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Sharon Hirschowitz

Global Head of Media & Communications
Sharon Hirschowitz
Sharon Hirschowitz is the editor of the ILHA's magazine, Luxury Hoteliers, and is involved in content creation across all of the ILHA's platforms. She heads up the curation of the ILHA's INSPIRE conference, taking place internationally, as well as in the United States, creating the agenda and securing senior hospitality experts to speak on trending topics. As fashion editor, she was part of the launch team for the South African edition of the New York-based InStyle magazine. Prior to that, she was involved in the conception, production, styling and art direction of all instore posters, magazine ads, mailers, and television ads for Truworths, a South African department store with multiple brands, and took part in the Rooi Rose Supermodel event as a sponsor, covering it in the inhouse magazine. She has a BA English and Journalism diploma from the University of Cape Town.
Insights by Sharon Hirschowitz

Sébastien Roelly: A Masterful Culinary Maestro Elevating Whiteface Lodge’s Dining Experience

Enter Sébastien Roelly, a name that resonates with culinary enthusiasts seeking an extraordinary dining experience. With a career spanning over 25 years, Roelly’s impressive training and collaboration with acclaimed chefs have solidified his position as a true luminary in the realm of culinary artistry. Join us as we explore the remarkable journey of this French-trained virtuoso and his current role as the Executive Chef at the renowned Whiteface Lodge in Lake Placid, New York.

SPOTLIGHT ON Sonja Chase, Hotel Manager, Thompson and Tommie Austin

Sonja Chase talks about what sets their hotel apart in terms of customer experience and amenities. She also shares the hotel’s approach to handling guest complaints, sustainability initiatives, employee training, and plans for future expansion and improvement. With a focus on providing a unique and high-quality experience to guests, the Thompson and tommie Austin aim to become a proud asset to the community in Austin.

SPOTLIGHT ON: Ricardo Farinha, Chief Commercial Officer for Savoy Signature

Ricardo Farinha, the Chief Commercial Officer of Savoy Signature, offers valuable insights into the brand’s past and future plans. Beginning as a small family business, Savoy Signature has evolved into a collection of six hotels, each offering distinctive and personalized experiences. With a background in project finance and public-private partnerships, Farinha brings a global perspective to his work in project management and financing at Savoy Signature.

Chelsey Leffet Promoted to Managing Director at HVS and Leads Northeast Region

Chelsey Leffet, a board member of the ILHA East Coast Chapter, has been recently promoted to Managing Director at HVS. She now leads the Washington, D.C. Consulting & Valuation office and is also the Director of the HVS Northeast region. Chelsey has consulted on hotels of all asset classes and development stages throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, including several hostel lodging assets.

Changing the Way We Think About Design Entertainment: Rika Lisslö on “Hotels ByDesign”

Rika Lisslö, a board member of the ILHA East Coast Chapter, has joined the presenting and judging panel for the first season of Hotels By Design. This television series is focused on the world of “design entertainment,” delving into the realms of industrial design, architecture, interior design, landscapes, and gardens. Rika Lisslö is a key figure in the show, sharing her expertise as both a presenter and judge.

SPOTLIGHT ON Shannon Knapp, President and CEO, Leading Hotels of the World

Shannon Knapp shares her inspiration for a career in hospitality as well as her approach to ensuring each of the 400+ properties in the Leading Hotels of the World portfolio maintain their high standards of quality and service the company is known for. She also discusses how LHW balances individuality and character with the need for consistency, emerging trends in the luxury travel industry and the steps member hotels are taking to reduce their environmental impact.

ILHA Chapter, Conference and Webinar News in luxury hospitality

The International Luxury Hotel Association’s East Coast Chapter recently hosted a meetup at the newly renovated Kimpton Epic Area 31 in Miami, Florida, which was well attended despite the approaching tropical storm. Guests from the luxury hospitality, spa, and wellness industries enjoyed networking, sharing best practices, and new ideas in a beautiful setting with refreshing cocktails and breathtaking views of Miami Beach. 

