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AGENDA – BLLA Leadership Symposium

Sunday, October 23, 2016



Monday, October 24, 2016

7:00 am – 5:00 pm Registration open


10:00 – 10:15 am Welcome by BLLA – Frances Kiradjian, Founder & CEO

10:15 – 10:30 am Welcome by UCLA – Wayne Smutz, Dean, UCLA Extension

10:30 – 10:45 am CBRE/BLLA Financial Report
Boutique definitions were first defined by BLLA through research conducted with 3 global universities and produced via a white paper in 2010. BLLA aligned with CBRE to create an official report which breaks down the various types of hotels as well as how brands and independents are categorized. Special reports will be produced annually and offer trends and benchmarking statistics. Bruce will present an overview of these new programs specifically designed for the boutique lifestyle sector in coordination with BLLA, the only official association to this niche hospitality segment.
Presenter: Bruce Baltin, Partner, CBRE Hotels

New boutique brands never cease to amaze us! Take, for instance, Light Human Hotels, a revolutionary group that is all about the experience. “Everything here is designed to generate human interaction, and provide meaningful experiences and entertainment. Our aim is to go far beyond the traditional vision of hotels and develop sustainable ‘places to live’ for the 21st century” The world has definitely realized how influential boutique hotels are; Light Human Hotels definitely has a thing or two to teach the boutique community about what’s coming next!
by Stephanie Ricca, Editor-in-Chief, HotelNewsNow
Light Human Hotels
Jean Pierre Bandeira, CEO
Julien Veyron, President & Co-Founder

Mind, Body, Spirit and the hospitality connection – As current and new boutique, lifestyle and luxury hotel brands are transitioning their properties towards a more experiential stay to help foster creativity and innovation while stimulating inspiration, they are transforming spaces that nourish the 3 cognitive centers of the whole being – namely, the mind, the body and the spirit. Real life stories and case studies of successful programs will be shared along with lessons learned and expertise needed revealed. How do you market these programs and is there a specific demographic you are targeting? Where and how do you find financing to renovate or build new with this specific purpose in mind? What on-property programs work best and why.
Josh Wyatt, President, Equinox Hotels
Kathleen Shea, CMO, Canyon Ranch
Jeff Wagoner, EVP Operations, Trump Hotels Wellness Programs
Alex Glasscock, Founder & Owner, The Ranch at Live Oak & Sonoma

Noon – 12:30 pm INTERVIEW by Jonathan Falik, CEO, JF Capital Advisors
Robert J. Lowe, Jr.
, Co-CEO of Lowe Enterprises and Chief Executive Officer of Lowe Hospitality Group, the hotel and resort management and development division of Lowe Enterprises. Rob oversees operations of Destination Hotels, Lowe’s hospitality operations company. With 45 independent luxury and upscale hotels and resorts and over 11,000 rooms under management, Destination is one of the largest independent hospitality management companies in the country and the largest manager of independent hotels.

12:30 – 1:15 pm Lunch & Extreme Networking Session

1:15 – 2:00 pm BOOK DIRECT – BRANDS vs. BOUTIQUES:  Building and retaining loyal relationships  
Without having the benefits of large, global loyalty programs, independent boutique hotels have to find new ways to build loyal relationships with their guest audiences. At the same time consumer behavior is shifting in the way the book online – with less and less brand or channel loyalty. What are the proven strategies in the industry to build a loyal customer base? What are the industry leaders doing different? What technologies work and what’s a fad?
Moderator:  Benjamin Habbel, Founder, Voyat
Jim McPartlin, Executive Trainer, Forbes Travel Guide
Cory Ingram, COO/Principal, Identity Atelier

Sustainability, by the year 2016, is not a trend, it’s a necessity. We no longer think of caring for the environment or caring for the world as some stereotypical activist – – it’s become a way a life, it’s become a norm. Now that we know this, what next? How do we take sustainability to the next level?
Moderator: Guido Bauer, CEO, Green Globe
David Hertz, Founder & President, David Hertz FAIA
Erla Dögg, Principal, Minarc
Marci Zaroff, Founder, Under the Canopy
Coni Thornburg, GM, Calistoga Ranch, an Auberge property

