The ones to watch in 2018

Boutique Hotel News reporter Martha Elwell chooses industry players who will be making the headlines in the boutique and lifestyle hotel sectors over the next 12 months.

Fiona Adams and Mané Ryatt, co-founders of The Know
Co-founders of The Know Adams and Ryatt both hail from banking backgrounds. Spurred on by their love of luxury travel and extensive experience in the business world, they have developed an innovative model for guest feedback. The Know aims to help hotels improve their service by building a mystery guest club in which members, called ‘Knowers’, provide high-end hotels with detailed feedback on how to improve customer experience. Its unique selling point is that real paying guests provide feedback, whereas in traditional models mystery guests are often hotel professionals or individuals whose job it is to review different services. The theory is that paying guests are more likely to offer reliable insights based on real-guest experience.Having carried out a big release with Netguru at the end of November, the future looks bright.

Dax Dasilva, CEO of Lightspeed
Since the UK launch of Lightspeed in 2016, its cloud-based systems have become a staple in a growing number of businesses. Increasingly the company is making inroads in the hospitality industry, where Lightspeed technology is being adopted to perform the role of virtual business assistant, helping the manage the day-to-day duties of running a hotel. Earlier this year Lightspeed’s restaurant EPOS system became the first restaurant management software to receive Oracle certification, providing customers with assurance that the integration between Lightspeed Restaurant and Oracle Hospitality OPERA Cloud Services is functionally sound. As the company expands under the watchful eye of dynamic CEO Dasilva, it will become an increasingly important brand to watch out for in hospitality.

Craig Greenberg, CEO of 21c Museum Hotels
Greenberg was appointed as president and CEO of 21c earlier this year. In his new role he oversees all aspects of the company’s portfolio of museum hotels and restaurants. He is also responsible for guiding the company’s overall direction and strategic objectives as it continues to grow. The company was founded by Steve Wilson in 2006. During Greenber’s tenure as president of 21c Museum Hotels, the company expanded exponentially from a single propery in Louisville, Kentucky, to include properties in six additional markets. He also oversaw real estate developments in excess of $380 million and organised more than 100 art exhibitions in over 75,000 square feet of exhibition space.

Naveed Khan, commercial director at Michels and Taylor Hotel Management
Naveed Khan has taken on the role of commercial director at M&T Hotel Management, assuming overall responsibility and reporting of sales, marketing and revenue management support for the growing portfolio of managed hotels. M&T Hotel Management is one of the UK’s leading hotel management companies specialising in the management of branded and independent hotels. With 9 previous years’ industry experience, Naveed has worked for Eclipse Hotels Group, where he was Group Revenue Manager managing hotels, resorts and safari camps in the UK, Africa, Bahamas and Switzerland. Prior to this, Naveed was Regional Revenue Manager for Kew Green Hotels Limited, managing revenue across multi-brand hotels in the UK.

Rika Lisslö, vice president of acquisitions and development at Two Roads Hospitality
Rika Lisslö is set to play a pivotal role in the expansion of Two Roads as it expands in the North American market over the next year. Two Roads has made substantial advances in the last six month, notably through the expansion of its partnership with NAVIS in October following a trial period during which Two Roads added millions of dollars in incremental revenue. Lisslö was selected for the role having previously served as vice president of acquisitions and development at Dream Hotel Group, where she led brand expansion in North America. She also worked with JF Capital Advisors as managing director with a focus on hospitality.

Enrique Mandl, GM of Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay
Enrique Mandl brings a wealth of industry experience to his new role as the inaugural general manager of Nobu’s innovative Talamanca Bay property. Ibiza Bay is set to make waves in the Ibizan market, attracting a clientele who have previously opted for the wholesale luxury of villa or yacht stays. In particular, Nobu Hotel Ibiza Bay is set to revolutionise the resort dining experience. The properties four restaurants, Nobu, Chambao, Celicioso and Peyotito, make a new standard for luxury F&B offerings on the island.

Sam and Georgie Pearman, co-founders of The Lucky Onion
Earlier this year the visionary co-founders of The Lucky Onion announced that they were to leave the Onion to pursue a new business project. The pair have yet to announce their plans, but they are definitely ones to watch following the success of their first venture together. The Pearmans founded The Lucky Onion boutique hotel group alongside Superdry’s Julian Dunkerton five years ago. The Lucky Onion now counts several successful Cotswold and Cheltenham boutique hotels among its group, including No. 38 The Park, No. 131, The Wheatsheaf Inn and The Tavern.

Frank Reeves, CEO and founder of AVVIO
AVVIO has gone from strength to strength in the last year under the watchful eye of CEO and founder Reeves. AVVIO partners with hotels to grow their direct channel business. Earlier this year AVVIO announced the launch of Allora, the world’s first booking engine powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Allora uses artificial intelligence to learn from every online interaction. The system aims to use this information to provide better online interactions between hotels and guests, improving guest loyalty. The program uses learning models to identify which variations will yield the best booking engine experience, utilising the huge ammount of data accumulated over AVVIO’s network of hotels and accommodation providers to learn these patterns. Given the consistent demonstration of its ability to cater to dynamic market trends and fast-changing technological demands, AVVIO is one to watch as the brand continues to develop.

Eugène Staal, president of Pentahotels
Staal will oversee the global operations and overall development of the Pentahotels brand in his new role. Staal formerly worked in the executive team of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group in Brussels where he led the group through growth as senior vice president of technical services. He improved the leased hotel portfolio of the multi-branded group, helping them grow the Radisson Blu and Park Inn brands in Europe, Africa and Middle East. Staal will play a pivotal role in shaping Pentahotels as it sets out to propel the brand worldwide.

Deasy Swandarini, GM of The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in Ubud, Bali
Deasy Swandarini was appointed as the general manager of The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah in Ubud, Bali earlier this year, making her the first female local to serve in that role. She was appointed to the position by General Hotel Management (GHM). Balinese by birth, Swandarini joined GHM after having spent much of her career in several of Bali’s highly regarded resorts including The Mulia and The Ritz-Carlton, Bali. Previous to joining The Chedi Club she served as general manager of Kamandalu, Ubud where she was successful in repositioning the hotel’s brand identity.

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