SPOTLIGHT ON Daniela Trovato, Regional Vice President and General Manager, Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club

In this exclusive interview, we speak with Daniela Trovato, Regional Vice President and General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel and Residences at The Surf Club, who is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of this iconic hotel and providing guidance for three additional distinctive South Florida properties.

SPOTLIGHT ON Rebecca Hubbard, Lotte New York Palace

Our conversation with Rebecca Hubbard covers a range of topics including valuable lessons learned throughout their career such as the importance of relationships, continuous learning, and purposeful conviction. She shares her approach to overcoming challenges faced during a $140M hotel renovation and her commitment to providing exceptional service for guests. We also explore Becky’s involvement with important industry organizations and their response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Spotlight On Jessica Higginbotham, General Manager of The Elms Hotel and Spa 

The Elms Hotel & Spa, a historic Missouri landmark, has undergone a renovation and now offers guests an exquisite blend of modern amenities and original design elements. Among its unique offerings, the hotel is renowned for its iconic paranormal tours, which have gained popularity since it was featured on SyFy’s Ghost Hunters in 2013.

SPOTLIGHT ON Claudia Adriano, General Manager of Andaz San Diego

Claudia Adriana shares how Andaz San Diego prepares for the peak foodie season in April by increasing events and activations on the rooftop, incorporating specialty menus at its restaurants, and providing prime access for guests to explore even more culinary options in the vibrant Gaslamp District.

SPOTLIGHT ON Michael Brod, Managing Director at Canoe Place Inn & Cottages

In this insightful interview, Michael regales us with the fascinating history of this legendary property, the inspiration behind the extensive renovation, and the exciting new programs and initiatives that have been introduced to entice both the local community and travelers alike. We also delve into the delectable culinary experiences on offer, and discover some of the highlights of the grand reopening of this illustrious landmark.

Donte Johnson, Area Director and General Manager at the Hotel Revival has just joined the International Luxury Hotel Association’s East Coast Chapter Leadership Board. 

Donte Johnson is a successful hospitality professional and a native of Washington D.C. After graduating from Saint Peter’s University, he started his career with Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants where he held various positions including concierge, director of guest services, area revenue manager, and assistant general manager.

ILHA Member Q&A: Rafael Peña, Travel Expert, Travel Noire

I see more Americans are in search of more culture-filled experiences. It’s not just about fancy stays or first-class commercial flights to major cities you’ve seen in Hollywood movies. Luxury travel is also no longer limited to one socioeconomic group of people. Social media has opened the floodgates and exposed luxury experiences to a larger audience.

Spotlight on Zach Demuth, Global Head of Hotels Research at JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group

As the leader of JLL’s global hotel research platform, Zach tracks industry trends in the Americas, Asia Pacific, and EMEA and spearheads the data acquisition strategy for the hotels and hospitality group. He shares his insight on the increase in the volume of real estate investment transactions in the luxury sector, the growth of international travel and the global investment outlook for 2023.

Food & Beverage Trends to Watch in 2023

The hotel food and beverage industry is in a constant state of flux, always adapting to the latest trends and consumer demands. As we head into 2023, the industry is poised for exciting changes driven by nostalgia, sustainability, health, and innovation. From a resurgence of classic flavors and dishes, to a focus on locally sourced ingredients, to a continued emphasis on wellness, to the quest for unique and memorable dining experiences, these trends are all about creating a one-of-a-kind experience for guests.

ILHA INSPIRE Conference Report Back

The high-powered conference included immersive and engaging elements to help elevate its programming even further. Encore served as the strategic production partner, enhancing the event’s impact with a high level of execution. The team transformed the stage with a striking LED wall that reinforced the speakers’ messaging and enabled greater audience engagement during each panel via its Chime Live app, which connected in-person and virtual participants with opportunities to network, watch sessions, and learn more about the featured speakers and products.