Boutique is obviously here to stay. So, what can we think of next? Meet a panel of small boutique brands that are changing the boutique landscape. What is it that attracts the world to boutique hotels? WHAT IS IT? Well, we know. It’s the uniqueness, it’s the attention to details, it’s the experience.
Moderator: Jamie Sigler, Partner, J Public Relations
Craig Greenberg, President, 21C Museum Hotels
Robert Blood, Founder & CEO, Lark Hotels
Circe Sher, Partner, Piazza Hospitality
Robert Cartwright, Founder & UnCEO, Untitled Hospitality


3:45 – 4:30 pm NIGHTLIFE – Keeping the Cool Factor
An important part of being a true boutique hotel includes observing the location of your property and creating the appropriate ambiances. In Los Angeles, for example, where to be seen includes nightlife. For all boutique hotels, no matter what age group they attract, they should always have some sort of nightlife built into their foundation (everyone at any age loves to have fun!) Dream hotels is taking their brand to the West Coast and high expectations are on them because of their success from PHD and the Electric Room in their Downtown Manhattan property. EDITION sparked up London, with Punch Room and New York with Gold Bar, what will they think of for LA? Then we meet Med, who has taken LA by storm with The Spare Room, Winsome, Genghis Cohen and knows the nightlife scene in LA very well. And then there’s David, who is the reason for Death & Co, the very trendy, cool bar in NYC. He’s come to the West to open Normandie Club.
Moderator:  Greg Bradshaw, Principal, Avroko
Laura Modica, Director – Nightlife, EDITION Hotels
Michael Lindenbaum, EVP of Ops & Development, Dream Hotel Group
Med Abrous, Co-Owner, The Spare Room at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
David Kaplan, Founder & Co-Owner, Proprietors LLC

The concept of multi-sensory design is nothing new, but the idea of applying this approach to your hotel’s brand message, allows an opportunity to communicate with guests at every moment [and touch point] of their journey. Our five senses—Smell, Sight, Touch, Hearing and Taste, when effectively orchestrated into one thread, become a powerful tool to convey brand value while offering enhanced guest experience before, during and long after checking out.
Moderator: Paula Oblen, CEO, Hotelements
David Kaplan, Founder & Co-Owner, Proprietors LLC
Neil Harris, CEO, Harris Fragrances

We will bus everyone over to the renowned United Talent Agency (UTA) Building in Beverly Hills – Designed and Sponsored by Rottet Studio Architecture & Design for cocktails & light supper along with a private movie short. Network and step inside one of the few places in Beverly Hills where the entertainment elite meet.
United Talent Agency is a premier global talent and literary agency representing many of the world’s most acclaimed figures in every current and emerging area of entertainment and media, including motion pictures, television, music, digital, broadcast news, theatre, video games, books, fine art and live entertainment. A reception and short film will be featured in their state-of-the-art Rottet Studio designed screening room which is widely regarded as ‘the best screening room that exists,’ according to the Los Angeles Times.

5:30 pm First bus departs for the UTA
6:30 – 9:00 pm Networking Reception & Movie Short
9:00 pm First bus departs back to the Luskin Conference Center 

Tuesday, October 25th


7:30 am – 5:00 pm REGISTRATION OPEN


9:00 – 9:30 am KEYNOTE
Larry Broughton, CEO of broughtonHOTELS
Larry is an award-winning entrepreneur & CEO, best-selling author, keynote speaker and mentor. After growing up in a small mill town in rural western New York, he spent eight years traveling the world with the US Army’s elite Special Forces, commonly known as the Green Berets, where he attained the rank of Staff Sergeant. Larry is Founder/CEO of broughtonHOTELS, a leader in the boutique hotel industry; and Co-Founder/CEO of BROUGHTONadvisory, a strategic vision, elite team building, and transformational leadership organization with clients ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to Turner Broadcasting and The Pentagon.

9:30 – 9:40 am INTERVIEW
Grant W. King, Managing Partner, Hollywood International Regional Center
HIRC finances, develops, and manages properties. Current Hollywood development projects (including Dream, Thompson & Tommie) have a vast need to raise capital amounting to billions of dollars. Alternative sources of capital are essential in reawakening construction. Hear the latest from the group responsible for a big chunk of the Los Angeles Hotel Boom, as an introduction to the following panel below.

