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Industry Powerhouses Come Together to Discuss Future of Luxury, the Boutique Concept and What Hospitality Means for 2018

Los Angeles – Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) successfully closed its 2017 Annual Stay Boutique Leadership Conference held at the UCLA Luskin Conference Center last week. Over 230 attendees and 56 speakers came together to dissect the boutique and lifestyle industries and divulge into the boutique movement, by redefining what the industry means and where it is heading in 2018. At the forefront of this movement, BLLA is redefining what hospitality is by further merging the fashion, lifestyle, wellness, design, and food and beverage industries.

"At this year's leadership conference, we joined together an eclectic line-up of presenters from every area of the hospitality sector, that showed us what it means to be boutique," says BLLA Founder & CEO, Frances Kiradjian. "BLLA has become the industry's go-to source to educate, provide and inspire the world of boutique and we're so excited to have created a community that brings all these sectors together to create the new and enhanced boutique movement."

At the helm of this movement is mother-daughter duo, BLLA CEO & Founder, Frances Kiradjian and Vice President, Ariela Kiradjian, who continue to collaborate with the best in the industry to create a world-renowned platform and association to inspire all things boutique. "Boutique is not just a hotel, it's an experience and any industry can join the community" says Ariela, on how the boutique sector has become much more than just a hotel. BLLA is redefining what boutique hospitality means, being at the forefront of taking the industry and integrating it into other sectors like fashion, design, wellness, lifestyle and food & beverage. This year's conference also announced BLLA's Stay Boutique™ platform, the world's first and only direct booking site for boutique and lifestyle hotels, and a platform for boutique inspiration.

The conference addressed and examined the success and challenges of the industry, defined today's luxury traveler and consumer, and strategically assessed how to meet their needs. "Positive disruption is about having the courage to celebrate the intent of the action", said keynoter Bill Walshe, CEO of Viceroy Hotel Group, who spoke on the ideologies of the industry, and the importance of providing a cultural journey to retain consumer loyalty. Founder and CEO Sam Nazarian of sbe, discussed the topic of staying relative in the sector, explaining "it's about more than the design and gimmicks…You have to have culinary and hospitality expertise to make these unique." CEO Sue Walter of The Hospital Club dove into the rise of member clubs and providing exclusive services. The group represented and spoke to the new wave of boutique and lifestyle hospitality, including Co-Founder Rosie O'Neill of Sugarfina, Co-Founder John Terzian of H.Wood Group, CEO Jonas Tahlin of Absolut Elyx, Principle David Fishbein of Runyon Group.

The conference also announced this year's BLLA awards, acknowledging the best of 2017 for the following categories:

BOUTIQUE HOTEL
The Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa, Kirkland, Washington

LIFESTYLE HOTEL
the ART, a hotel, Denver, Colorado

BRANDED BOUTIQUE HOTEL
Hotel Beaux Arts Miami, Autograph Collection, Miami, Florida

BRANDED LIFESTYLE HOTEL
Hotel LeVeque, Autograph Collection, Columbus, Ohio

SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER
Roza Sinaysky, Tel Aviv, Israel ,

BOUTIQUE INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT
Jamie Beck for Ann Street Studios

BOUTIQUE HOTELIER
Brendan Gresham, Charlestowne Hotels

BOUTIQUE HOTEL RESTAURANT
Casa Amate at Andaz Mayakoba Riviera Maya, Mexico

BOUTIQUE RETAILER
Tuft & Needle, Phoenix, Arizona

BOUTIQUE LOUNGE
Poppy, West Hollywood, California

BOUTIQUE WELLNESS FACILITY
Basecamp at the Whitney Peak Hotel, Reno, Nevada

BOUTIQUE THINKER
John Terzian, H.Wood Group, Nightlife Entrepreneur

BOUTIQUE RESTAURANT
RUKA Restobar, Boston, Massachusetts

BOUTIQUE COMMUNITY CONNECTOR
Casea Collins-Wright, Honolulu, Hawaii - ‎Director of Experience at The Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club

BOUTIQUE COLLABORATOR
The High Line Hotel, New York

BOUTIQUE BRANDING STRATEGY
Absolut Elyx, New York

BOUTIQUE SOCIAL CLUB
The Hospital Club, London, U.K.

BOUTIQUE DESIGNER
Patrick Sutton, Baltimore, Maryland (for the Sagamore Pendry Hotel)

About the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA)

The world's most innovative and progressive organization dedicated to the luxury independent boutique lodging and lifestyle industries. The association connects the world's most dynamic executives with cutting edge business and operational insight. BLLA's membership benefits allow access to the world's leading minds in the space through events, research and education. Our mission is to provide leadership and opportunities for global recognition and connections to the world's best hotels, vendors and manufacturers. All resulting in strategic interactions and access to information that helps people and organizations thrive.

Join the movement that BLLA gave birth to in 2009 and become a part of something that is truly unique, exciting and inspirational. For more information visit www.blla.org and www.stayboutiquemedia.com.

Contact: Ariana Squillacciotti

ariana@jpublicrelations.com / 212 924 3600

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