SPOTLIGHT ON Patrick Huey, General Manager, We Care Spa

La Société Bar & Café at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Downtown Soma. Photo credit to Christine Gatti.

The hotel food and beverage industry is in a constant state of flux, always adapting to the latest trends and consumer demands. As we head into 2023, the industry is poised for exciting changes driven by nostalgia, sustainability, health, and innovation. From a resurgence of classic flavors and dishes, to a focus on locally sourced ingredients, to a continued emphasis on wellness, to the quest for unique and memorable dining experiences, these trends are all about creating a one-of-a-kind experience for guests. To get a pulse on what’s in store for the industry in 2023, we asked top hospitality experts for their insights on the most impactful food and beverage trends.

“I couldn’t be more excited about what’s to come for our restaurants and bars in 2023.”

Patrick Yumul, Chief Executive Officer, TableOne Hospitality

Xperience Culture

“I am anticipating the continuation of “big experience restaurants” where entertainment is ingrained in the overall program – a la theatrical elements. We want our guests to be transported like they’ve never been before – not only by the environment but by the food – and as a result, restaurants will continue to blur the lines between dinner and theatre. A perfect example of this is that I strongly believe we will see piano bars and supper clubs continue to emerge around the country.

High density city centers will elevate the restaurant and bar offerings – making dining options less tourist driven and more desirable for locals and employees. Having witnessed the amazing transformation that Tishman Speyer drove for New York City’s Rockefeller Center with the programming of restaurants like Le Rock, Pebble Bar, Lodi and Naro, I believe that other developers will follow suit across the country.

Separately, but interesting as well, due to the pandemic, we saw a lot of top talent leaving major metro areas to settle into suburbs and neighborhoods that were “off the beaten path.” As a result, these communities will benefit from the creativity and passion that these chefs and restaurateurs bring to elevate the local dining scene.

Through creative tech applications like Chat GPT and AI, I believe chefs, restaurateurs, and makers of all types will introduce these apps to into the customer journey.

New Culinary Directions

I am still anticipating Peruvian cuisine to take America by storm.  This country is so special and has really benefitted from its bounty of local product.  The flavors and techniques from this region are bold, diverse, delicious and highly addictive.

I also have my eye on Ethiopian cuisine. While already popular in some communities throughout the U.S., I think we will see it grow even more. It’s a great communal dining experience with spice and character.” Patrick Yumul, Chief Executive Officer, TableOne Hospitality

“A food and beverage trend we’ve found to be popular is a rise in Filipino influences in cuisine. The diverse flavors of the Hawaiian Islands is made from various heritages, including a strong Filipino community. Our menu at Japengo celebrates many flavors of the Pacific Rim and has recently introduced new dishes and cocktails that put the spotlight on Filipino flavors, fruits and vegetables. Our new Warm Eggplant & Shrimp Salad is a modern take on a dish that was inspired by a classic Filipino dish. It includes bagoong, a well-known fermented shrimp paste, alongside aromatic garlic, onion and tomato – ingredients that are considered the holy trinity or a version of a mirepoix in Filipino cuisine. New on Japengo’s cocktail list is our version of the paloma, which combines patron silver with Philippine lime in our Calamansi Paloma and the Kai Colada that uses and the well-known Pandan fruit.” Chef Gevin Utrillo, Executive Chef at Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa

Eating for Wellness

The healthy and lifestyle eating trend continues and has actually evolved into the day to day eating pattern of our guests at Omni Hotels & Resorts. Omni’s menus across the brand now include food categories such as gluten free, vegan, dairy free and plant proteins. These options use to be an after thought but now it is a must have in 2023. Single-origin, clean, and ethically sourced foods are also in continued high demand as guests want to know both the origin story as well as the preparation of their food. Omni Hotels & Resorts created their own ethically sourced, single-origin coffee – “Stance”. Stance Coffee is a great tasting, high-quality coffee built on a commitment of sustainability and innovation. In the beverage space, we have more guests willing to pay more for high end ultra-premium tiered wines and spirits. Two specific categories which stand out are bio-dynamic wines and premium sipping tequilas. On the other end of the spectrum are more guests who are committing themselves to a NA lifestyle and who are looking for the craft cocktail experience without the hangover.” Devin Burns, Vice President, Rooms and Food & Beverage, Omni Hotels & Resorts

