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Hospitality Industry Professionals Gathered in Los Angeles to Discuss Latest Trends and Announce Industry Awards

Los Angeles (October 28, 2015) – BLLA successfully closed its 2015 Annual Leadership Symposium held at Fairmont Miramar Hotel, Santa Monica last Friday October 23.  The three-day event embraced over 70 guest speakers and 270 attendees worldwide, encompassing boutique hoteliers and industry’s most sought-after vendors and media partners.  ,.

During the event’s opening session, BLLA Founder and CEO Frances Kiradjian welcomed the group and encouraged them to stay focused on the ever-changing boutique market place, refining its voice among the lifestyle entrants of the large chains, as well as shaping their own destiny in the era of the new OTA announcements.. The Association Chairwoman’s address set the tone for the three eventful days of the Symposium. Detailed insights into the latest hospitality trends and forecasts were lead by innovative panelists such as CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg; SVP Global Development EDITION Hotels Kevin Montano; Commune Hotels + Resorts Executive Vice President of Development Todd Wynn-Parry; and Anthony Dias Blue, James Beard Foundation Award winner and Principal of Blue Lifestyle.

“I was humbled to be approached by almost every single attendee, who took the time to compliment various aspects of the event,” stated Kiradjian. “From the atmosphere, the energy level, the approachability of the group, to the curated content and the stature of attendees, we are proud and encouraged of our team’s efforts for producing such an inspiring and worthwhile symposium.”

The OTA panel was one of the event highlights, with frank discussion about the boutique hotel “frenemies”.  The panelists engaged in a “non-scripted” dialog of the long term cost and effects of the OTA providers while generating repeat business – directly was top of mind. The social and digital culture was also on the hoteliers’ hit list. “Embracing technology allows hoteliers to get ahead of consumers as opposed to chasing them,” said Microsoft’s National Director of Hospitality and Travel, Shane O’Flaherty. “Tech has moved towards a ‘bring your own device’ world.”

During the symposium, BLLA hosted a jubilant awards gala honoring some of the most admired talent across the hospitality industry. With prestigious awards celebrating 2015’s Boutique Hotel of the Year; Lifestyle Hotel of the Year; Hotelier of the Year; Person of the Year; BLLA Board Member of the Year; BLLA Special Recognition Award; and Inner Circle Club Member of the Year.

The 2015 Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association Award recipients are;

2015 BOUTIQUE HOTEL OF THE YEAR
Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa, A Destination Luxury Hotel, Kirkland, WA

2015 LIFESTYLE HOTEL OF THE YEAR

Grand Bohemian Hotel, The Kessler Collection, Orlando, FL

2015 HOTELIER OF THE YEAR

Karie Hall, Vice President & General Manager, The Cromwell Hotel Las Vegas

2015 PERSON OF THE YEAR

Alex Glasscock, Founder & Owner, The Ranch at Live Oak / Malibu

2015 BLLA BOARD MEMBER OF THE YEAR

Jonathan Falik, Founder & CEO, JF Capital Advisors

2015 BLLA SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD

Lana Dubovik Boissier, Principal, Hospitality Atelier

2015 BLLA SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD

Marjorie Feltus Hawkins, IIDA, Principal, FELTUS HAWKINS DESIGN

2015 INNER CIRCLE CLUB MEMBER OF THE YEAR

James M Shaffer, Executive Vice President, Venture Programs, Inc.

Responding to winning Boutique Hotel of the Year, Howard Jacobs – General Manager stated, “On behalf of the Woodmark Hotel, we are truly thankful for being recognized at the BLLA conference with the 2015 Boutique Hotel of the year designation. Given the tremendous quality and broad breath of 1st class luxury Hotels associated with the BLLA organization, we are honored to have our Seattle Area Hotel win this award.”

For more details on the event as well as the June 8th Boutique Hotel Investment conference in New York, please visit www.bllaevents.com.

About the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA)

The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) is the first and only alliance association dedicated to uniting the world’s independent boutique and lifestyle hotels and small brands. BLLA was created to be the unifying voice of this distinctive subset within the hospitality industry. With now over 750 members, BLLA’s goal is to unite the world's collection of boutique & lifestyle properties and the suppliers that sustain them. BLLA offers their members the opportunity to successfully compete on a level playing field with major hotel companies. The association educates members in order to market themselves to meet the ever-increasing demand from discerning boutique-seeking clients. For more information, or to become a member visit www.blla.org

Contact: Ariana Squillacciotti

ariana@jpublicrelations.com / 212 924 3600

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