Press Releases

The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association Announces the Winner of the 2012 Person of the Year Award

WEST HILLS, Calif., Oct. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- BLLA revealed the choice for the 2012 Person of the Year Award to be Joe McInerney, Chairman of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA).  After a lengthy review of the nominations, Joe simply stood out as an individual who deserves to be recognized for his accomplishments over the past 12 years while at the helm of the AHLA and who had the greatest impact on the Hospitality industry.

Joe McInerney has contributed extensively to the travel and tourism industry for nearly 50 years. McInerney started off his career by moving quickly through the ranks of Sheraton until he was named president of ITT's Sheraton franchise division in 1980.  After 25 years with Sheraton, the Pritkzer family tapped him to be president/CEO to helm the launch of Hawthorn Suites.  His next industry position came when Sir Rocco Forte named him president/CEO of Travelodge in 1991 and then president/CEO of Forte Hotels in 1992, finally appointing him to chairman in 1995.  Prior to AH&LA, he was president and CEO of the Pacific Asia Travel Association and for the past 12 years – including such difficult times as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina -  the CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

John Russell, Conference Chair of the Leadership Symposium, stated, "Joe's contributions to the industry are legendary and many. He reorganized AHLA to meet the needs of our ever changing industry and has been extremely supportive of other hospitality organizations. Joe has not only helped the travel industry domestically but internationally as well."

"Mr. McInerney's involvement with hospitality programs at colleges and universities is unparalleled and his commitment to hospitality education at all levels is exemplary. Under his leadership the hotel industry has a strong voice on Capitol Hill and through his efforts, the lobbying PAC has tripled.  He is highly deserving of the honor of BLLA's Person Of The Year 2012," said Frances Kiradjian, BLLA Founder & Chair.

Also, BLLA announces the runner-up to this award which is Geoffrey Kent, Founder & CEO, Abercrombie & Kent (A&K).  Under Geoffrey Kent's leadership, A&K reinvented safari lodging with the introduction of Sanctuary Retreats: Chobe Chilwero, Chief's Camp and Stanley's Camp in Botswana; Kusini and Swala in Tanzania; Olonana in Kenya and Gorilla Forest Camp in Uganda. These unique wilderness properties, in areas of outstanding natural beauty, were created to operate on an environmentally-sustainable basis. As the head of the Abercrombie & Kent Group of Companies, Geoffrey Kent brings a truly extraordinary lifetime of experience, innovation and genuine passion to the world's most exclusive luxury adventure travel experiences. A pioneer of the modern luxury safari, Mr. Kent has taken his company - and his clients - from undiscovered areas of the African continent to the furthermost reaches of the globe.  Kent was born while his parents were on a safari!

Don't miss an opportunity to attend the Symposium and congratulate these deserving honorees in person.  There is still time to register to attend the Symposium and only a few spots left for Sponsorship which includes Exhibit space.  You can proceed to Registration HERE or to Sponsorship HERE.

The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association ( is the organizer of the symposium, which runs from October 22 to 24, 2012. The event features three impactful days of speakers, industry panels, live entertainment and exhibits. Attendees will have ample opportunity to network, share ideas and inspirations, and learn about the latest trends in various sectors of the hospitality industry. The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, site of the first Academy Awards in 1929, provides a regal backdrop to this event.

Sponsors of the Symposium: Alioscopy,  Concept Amenities, Digital Alchemy, eReleases, Frontgate (gala dinner), Greenberg Traurig LLP, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Lather, LodgeNet Interactive Corporation, NEWH, Northern Feather Canada, Oliphant Films, Restoration Hardware, Sferra Fine Linens, Standard Textile & SK, STR, Suite Life (Venture Insurance), UNIQ Print, Vizergy, Yo! Dog Marketing.

Media sponsors: Boutique Design, Hospitality Design Magazine, Hospitality Net, Hotel Business Magazine, Hotel-Online, HOTELS Magazine, Hotel News Now, Travel Weekly. 


About the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association

The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association ( is the first and only association dedicated to uniting the world's boutique and lifestyle properties. Created to be the unifying voice of this distinctive subset within the hospitality industry, its goal is to unite the world's collection of boutique & lifestyle properties and the suppliers that sustain them, offering them the opportunity to successfully compete on a level playing field with major hotel companies, as well as market themselves to meet the ever-increasing demand from discerning boutique-seeking clients.


Frances Kiradjian
Founder, Chair, Publisher
The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA)
6520 Platt Avenue, Suite 842 / West Hills, CA 91307 USA

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SOURCE Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association