Wyndham adds 25th brand

Wyndham Hotels has added to its extended stay offering by acquiring the WaterWalk brand of aparthotels.

The deal has been explained as a strategic partnership with WaterWalk, which currently has 11 hotels with over 1,500 rooms, across key US city markets including Tuscon, Jacksonville and Wichita. The brand is an upscale extended stay offer, and will become the 25th brand in the Wyndham stable, complementing the group’s existing economy and midscale brands.

Created by industry leader

WaterWalk was created by Jack DeBoer, an extended stay pioneer who, in previous years helped establish brands including Residence Inn and Candlewood Stuites, now respectively part of the Marriott and IHG brand families. It was established in 2014 and has grown under the management of DeBoer’s family until now.

WaterWalk properties are different from other mainstream extended stay brands, in having two types of unit available for guests. The Stay unit is a typical extended stay apartment, while its Live units are made available unfurnished, offered on a more long term basis to those who would like to make a space their own. These rent for typically three to six months, and are offered with inclusive utilities.

“In the last year, guest demand for the extended stay segment reached record highs,” noted Chip Ohlsson, Wyndham’s chief development officer. In the US, increased infrastructure spending by the government has led to strong demand for medium stay accommodation, from construction and engineering teams working on major projects. “Our vision is to offer the industry’s most robust portfolio of extended stay brands, and the addition of WaterWalk marks an important step in that direction.”

Focus on extended stay

Wyndham has pushed hard into the extended stay space in recent years. Its first brand in the niche was Hawthorn Suites, which has 77 sites – of these, 69 are in the US with a modest presence in China, India, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Nigeria. The brand is being deployed on both property conversions, as well as new build opportunities.

More recently, in 2022, Wyndham launched ECHO Suites, an economy extended stay product, which has gained considerable traction, with over 265 properties signed to its pipeline, and the first half dozen nearing construction completion. Wyndham secured the backing of Canadian developer MasterBUILT Hotels in mid 2023, taking the brand north into Canada, and expects to have 100 ECHO properties open within the brand’s first five years. Among ECHO sites in development are Plano, Texas and Meridian in Idaho.