How Leon Avigad's "Brownies" succeed

Plus: IHG's 'myFlex' pilot to address work/life balance

How Leon Avigad's "Brownies" succeed

Leon Avigad is a hotel lifer who collected hotel brochures as a child and worked for Dan Hotels as well as classic luxury properties across Europe before co-founding boutique hotel company Brown Hotels in 2010.

Like many, he and his team pivoted during COVID, launching extended-stay programs that attracted families and people of all ages looking to get away. “Brown was first intended to be funky, cool, savvy, fun-loving party-going spot for 35- to 55-year-olds. And all of a sudden, we’re attracting families, empty nesters and long stays – segments we never touched before. And this is what helped us overcome the pandemic.”

Understanding early on that the pandemic was not going to be short-lived, the Brown team started calling suppliers to ask for some relief, as well as landlords and banks. Then it continued to search for different target markets, tapping the locals, as well as divorcees and plastic surgery patients – and it paid off, Avigad said.

Brown Hotels even dedicated one full hotel just to kids, after a focus group that included Avigad’s daughter and some of her friends taught them Play Doh is not an experience they want to offer. They created virtual reality and selfie stations, as well as Nintendo and TikTok options. “This is how we survived the summer,” he said. “We just discovered more and more niches and were very dynamic. Where other hotel chains just started to be very introverted and cutting costs – and we did cut costs, too – we just kept finding new market niches.”

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IHG pilots 'myFlex' to address work/life balance

Prospective and existing employees at IHG Hotels and Resorts in Australia will soon have the freedom to relocate to any suitable vacancy at any of the network’s hotels under a new flexible work arrangement to be introduced.

In an effort to stimulate the jobs market and meet its recruitment and operation targets, the company has launched the new ‘myFlex’ HR system, where employees can self-schedule their own hours at any IHG managed hotel in Australia, working as and when they want.

“We want job seekers to know that we offer great pay and conditions, elevated with unmatched flexibility and fantastic benefits.” - Matt Tripolone, IHG Hotels and Resorts Managing Director, Australasia and Pacific

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