“Plant-based meals and restaurants are becoming increasingly popular. Putting vegetables and plant-based food items at the forefront of the dish versus it being a side like before is better for us healthwise, the planet and animals. Meat has been the focus for so long, but there’s so much room to explore what can be done with plant-based dishes. At NoMo Kitchen, we put plant-based meals at the forefront of our menu during brunch, lunch and dinner. A majority of our brunch dishes are served vegan or gluten-free, making each one healthy and delicious. Our burrata and salads are also made with all-natural ingredients such as watercress and Asian pears to help guests explore an all-natural New York City dining experience.” Iwona Lukza and Chef Evan Bergman, Director of Food and Beverage and Executive Chef at NoMo SoHo

Sycamore Vino Cucina at Middle Eight

“Consumers are increasingly conscious of the connection that food and drink have to their health as well as the wellbeing of the planet,” said Gary Lee, executive chef of London’s Sycamore Vino Cucina, located within Middle Eight, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ L.V.X. Collection. “We continue to see growth in demand for sustainable, seasonal ingredients from low-carbon footprint suppliers, natural wines, and low-ABV and alcohol-free alternatives to drinking. We are also seeing a growing interest in global cuisines, such as African fusion, which relies on a plant-forward approach and traditional spices. It is exciting to see how restaurants are meeting these demands with high-quality dining experiences that are both mindful and flavourful.” 

Shopping Directly at the Farm

Given inflation and the outrageous price gouging of home staples like eggs, butter, etc., Chris Antonio, General Manager at Rest Co, in Sullivan Catskills in NY predicts locals and tourists shopping directly at farms and farmer stands. Meyers Century Farm’s stand in Jeffersonville is an adorable spot that is much more affordable than local retailers’ markups, and it only makes sense to buy directly from the source. 

Cocktail Creation using Foraged Ingredients

Chris lives on Swiss Hill and has an abundance of ramps and wild leeks.  Given his bartending background and love for classical cocktails, he’ll be  experimenting with infusing gin with ramps to make the perfect Gibson. A sweet pickle ramp garnish is the cherry on the top! 

Mood Victuals

“Given the legalization of Cannabis, hemp leaves are making a pronounced debut in cocktail garnishes. The flavors of shiso and mellow mint are showcased in tasty leaves and certainly elevate a cocktail.” Chris Antonio, General Manager at Rest Co. in Sullivan Catskills in NY

“Epicurean food is more delicious paired with the right wine: Imagine the mind-blowing deliciousness of a skilled match-up of expertly prepped food and top-shelf cannabis. Limewood at Claremont Club & Spa in partnership with Cultivating Spirits proudly launched the Enlightened Dinner Series two years ago. CashoM’s Philip Wolf  serves as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. Guests are seated at community-inspired long tables, where they  enjoy cannabis strains that epitomize the terroir of Northern California.” Chef Joseph Paire, Executive Chef, Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel

If 2022 was the year of the non-alcoholic cocktail, 2023 will be the year of the functional and/or nootropic cocktails.  I think we will see a rise in cocktail offerings that can enhance mood and spirit using ingredients like adaptogens and botanicals that will provide a health benefit with some added bliss. Patrick Yumul, Chief Executive Officer, TableOne Hospitality

The New Nostalgia

“I believe food trends for 2023 will be strongly focused on clean, healthy, and nostalgic eating. There is a movement for whole ingredient substitutes such as honey instead of sugar and different beans replacing animal-based proteins and preserved foods. For example, here on property at Canoe Place Inn and Cottages, the Fava Bean Hummus is one of our best-sellers. We also confit and quick pickle our vegetables, so no good food ever goes to waste. 

