BLLA Conference!

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Monday and Tuesday of this week I was gone for the Boutique & Lifestyle Leadership Symposium up in Santa Monica! The conference was filled with panelists and networking events, all of which revolved around the Boutique hotel industry. From emerging companies who are new and pushing the envelope, to CEO’s of well-known hotels/brands. I soaked up a lot of really good info within those quick 48 hours.

Main Takeaways:

  • Sustainable architecture and eco-friendly operations are going to be huge and continue to influence how a hotel is designed and built.
  • Authenticity is key. They couldn’t stress that enough!
  • Create a place out of not only what a guest would like, but what you personally would enjoy.
  • The wellness trend can officially be discarded as a “trend.” It’s currently one of the biggest factors a guest will look at before booking a place (is there a good gym, gluten free options, locally sourced food?, etc.)
  • Adding that personal touch and being genuinely hospitable will always be number one and keep people coming back.
  • The inner workings of any company (not just hotels) absolutely reflects onto the public. Create loyal employees, earn their trust, and make a good work environment= you’ll be golden.
  • Resumes are so 2015. Employers are looking at a person’s grit and work ethic. Have they put in the time rather than bounce around jobs constantly? Consistency + Hard Work.

My personal favorite speakers were:

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Robert Lowe: Extremely smart business man who couldn’t stress enough the importance of creating loyalty within the company and trust amongst employees + guests.

Kim Kessler Does all things wellness and PR for the Four Seasons- a job title I would enjoy having. She creates wellness retreats and brings in expert chefs and nutritionists that are current with the trends amongst the health world into the hotel.

Brian De Lowe of Proper Hotels is all about creating hotels that embody the culture of the locals and city they’re in. Trying to  get back to creating “proper” hotels that make you feel like you’re really being immersed in the local community when you stay which I liked a lot.

Raul Leal wants to grab the attention of anyone of any age or background with Virgin Hotels. Every aspect of their hotel screams cool and makes each person feel as though they’ve gotten customized treatment when they stay. Love that they have an app where you can order room service, extra pillows, make dinner reservations, etc. Very up and coming.

Jacquelyne Smyth is that girl you follow on Instagram always posting lavish pictures of herself in beautiful hotels in tropical locations. Well, she gets paid for doing so and says there’s actually a lot of work when it comes to creating the right content to reach the targeted audiences and also preached about authenticity…a reoccurring theme it seemed.

Julien Veyron of Light Human Hotels was actually the first panelist and one that stuck with me the most. He preached about everything sustainability-related as well as creating hotels that create meaningful experiences whether that means giving back to community, eco-friendly architecture, large community social lounges (think bean bag chairs and communal tables)– very very cool and definitely with the times I think.


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Waaaay up in our room- eeeek.
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Hotel view of the sunset before dinner ❤
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Just trying to get that artsy brick-wall-with-mood-lighting pic ya know???

My mom and I stayed at: Hotel Angeleno

We ate dinner at: Tar and Roses (get their mushrooms and egg  dish- OHmygahd so so good)

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