The Founders of BLLA Relaunch StayBoutique as Booking & Media Platform That Vets & Verifies Featured Hotels
Board Announced to Oversee First Authenticated Selection of Independently Owned Boutique Hotels, Alternative Lodging, and Small Businesses Targeting Discerning Travelers
With the boutique hotel sector experiencing a 7.7% growth compared to 2021, the mother-daughter duo of Frances and Ariela Kiradjian, who brought the world BLLA (Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association), announced that 2023 will see an expansion and enhancement of their referral site, stay-boutique.com, to a booking and media platform that vets and verifies boutique hotels for consumers. As they have done with the other divisions of BLLA, the Kiradjians have invited hospitality industry thought-leaders to join the new board of StayBoutique™ who have experiences from companies such as Expedia, Saudi Tourism Authority, Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, and more.
Boutique hotels are typically stylish, multi-concept hotels, situated in attractive destinations, that offer individualized service to their guests while being owned independently of big hotel chains. Interestingly, the enhanced site will also include alternative lodgings fitting the boutique lifestyle as well as boutique businesses such as craft coffee companies, restaurants/bars, spas/wellness facilities, retail, museums, fitness centers, and more, all of which are independently owned establishments that StayBoutique already highlights on its site and in its CityGuides.
Although there are a number of existing booking sites that have a selection of boutique hotels, many include improperly tagged hotels that are not at all boutique. With BLLA clarifying what qualifies as a true boutique hotel, their StayBoutique is the first booking site 100% focused on the sector. As the site's logo delightfully exemplifies, these will be "cherry-picked," approved & verified boutique hotels for consumers who seek out the boutique lifestyle.
StayBoutique also defines itself as a Media Platform since it will include interviews, travel stories, commentary, videos, a podcast, and other storytelling tools that highlight the boutique lifestyle, including features in the company's print and digital editions of StayBoutique Magazine. The multi-platform stories will underscore that these one-of-a-kind travel experiences - including supporting small businesses in the destination - are the heart and soul of the travel industry.
The collective travel industry knowledge of the new Board will be a driving force for helping StayBoutique™ become a major voice in travel. StayBoutique's new Board of Advisors includes:
- Melissa Maher - Most recently served as Chief Marketing Officer & Senior Vice President of Marketing and Industry Engagement at Expedia Group. Melissa is a forward-thinking strategist with a multifaceted perspective and deep insights into global marketing, public relations, communications, diversity & inclusion, technology, and commercial relationship-building across the hospitality sector.
- John Wallis - Principal at Rule No. 1, a consultancy that helps organizations define and truly live their Purpose and Values focusing on leadership behavior. John is Past CMO and Global Head of Brand Strategy for Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
- Dorothy Dowling - Past CMO of Best Western International, a C Suite Marketing and Commercial Leader, Public Company Board Director, a leader in global digital, E-commerce, and loyalty marketing, as well as global commercial B2B expertise.
- Edie Rodriguez - Member of the Board of Directors Saudi Tourism Authority, former CEO of Crystal Cruises & former Chairwoman of the Americas for Ponant Cruises. Edie is a decisive leader with extensive experience in the global cruise, travel, hospitality, luxury, and technology industries.
- Caryl Helsel - Founder & CEO of Dragonfly Strategists, a holistic advisory firm specializing in commercial, IT, and operations advisory. Helsel is a specialist in commercial and IT strategy, business and relationship development, and was recently awarded the inaugural TIEWN (Travel Industry Executive Women's Network) Fearless Woman of the Year Award.
- Hilda Delgado - Chief Financial Officer of Viceroy Hotels & Resorts, a leading luxury and lifestyle brand and hotel management company recognized for its collection of luxury and urban hotels, voted "Top Ten Hotel Brand" in Travel & Leisure magazine.
Spending on accommodation is the Global Tourism Industry's biggest source of revenue, accounting for 19.0% of industry revenue in 2021 and even more in 2022. The Boutique Hotel Industry revenue in 2021 was $12.4 billion , with projected growth (2021-2026) at 11.1%. (Source: IBISWorld, Global Tourism, Industry Report 2021)
"The boutique hotel sector accounts for nearly 5,500 hotels across the U.S. alone," said Christian E. Hardigree, hospitality industry educator and Regional Chancellor, University of South Florida St. Petersburg. "The pandemic has driven travelers toward the boutique market, which is expected to rake in $16.9 billion in revenue this year."
According to BLLA founder, Frances Kiradjian, market drivers for the boutique hotel sector include emerging tourism and corporate industries across various regions, rising disposable income, increasing standard of living, and the rise in preference for unique hotel experiences. Consumer feedback shows they also enjoy the local focus, attention to detail, and personalized service afforded to them at boutique hotels.
Supported by the establishment of the Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA) in 2009, boutique hotels have emerged over the last decade to successfully compete with larger brands that were previously considered unconquerable ‘giants' in the hospitality landscape. However, since there was no exact definition of what a boutique hotel is, there was no complete list of vetted & verified authentic global boutique hotels, until now.
The StayBoutique™ website allows users to book a hotel of their choosing directly, thereby establishing a relationship with the hotel from the first interaction. In the role of "matchmaker," StayBoutique acts as the client's advocate and a valuable partner to the hotel. The hotels will also have the opportunity to become an official member of BLLA in order to take advantage of their annual leadership and hotel investment events and to take advantage of a multitude of resources -- from vendor discounts to accessing a portal exclusive to hotel members, enabling them to connect and learn from each other.