Wyndham Adds 25th Brand, Hybrid of Hotels and Short-Term Rentals

Skift Take

Unfinished hotel rooms are something new for a major hotel group. That’s what Wyndham is offering in roughly 40% of the rooms of its newest brand.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts announced its 25th brand Tuesday, WaterWalk Extended Stay by Wyndham.

WaterWalk stands out from other hotel brands in that it lets owners sell a mix of rooms, with about 60% marketed as extended-stay hotel rooms and about 40% marketed as short-term rentals.

Wyndham didn’t disclose whether it had outright acquired WaterWalk, a portfolio of 11 extended-stay properties, or what other financial or licensing arrangement might be involved in the deal.

WaterWalk is a Wichita-based company that in 2014 created the hybrid hotel and apartment brand, which offers one-, two- and three-bedroom units that are either furnished or unfurnished upon rental.

WaterWalk’s early partner was Rockford Development Group, which developed eight WaterWalk franchises in San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, and Denver at a cost of roughly $150 million. In 2015, it signed a $100 million deal with UK-based private equity real estate firm, Henley, to build five WaterWalk sites in other U.S. locations. In 2021, an undisclosed global investment management took a significant stake.

WaterWalk Extended Stay by Wyndham kitchenWaterWalk Extended Stay by Wyndham kitchen

For Wyndham, the deal is a strategic expansion beyond its existing extended-stay play. In 2022, it created ECHO Suites, which has 265 new-construction hotels in its development pipeline and is focused on the economy segment. Its Hawthorn brand, which saw 30% growth in its development pipeline last year, is a midscale brand.

WaterWalk is an upscale brand in the extended-stay space. It offers amenities that lower-tier brands lack, such as washers and dryers in each unit, full-sized appliances and granite countertops in every kitchen, and a fully equipped gym in each complex.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity for the brand will be converting properties that were once top-of-the-line extended-stays decades ago but now need refurbishment. However, the latest WaterWalk template can be new construction.

Guests staying 90 days or more can rent an unfurnished room. All guests, regardless of length of stay, can enjoy shared common spaces that, in its latest versions, have espresso-making machines, wall-mounted games, and an outdoor area with gas grills, fire pits, and occasionally enclosed swimming pools.

Accommodations Sector Stock Index Performance Year-to-Date

What am I looking at? The performance of hotels and short-term rental sector stocks within the ST200. The index includes companies publicly traded across global markets, including international and regional hotel brands, hotel REITs, hotel management companies, alternative accommodations, and timeshares.

The Skift Travel 200 (ST200) combines the financial performance of nearly 200 travel companies worth more than a trillion dollars into a single number. See more hotels and short-term rental financial sector performance.

Read the full methodology behind the Skift Travel 200.

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