The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association, (BLLA, www.blla.org), a leading hospitality industry association dedicated to uniting the world's boutique and lifestyle properties and the suppliers that sustain them, announced the next steps for developing a universal standard and criteria for defining boutique and lifestyle lodgings. Initiated by BLLA's Founder and hospitality industry veteran Frances Kiradjian, the research project has begun and includes prominent international hospitality universities as well as industry thought-leaders, all of whom have been invited by BLLA and the research team to participate.
Commenting on the proliferation of boutique & lifestyle independent hotels and hotel brands, Kiradjian says, "Having a special classification specifically for this growing sector will allow boutique & lifestyle hotels to compete on a more level playing field with major hotel companies and give them the opportunity to better market themselves to the business travel sector as well as to the leisure travel marketplace. It will also meet the increasing demand of discerning travelers to find unique properties and help them distinguish the individual traits that lured them to searching out the boutique/lifestyle hotel category in the first place."
The first stage of a comprehensive examination of the definition of "boutique" and "lifestyle" hotels has commenced. The research team includes: Jonathon Day, Purdue Tourism and Hospitality Research Center, College of Health and Human Science; David L. Jones, School of Hotel & Tourism Management, Hong Kong Polytechnic University; Donna Quadri-Felitti, Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management, New York University as well as students from their respective schools.
The researchers, working with BLLA, have identified a panel of 40 industry thought-leaders and will use a Delphi panel approach to explore what it means to be a "boutique" as well as "lifestyle" hotel today. The process will be completed by early Summer 2011. The Delphi method is a structured, interactive communication process which relies on responses from an identified panel of experts.
To date, there is no standard definition for boutique properties and lifestyle lodgings. Vague definitions define these properties by numbers of rooms, rather than by their uniqueness of character -- whether charming, distinctive, quirky, cutting-edge, avant-garde, trendy, funky or classic -- all characteristics that are of interest to travelers.
Kiradjian said, "We look forward to continuing to steps 2 and 3 in this research and ultimately, in reviewing and distributing the research results this summer." Adds Kiradjian, "There is no entity today better suited for initiating and heading up this research than BLLA, since in essence, it is the only available professional and personal resource to this hospitality industry sector and has become its voice."
Photo: The Cambrian, a boutique mountain resort in Switzerland