To bring back nostalgic meals, Canoe Place is launching, ‘Throwback Thursday’s’ to highlight almost century old recipes with simple and familiar dishes, including a Duck a l’orance and Lobster Thermidore. With a rise in desire for a healthier lifestyle since Covid, consumers are more thoughtful about what ingredients are in their food and looking for fewer and more nutritious ingredients that will ultimately make the dish.” Executive Chef Ülfet Ralph at Canoe Place Inn and Cottages

Crafting Stories

Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa’s Library by the Sea bar

“At Kimpton Restaurants & Bars, we’re eyeing emerging trends in the industry but also looking to our own culinary and bar talent to drive what’s next. If the last few years have showed us anything, people want to feel like they make the most of their time out and about. They want to be entertained. They want to have a memorable experience. We’re encouraging our restaurants and bars to get creative on that front and see appetite for experiential, intimate cocktail bars, like our story-driven cocktail menu at Library by the Sea in Grand Cayman. Our teams are constantly bringing something new and exciting to each destination that we are in. Something that you look at and say, ‘I’ve got to try this.’” Scott Gingerich, SVP, Restaurants & Bars at Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants

“At Crescent Restaurant Group we focus on all trends, but the main is the trend of unique guest experiences. We want to ensure that our guests have unforgettable experiences at our restaurants and venues, so we focus on full-property food and beverage activations that will differentiate us from the norm.  Working on key team training, partnerships with great beverage partners and guest facing technology we can ensure a seamless approach to this unique experience methodology. Throughout the pandemic we understood that our chance to capture internal and external guests came down to the “1st Date” between our restaurants and venues and diners so we needed to be able to not only be creative and unique for our guests but also fail fast and explore new ideas weekly. We curate unforgettable restaurants and venues for our properties and continue to ideate new ways to excite and intrigue our guests which is paramount for success in this day for food and beverage. Arrival welcome drinks, pop up cocoa bars, hallway wine tasting and random cooking demonstrations are all successful ideas to elevate the overall experience.” Alfio Celia, Vice President of Crescent Restaurant Group

SPOTLIGHT ON Tomás Feier General Manager – Disneyland Hotel – Paris at The Walt Disney Company

Tomás Feier talks about his life in hotels.

I’m the fourth generation of my family to work in hotels. I was born in a hotel, and I lived my entire life as a kid in the hotel with staff that cared so much about me. So it was obvious that I would pursue a life in hotels. There were some distractions: my older brother had a model train which he drove through different landscapes and I said to myself: “This is great, I need to be a locomotive driver, because I could have a frequent change of scenery, which was something that I felt I needed to have in the future – but I realised that I could this in the hotel sector.

SPOTLIGHT ON Jorge Munoz, Co-Founder of Stay One Degree

Quick to respond to the change in consumer behavior during the pandemic, Stay One Degree focused on personalized local experiences and curating specialized packages with Mandarin Oriental in Miami. Guests are requesting longer stays and travel is anticipated to rebound strongly in 2022 with bucket-list trips, family gatherings and FOLO.

SPOTLIGHT ON Elizabeth Andrews, General Manager, The Opus, Westchester

Andrews is a former modern dancer, studying dance at Cornell University and choreographed and performed new works in New York City for many years. Her hospitality career began as a front desk agent at 60 Thompson (now SIXTY SoHo) where she moved her way up the ranks to General Manager over the course of ten years. She has since held General Manager roles at multiple boutique hotel properties where she combines her passions and expertise in luxury hospitality, creativity and art.

SPOTLIGHT ON Colin Cowie, CEO, Colin Cowie Lifestyle

Customer service, programming and setting your brand apart from the noise are imperative to creating a successful message. Colin Cowie talks about the return of celebrations and his latest book, The Gold Standard: Giving your Customers What They Didn’t Know They Wanted.

