Sir Richard Branson offered only a few more details on the launch of his latest brand, Virgin Hotels, but the engaging entrepreneur captivated approximately 2,000 attendees during the keynote address Tuesday at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in San Diego.
Branson hobbled and was helped to the stage by four “lovely ladies”—flight attendants from Virgin America—after recently injuring his knee while skiing, he said. Seated, Branson then spent 40 minutes answering questions from local San Diego news anchor Susan Lennon and a handful from the audience of hotel industry professionals.
The topics ranged from his new hotel brand to his plans for space travel. On the new hotel brand, he said the first property wouldn’t open for two years, which was an update to the news from the launch at September’s Lodging Conference when Raul Leal, the brand’s new chief operating officer and president, said the first would open in 12 to 18 months.