9:40 – 10:30 am Los Angeles and the Hotel Boom of 2016-2018
Los Angeles is awash with the excitement of so many boutique & lifestyle brands opening this year & next. It has been a long time coming & the best brands are attracted to what L.A. has to offer. They are coming with their cool sophistication, their ultra fancy tidbits and their food & beverage social hubs. What is it about the city that attracts developers in our particular niche of the industry? Why are they all coming at this particular time? Is this an indication that the cycle is peaking? What new & exciting elements can we expect to see? Join us as some of the leading boutique & lifestyle brand executives talk about their individual plans for their new Los Angeles properties.
Moderator: Guy Maisnik, Partner & Vice Chairman, JMBM Global Hospitality Group®
Brooke Barrett, CEO, Denihan Hospitality
Jay Stein, CEO, Dream Hotel Group
Trevor Horwell, CEO, Nobu Hospitality
Todd Wynne-Parry, EVP, Commune Hotels + Resorts

10:30 – 11:15 am TODAY’S TOP CHEFS – Driving the Culinary Trends of Tomorrow
Food is the way to the heart and this feeling is very important for Boutique & Lifestyle hotels. As it becomes more and more popular to show off your daily dish on social media, the look of the food has become just as important as the taste. Today’s world consists of sushi burritos, alcoholic popsicles, vegan treats and rainbow bagels and the continued growth for successful food & beverage programs in boutique hotels depends on how relevant they can stay.
Moderator: Lynn Saathoff, Executive Chef, Special Projects
Chef Larry Monaco, Cast Viceroy, Santa Monica
Chef Oliver Quignon, Avec Nous at L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
Chef Michael Paley, New Waterloo Hospitality Austin, Texas
Todd Sicolo, Executive Chef, UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center
Craig Susser, Owner, Craig’s Los Angeles

11:15 am – Noon – ON TREND – SOCIAL MEDIA
The number one way to stay relevant in today’s world, is to stay relevant on social media. Where to be seen, is one of the key aspects of a successful and relevant boutique hotel. Investing in the right social media employees can make or break a boutique hotel these days. Photos don’t necessarily have to be professional taken as most are taken with the iPhone. Gathering other images and intel from other bloggers, industries and such can be a good idea. Join BLLA in the discussion about which boutiques have done this right, how they were able to gain so many followers and how this translates to ROI. We should have the panel on how boutique hotels and WHY boutique hotels are better on social media.
Moderator:  Stacy Small, CEO, Elite Travel International
Fiona Boyce, Director of Social Media + Brand Content, Commune Hotels + Resort
Jacqueline Smith, Sisterhood of the Traveling Mats
Tricia Rosentreter, Director of Communications, Peninsula Hotels


BLLA introduces a new category of boutique, creative boutique. Luxury is not always a key aspect as design, food & beverage, art, location, customer service and the story behind the hotel takes a greater role. Hostels have been reborn as the new, hip hotels. For example, Generator’s London location includes a club, library, café and bar under one roof. The rooms and bathrooms are new, clean, stylish and give plenty of locker space for your valuables. Learn about the interesting details of developing, investing and managing these new age boutique hotels.
Moderator:  Vikram Sood, Managing Director, NuPala Hospitality Management & Development
Benjamin Trigano, CEO, Mama Shelter
Matt Livian, SVP & Chief Investment Officer, Sydell Group
Brian DeLowe, Principal, The Kor Group/Proper Hotels

2:15 – 3:15 pm HOSPITALITY TECHNOLOGY –  Opportunities for Boutique Hotels
This panel discussion is tailored towards strategic planning for Hotel Technology in today’s luxury boutique hotel properties with a focus on Customer-facing technology solutions such as keyless guestroom entry, guest experience apps, high speed internet, in-room entertainment, data security and other technologies worthy of consideration. This discussion offers a unique opportunity to gain valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities facing hotel executives today. Hear from top boutique brand IT executives and a counter-point discussion with some of the leading tech companies providing products and services to the industry.
Moderator: Jeremy Rock, Founder & President, RockIT Group
Nizar Allibhoy, CEO, KeyPR
Gustaf Burman, SVP, Information Technology, Montage Hotels & Resorts
Kristie Goshow, SVP, Commercial, Viceroy
Diane Li, CIO, JC Resorts
T.J. Person, CEO, OpenKey