Spotlight On Dan McGowan, General Manager, Fairmont Empress

Fairmont Empress Hotel sits proudly at the centre of culture and history in Victoria, British Columbia. This is the best of all worlds – where contrast meets distinction, opulence blends harmoniously with the understated and fabled history meshes with contemporary affairs. One of the oldest hotels in Victoria and a National Historic Site built in 1908, this grand dame is an alluring blend of classic and contemporary, vintage and cutting-edge.

SPOTLIGHT ON Nils-Arne Schroeder, Global Brand Head, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Head of Luxury & Lifestyle, Asia Pacific

Hilton launched their CleanStay this summer and has focused on meeting the ever-changing needs of their guests, introducing WorkSpaces by Hilton for those that need a quiet alternative to home. Nils-Arne also talks about exciting new projects in the pipeline and the long term influence the pandemic will have on luxury travel.

Q&A: Roxie Sarhangi, Sound Healer

Roxie will be doing a sound healing meditative experience at the International Luxury Hotel Association’s INSPIRE2020 Conference. She tells us about the roots of her practice and how she is sharing her art with hotels and her virtual audience.

SPOTLIGHT ON Russell Kett, Chairman, HVS, London

Russell joined HVS in 1995 and was appointed managing director in 1996, becoming chairman in 2012. He has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from HOSPA, the hospitality professionals’ association, in 2011, and the ‘Hall of Fame’ Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hot.E hotel investment conference in London in 2017. He shares his thoughts on the long term effects of the pandemic and strategies to survive.

SPOTLIGHT ON Jason Kruse, General Manager at Amilla Maldives Resort and Residences and The Small Maldives Island Company

When the borders to the Maldives closed Jason and his team decided to use the time to take advantage of their setting and get creative with some innovative projects that include sustainable superfood gardening, a jungle gymnasium, “Cluckinghampalace” and more.

The Future of Hotel Design

The International Luxury Hotel Association’s NorthEast Chapter hosted a webinar on The Future of Design where they discussed how they have had to respond to the crisis in current projects and adapt with innovative solutions and technologies while placing a renewed value on vendor relationships as we all face a pandemic reality.

SPOTLIGHT ON Anna Domingo, Founder, PADZZLE

Brands need to stay connected to their community by building trust and engaging with their guests each step of the journey. Safety is key and investment in technology is essential as contactless solutions, AI and loyalty based programs determine success.

SPOTLIGHT ON Elizabeth Blau, Founder & CEO of Blau + Associates

Elizabeth reinvented the Las Vegas culinary scene, transforming it into a lively experience with celebrity chefs and world-class dining. Her clients include New York’s Rainbow Room, Montage Resorts, Ritz Carlton Hotels and Resorts, Netjets, Celebrity Cruises, Trump Casinos, and Viceroy Hotels, to mention a few. She also moderated The International Luxury Hotel Association’s webinar on the Future of F&B, facilitating a discussion with experts on real-life challenges in an unprecedented time.

SPOTLIGHT ON Roland Fasel, Chief Operating Officer, Aman

Offering guests a sanctuary that is safe but still retains the DNA of the Aman brand is at the forefront of the group’s philosophy as they navigate the new travel landscape. Advice: your staff are at the center of everything you do. Focus on the elements you can control to offer genuine, heartfelt hospitality.

SPOTLIGHT ON Sebastien Silvestri, CEO, The Dinex Group

It is inspiring to see such a dynamic and purposeful approach to a catastrophic event. Sebastien talks about Chef Daniel’s generosity towards his team and first responders as his restaurants closed. He also outlines their plan for the future, with safety a priority and innovative ideas to keep guests entertained.

SPOTLIGHT ON Jerry Henry, CEO of H2R Market Research

What factors are travelers using to determine whether it is safe to travel and how is this influencing their travel behavior? Market research by H2R Market Research gives a glimpse into the state of the traveler’s mind as they navigate their own journey through the health crisis that is having a profound affect on the luxury hotel sector.

