BLLA Meets Boutique Execs, Brand Developers in London and Scotland

NEW YORK—The Boutique and Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA), which was rebranded from Boutique and Lifestyle Lodging Association, has garnered support and cultivated communities around the globe. Two recent excursions have solidified its foothold on the boutique community as it plans to foster boutique developments.

On May 1, BLLA launched the first installment of the Stay Boutique Social Club Dinner Series, a series aimed at gathering the minds pushing boutique forward, in a collaboration with Sharan Pasricha and 10 others in the boutique industry at The Hoxton Hotel in London.

BLLA’s COO Ariela Kiradjian produced the dinner series and stated, “This first event in London showcases the importance of connecting with like-minded professionals desirous of reaching out beyond their own industries and being open to new relationships and new ways of thinking. We are extremely proud and excited that everyone had such a good time. They basically came to the dinner as strangers and left as friends. What could be better than that?”

Emma Hartland-Mahon, U.K. director, J Public Relations; Gigi Vega, GM, Nobu Hotel Shoreditch; Sophie McElligott, head of communications, Dazed Media; Sue Walter, former CEO of the Hospital Club; Tessy Antony de Luxembourg, director of Vice Impact, EMEA Regions; Romilly Martin, brand director, Hoxton Hotels; John Green, managing director, JG Collection; Hannah Burden, marketing manager, Our Vodka; and Filip Boyen, CEO, Small Luxury Hotels, joined Kiradjian. The invite-only dinner series points to an interest in the initiatives of BLLA by global boutique brands, according to the association.

There was also a Scottish excursion hosted by Scottish Development International’s VP Michael Schroeder, who invited Kiradjian along with David Bowd, owner of Salt Hotels; Phillip Allen, general counsel for 21c Museum Hotels; Mostafa Abdella, managing director, Ace Hotel London Shoreditch; Darrell Slomiany, director of development, BLVD Hospitality; Jason Wischoff, VP, development, U.K., Europe & Africa, Dream Hotels; and Miranda Mancuso, VP, development, Standard Hotels.

“We were delighted to host the U.S. boutique hotel operators in Scotland where they visited Edinburgh and Glasgow,” stated Schroeder. “Each city offers a distinctive experience to discerning visitors from across the globe, and they both provide a great opportunity for unique boutique hotel operators like them to build their business in a setting that complements their authentic brands. Tourism is one of Scotland’s key sectors, currently contributing $7.9 billion (£6 billion) to our economy every year, and SDI, along with our partners, welcomes the opportunity of working with them and BLLA to achieve even greater success. We hope that we can all capitalize on the synergies between their brands and our national and city tourism destination strategies.”

Kiradjian stated, “Michael and his team did an outstanding job at coordinating this amazing trip and itinerary, and I am ecstatic about the opportunities for our boutique brands to discover new destinations and to be a part of it all.”

The country has a growing number of independent and lifestyle-facing businesses. Representatives from the arms of Scottish government and hotel developers presented on their city plans and opportunities for hotel development through a series of presentations over the course of the trip.

In addition, BLLA is working with other economic development organizations to help bring attention to destinations for some of the world’s boutique and lifestyle hotel brands.