a lobby reminiscent of a coffee shop.

But many boutiques nowadays deem this is not enough. Enter the High-Tech Hotel – where the guest can literally control their entire experience. iPads in the room can control the temperature of the room, order room service, set mood lighting (both color and brightness), and even smells in some places.

(See Citizen M, Amsterdam – where every room comes with a Moodpad, or Eccleston Square in London, where every room comes with an iPad and each room comes with a 3-D TV).

And this should not come as a surprise. The travellers seeking out boutique hotels are tech-savvy, wealthy, connected, busy, and seek their fun by searching for it on the Internet. How has your hotel anticipated this trend? How do boutiques that have built their guest experience around their heritage or historical property seamlessly blend this overwhelmingly modern/futuristic technology without compromising their brand?

Boutiques have a great opportunity to shed their “business centers” and blend internet and technology in with their style – not only to serve the business needs of their guests, but add to the experience. Technology is more adaptable now than ever, and you can use its infinite possibilities to put a creative spin on your guest experience.

Check out this article that lists the World’s Most Tech-Savvy Boutique Hotels by Courtney Boyd Myers. And please, do let us know: What is the most “tech-savvy” boutique hotel you’ve stayed in?

Happy Savvy-Sharing 🙂

the BLLA-gger


Boutiques have a multitude of incredible opportunities to surprise their guests. It’s been well established in multiple industry forecasts that guests are seeking out boutiques for a unique, fun and different experience.

But don’t stop there! Boutiques should surprise and even disrupt* their guest’s stay with a surprising and fun experience.

*(We’re using disrupt in a positive way here – don’t throw ice water on your guests in the middle of the night).

Our goals should be to build loyalty and increase the word-of-mouth. We want guests to use ALL CAPS to describe how incredible their experiences at our hotels were.

Here are a few examples:


You may have heard about this one.   ART-SERIES hotels in Australia are a series of three art-themed boutique hotels. Between December 15th, 2011 and January 15th, 2012, the hotels offered guests the opportunity to steal a Banksy original painting from one of their three hotels. If they stole the painting – they got to keep it.

It created an incredible storm of publicity for the hotel. People made cunning and hilarious attempts (even tennis star Serena Williams made an attempt). One intelligent guest walked away with a $15,000 Banksy painting, and had a great story to tell.


The Tennessee hotel company tied up with Dreamworks pictures to have some characters from its films like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, and Madagascar, to interact and visit hotel guests around their hotels – during breakfast, at the poolside, etc. Imagine how exciting it would be to have a visit by your favorite animated character during your hotel stay?

So get creative. Teach your entire staff magic to surprise guests at every corner. Encourage guests to destroy a part of the hotel. Instead of hiring a painter to paint the walls in your rooms, have the guests paint whatever they want on their own.  The word-of-mouth and memorable benefits of these types of experiences far outweigh your costs of implementing them. The possibilities to surprise guests are endless – and only possible at a boutique hotel.

And keep us posted on any crazy things you decide to do!