SPOTLIGHT ON Ofra Gelman, Principal, Dwell Design Studio

Ofra’s first project was the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas followed by the design and construction of the Mirage Conference Center. Both had no budget nor deadline. She has since had a reality check and has done extensive work on both hotels and mixed-use projects. The ILHA asked her how COVID-19 has affected the design industry and its influence for years to come.

SPOTLIGHT ON Anna Domingo, Founder, PADZZLE

Brands need to stay connected to their community by building trust and engaging with their guests each step of the journey. Safety is key and investment in technology is essential as contactless solutions, AI and loyalty based programs determine success.

SPOTLIGHT ON David T’Kint, Principle of HBA EMEA

A glimpse into the future as COVID-19 challenges hotel design to be more sustainable and relevant, moving agiley to reflect the importance of wellness, privacy and space. David T’Kint, who has worked on some of the most prestigious hotel brands, including the Great Scotland Yard in London’s Whitehall, talks about how this will be reflected in the aesthetic experience.

The Future of F&B

Elizabeth Blau, Founder & CEO of Blau+Associates moderated the International Luxury Hotel Association’s webinar on The Future of F&B, with panelists Santi Rodriguez, Operations Director, Nobu Hotels, Sebastien Silvestri, CEO, Dinex, Steven Kamali, Founder, Hospitality House, and Daniel Hostettler, President, Relais & Châteaux, North America & Group Managing Director, OHM Collection.

SPOTLIGHT ON Arlene Coke, Director Accounting, Treasure & Strategic Relationship, Club Med

Sustainability is more than a trend, it’s a way of life that the luxury hospitality industry is investing both its time and resources into towards a better future for the next generation and our planet. Arlene tells us about Club Med’s sustainability initiatives, their challenges, and the importance of having the right partners who also want to do the right thing.

SPOTLIGHT ON Martin Smura, CEO, Kempinski

Appointed as CEO in 2019, Mr. Smura talks about the group’s expansion internationally, as well as their first property in New York, situated close to Rockefeller Center. At the heart of this growth are the Kempinski Brand Standards that set the tone for personalized guest service along the entire journey.

SPOTLIGHT ON Azadeh Hawkins, Creative Director, Montage International

Azadeh will be speaking on the Partnerships – Expand your Narrative panel at the International Luxury Hotel Association’s INSPIRE’19 event where she will share how she lead the Pendry Hotels & Resorts’ collaboration with like-minded partners and also Montage International, to create unique experiences for their guests.

SPOTLIGHT ON Bridgit Tran, Vice President, Global Digital Strategies & Innovation, Nobu

Bridget will be talking about how hoteliers need to change their approach to Digital Revenue Optimization to a profit-forward strategy at the International Luxury Hotel Association’s INSPIRE’19 summit. Here she explains her thinking behind this concept, along with how she has lead phase 1 of their new adaptive website.

SPOTLIGHT ON Alex S. Furrer, General Manager, The Setai, Miami Beach

Alex has spent the last seven years at The Setai, Miami Beach, leading the Quality and Training program that earned them the 2015 Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Award. Guest Satisfaction, loyalty and developing new business with high profile partnerships like Art Basel Miami Beach are key components to his successful leadership of the 90-room hotel, 40 luxury suites and the 125-unit residences.

SPOTLIGHT ON Deborah Yager Fleming, CEO and partner of Acqualina Resort and Spa on the beach

Deborah joined the Acqualina pre-opening team in 2004 and in 2011 she became a partner in the hotel with ownership interest. She has been the driving force behind their Forbes Five Star Award and AAA Five Diamond award, and heads the hotel’s Executive Committee, seeing the brands long term strategies through from conception to execution.

SPOTLIGHT ON Jean-Pierre Lacroix, President, SLD

Jean-Pierre is a visionary design thinker who is dedicated to working with retail brands on interpreting the latest trends for their business and creating strategies that have measurable results. He will be discussing the future at the ILHA’s event in Miami and shares some detail on his talk as well as mistakes brands make when defining their future.