3:15 – 3:30 pm ASSOCIATION UPDATE – Hear from members of the BLLA Board
Moderator: Rika Lisslo, Vice President – Development & Acquisitions, Dream Hotel Group
John Keeling, EVP, Valencia Hotel Group
Patrick Mullinix, President, Signature Inn
Marjorie Feltus Hawkins, Owner & Principal, FH Design


BLLA Board member and industry leader, Jonathan Falik, will provide a current assessment of the state of the capital markets for boutique and lifestyle hotels. He will provide an update on the type and structure of equity available for investment in and development of boutique and lifestyle hotels. This will be followed by an analysis of debt financing and key terms including construction financing, bank lending, the CMBS market, and specialty finance. He will also provide an assessment of the acquisition landscape – who is buying, who is selling, what are their required returns and financial parameters.

Sure, these restaurants aren’t in boutique hotels, but they have the same mantras as does our niche of this industry. They put an enormous amount of detail into the design,art, social media, taste of the food, look of the food, drinks, ambiance, location and such (doesn’t this sound very similar as to what boutique hotels do?) These restaurants attract the same type of people and they are built by like-minded people.
Moderator: Jody Pennette, Principal, cb5 Hospitality Consulting Group
Cary Moiser, COO,Café Gratitude
Caroline Styne, President, Lucques
Heather Tierney, Founder, Butchers Daughter
Neal Frasier, Chef/Partner, Vibiana

6:00 pm BUSES DEPART for The Beverly Hills Hotel
The Beverly Hills Hotel – Rodeo Ballroom

6:30 – 8:00 pm Networking Cocktail Reception
Black-tie optional

Wednesday, October 26th



Consecutive Workshops – You can attend them all!

9:00 – 10:30 am A YEAR OF TRAVEL CONTENT – PR, Social Technologies & Storytelling
Presenter:  Serena Ehrlich, Director of Social & Evolving Technologies, BusinessWire

10:30 am – Noon BRAND – WHAT, HOW, WHY
Mark Natale, CEO, Smarthinking, Inc.

Box Lunch & Networking in the Olive Garden

8:00 am – 5:00 pm Wednesday, October 26th – UCLA Education Day – Optional registration – Breakfast and Lunch provided

SPECIAL UCLA EDUCATION DAY – Turning an Asset into a 4 or 5 Star Luxury Boutique Hotel
Industry innovation and customer driven trends in unique experiences have given rise to the flexibility of creating a variety of new boutique hotel concepts. Today’s sessions will focus on the key considerations in creating a new boutique hotel or revamping an existing property to attract this growing market segment. Four modules will be discussed in an interactive format by faculty and other industry experts. Strategies for acquisitions, raising capital, concept, design, branding, re-positioning, as well as food and beverage will be covered.

Note:  This is an optional registration fee of $500 which is offered during your registration to the BLLA Leadership Symposium. Call 818-883-4363 for assistance. The Workshops offered above on Wednesday morning will be recorded so that Symposium registrants will be able to view the Workshops later.

The day’s curriculum is based on research findings that content should be linked to real life experiences in which knowledge and application are used. CEU credits are available for those participating.

It is expected that registrants to this special day will gain a deeper understanding of the skill-set required to develop, own and manage an upscale, luxury boutique hotel.

The curriculum content includes the following topics which will be taught by specialists and UCLA faculty:

8:00 – 10:00 am FINANCE

10:00 am – Noon Concept, Design

Noon – 1:00 pm Lunch

1:00 – 3:00 pm Food & Beverage

3:00 – 5:00 pm Branding & Re-positioning

This Executive Program is designed for those with demanding schedules and offers the first of planned future continuing education programs with affordable learning.

About BLLA Education
In 2016 an alliance was created with UCLA Extension to develop an executive management development platform that is designed to assist hotel owners and developers who are looking to turn an asset into an upscale or luxury boutique property or for those looking to convert a property from a brand to an independent property. The planned curriculum for the first education day, in conjunction with BLLA’s Leadership Symposium, is based on research findings and linked to real life experiences in which knowledge and application are used. In the future, both an Executive Program as well as programs for hotel staff in all departments, who need a more formalized education, are planned to be designed for those with demanding schedules and the anticipated goals will be to offer flexibility, a continuing boutique hospitality education platform and affordability.

Click Here to Register

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