Greetings from the inaugural International Leadership Symposium of the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA). As counsel to BLLA and a member of the Board of Governors, I have had the opportunity to meet a group of people in the hospitality industry who are passionate about the boutique hospitality sector. I have met capital partners, managers, spa operators, restauranteurs and vendors, all of whom are making the point that the boutique hotel space is unique and requires care and attention that is often very different from the typical “big-box” full service or limited service hotel.
Of particular note is the attention being paid to social media, understanding the tech savvy guest, harnessing connectivity to the guest through personal preferences and attention to detail both on property and off property. The boutique hotel has the ability to move with agility in response to social, economic, technological and environmental trends and to focus on the unique personal preferences of individual guests in a way unmatched by the typical “big-box” full service or limited service hotel. This is a clear competitive advantage for the boutique hospitality sector.
There are new players in the boutique space, legacy players looking to change and adapt, and many roles being filled by people who are coming from industries other than the hotel business. This is sure to bring a fresh perspective to traditional issues. To make the point about interest in this event, all sessions were streamed “live” and during the first day and a half, there were over a thousand tweets and more than 1,300 people following the event. The boutique lodging space will continue to be exciting and continue to attract passionate and talented people.