SPOTLIGHT ON Beth Campbell, CEO of Wilson Associates

Beth spoke at the International Luxury Hotel Association’s INSPIRE’18 Summit in Las Vegas on Creating Experience Through Design and highlighted trends that they have incorporated in recent projects. She has over 25 years of experience in global design and has worked on a diverse portfolio of luxury projects that include the Renaissance Xi’an Hotel in China, the Skye Niseko in Japan, Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, the Elysium Hotel in Paphos, Cyprus, and the Marriott Taghazout Bay opening in Morocco late 2019.

SPOTLIGHT ON Stowe Shoemaker, Dean, Harrah College of Hospitality, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Stowe was kind enough to host the International Luxury Hotel Association’s launch party for our INSPIRE’18 Summit in Las Vegas at their brand new campus and also moderate the session Insights from the Asset Managers with Romy Bhojwani and David Israel from HotelAVE. His passion for the process of learning and hospitality is palatable and inspiring as he constantly strives to transform the student experience.

SPOTLIGHT ON David Goldstone, President for the Americas, DigiValet

Mood lighting, themed wake up and drapes slowly opening to a set wake up are other innovations that we are proud of. This leads me into personalization – at the luxury and ultra-luxury level where more than 80% are returning guests, hotels today put tremendous effort into remembering their guest preferences – our technology makes this seamless for a hotel, whether it be their desired room temperature, pillow preference, TV channels or dining requests.

SPOTLIGHT ON NADINE SYKORA, Travel Influencer – Top Travel Vlogger

Nadine Sykora has some impressive statistics behind her. She is the top travel influencer and travel videographer on Youtube having made over 800 videos gaining 40 million+ views. Here, she talks about identifying the right travel blogger for your property and how to build a successful partnership where both of you benefit.

SPOTLIGHT ON Roland Herlory, Chief Executive Officer Vilebrequin

The story behind the French luxury swimwear brand, Vilebrequin, is dreamy, spirited and inspirational. Their dedication to true style, quality, and an endless summer comes across in their vibrant prints and interesting collaborations. In this interview, Roland Herlory dips into their story, successful partnerships, and the way forward.

SPOTLIGHT ON Christian Glauser Benz, Vice President, Development & Acquisitions, Dream Hotel Group

Christian Glauser Benz heads up the expansion of Dream Hotels across all regions with a focus on the South-East US, Latin America, and the Caribbean. The brand is pushing the boundaries of guest experience, incorporating so many of the much talked about hotel trends and focusing on the guest, their journey, and their dream.

SPOTLIGHT ON Geoffrey Toffetti, President, Frontline Performance Group

Geoffrey Toffetti began his career in hospitality as a valet, eventually working his way up to Director of Guest services for Fortune Hotels in St. Petersburg Beach, FL (now the Tradewinds Island Grand). During his tenure, he learned the true nature of service, and how to achieve outstanding revenue performance while providing world-class guest experiences.

SPOTLIGHT ON: Tom Marchant, Owner, and Co-Founder of The Black Tomato Group

Tom prefers to do things differently, and The Black Tomato Group is an extension of his philosophy, creating bespoke travel experiences that start with the dream and discover the destination on the way. Here he talks about truly connecting, engaging and creating experiences that are transformative, and tells us about some favorite travel destinations you’ll want to visit.

SPOTLIGHT ON Daniel Hostettler, President and Group Managing Director at OHM Collection, Relais & Châteaux

Daniel Hostettler talks about Relais & Château’s dedication to both their guests and the environment when exploring culinary trends, or, as he prefers, culinary convictions. As President and Managing Director of Ocean House since the development of the resort in 2009, he has played a pivotal role in the exceptional and sincere performance of Ocean House and its two sister properties, the Weekapaug Inn and Watch Hill Inn.