Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest hotel franchising company with approximately 9,000 hotels across nearly 95 countries, is launching its own economy extended-stay hotel brand.
The company has newly awarded contracts to develop 50 new hotels with its first two partners: Richmond, Va.-based Sandpiper Hospitality and Dallas-based Gulf Coast Hotel Management.
Operating under the working title ‘Project ECHO’—an acronym for ‘Economy Hotel Opportunity’—the all new-construction brand fills whitespace within the larger company portfolio while expanding the company into a growing sector. Wyndham has been developing the brand since summer 2021.
“Over the last two years, economy extended-stay hotels outperformed all other segments, and in 2021, set new records in key performance indicators,” said Geoff Ballotti, president and chief executive officer, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts. “Demand for these accommodations only continues to climb—both from guests and developers alike—making now the right time for Wyndham, the definitive leader in the economy segment, to bring our experience and expertise to this high-potential space.”
According to a company news release, during the global pandemic, U.S. RevPAR for the economy extended-stay hotel brands grew eight percent versus 2019 while the rest of the industry declined 17 percent. Further, in 2021, the average U.S. occupancy for economy extended-stay hotels was over 78 percent —20 points higher than all other U.S. segments combined.
The purpose-built, 124-room Project ECHO prototype requires just under two acres of land and features multiple characteristics meant to separate it from traditional economy brands. Coming in at just over 50,000 square feet—nearly 74 percent of which is rentable—individual rooms average 300 square feet and consist of single and two-queen studio suites with in-suite kitchenettes while public spaces—a lobby, fitness center, and guest laundry—help to limit labor needs.
The brand expects to open its first hotel in 2023, and the company is targeting at least 300 hotels over the next 10 years in the U.S. with potential for additional growth internationally.
Additional details around Project ECHO—including the brand’s official name—are slated to be announced when the brand formally launches later this year.