JLL Hotels and Hospitality Associate – Investment Sales, Taylor O’Brien, spoke to HM about finding her feet in the hotel industry, inspiring leaders, and the importance of technology in the future of hotels.

Tell me about how you got started in the industry and a bit about your current role.

My entry into the world of hotels and hospitality began with my longstanding interest in real estate, which later led me to the opportunity of combining both my professional aspirations to work in commercial real estate, with my love for hotels, travel and tourism.

I began my professional journey at JLL within the Hotels and Hospitality Valuation and Advisory team, where I gained a strong understanding of the full spectrum of hotel and hospitality assets and operations. After almost four years, I transitioned to the Hotel Investment Sales team at JLL towards the end of 2021.

I have been privileged to engage with exceptional hotel assets across the Asia Pacific region. My primary focus has been on facilitating accommodation divestment and advising clients on strategic investments.

What was it about the hotels industry that appealed to you?

I have always been fascinated by the world of real estate, and the allure of hotels in particular. Hotels are not just buildings; they are destinations that embody experiences and emotions. Being part of an industry where I can contribute to shaping those experiences, whether through investment sales or strategic advisory, is incredibly rewarding.

Do you have a career mentor or support network? 

Throughout my career, I have been fortunate to find mentors within the hotels and real estate industry who have generously shared their knowledge and experiences with me.

My recent move from Brisbane to Sydney has further enabled me to be part of industry associations and networking groups which has helped build a strong support network. These connections have provided me with valuable insights, new opportunities, and a greater sense of belonging in our industry. I encourage any emerging professional who is new to the industry to get involved in as many social and networking opportunities as possible, you never know who you could meet!

Who inspires you professionally?

For me, this answer is simple; Gilda Perez-Alvarado. Gilda holds the esteemed position of global CEO of Hotels and Hospitality at JLL, making her the highest-ranking woman worldwide in hospitality commercial real estate brokerage.

It is Gilda’s illustrious career in hotel investment sales that motivates me to continuously strive for excellence, and her outlook on re-designing the workplace to be inclusive for all individuals, especially women in an industry traditionally dominated by men, is genuinely inspiring.   

What change would you like to see in the industry?

As professionals within the industry, it is crucial for us to remain vigilant about the advancements in technology, as it serves as the catalyst for transformative changes impacting various sectors and asset categories, with hotels and hospitality being no exception. It would be great to see the next generation of our industry continue to champion this wave of change.