In Wyndham, WaterWalk partnership, Wyndham Rewards members now have a new option

Looking to strengthen its product mix in the extended-stay segment, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts has launched a strategic relationship with WaterWalk.

The agreement gives Wyndham another option for its Wyndham Rewards members in the upscale, extended-stay segment and adds 11 hotels, totaling more than 1,500 rooms, to its ecosystem. The new offering will be dubbed WaterWalk Extended Stay by Wyndham, becoming the 25th brand to join Wyndham’s portfolio.

WaterWalk will retain ownership of the properties and the partnership will enable them to fully integrate into Wyndham’s portfolio and access the benefits and services of Wyndham and participate in Wyndham Rewards.

With properties located in key markets, such as Jacksonville, Fla., Tucson, Ariz. and Wichita, Kan., WaterWalk’s portfolio complements Wyndham’s existing economy and midscale extended stay brands.

Interiors of WaterWalk by Wyndham in Phoenix, Ariz.

Guest demand for the extended stay segment touched record highs in 2023, said Chip Ohlsson, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ chief development officer, adding that this was underscored by demand from owners and developers looking for opportunities to collaborate with Wyndham.

“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 — helping ensure we have an offering in every segment, for every owner and for every guest.”

WaterWalk offers traditional, all-suite hotels with two rooms options under the same roof — Live (unfurnished suites) and Stay (hotel-style, fully furnished rooms). While the Stay rooms can be booked for a minimum of one night to over a year, the Live rooms have to be booked for at least 90 days.

WaterWalk was founded in 2014 by the late Jack DeBoer, a veteran in the extended stay segment, having created other successful brands, such as Residence Inn and Candlewood Suites. WaterWalk is now led by his granddaughter and CEO Mimi Oliver.

Calling it a “unique business model,” Oliver previously told HOTELS that the uniqueness of offering unfurnished rooms is what sets WaterWalk apart from similar brands and doesn’t make the brand a direct competitor to other extended stay brands.

All rooms have a fully-equipped kitchen with full-sized appliances, a pantry and kitchen island as well as a full-size washer and dryer and a bathroom. Hotels include The Living Room in the lobby which offer an espresso station, work stations with a printer, oversized wall-mounted board games and a television. Other amenities include a fitness center, pool, community events and outdoor spaces.

Since WaterWalk opened its first hotel in Wichita in November 2014, the upscale extended stay brand’s portfolio has grown to comprise 11 hotels across the U.S. The latest hotels will feature the brand’s Gen 2.0 prototype, which blends efficient design and reduced operating costs.

Interiors of a Stay unit at a WaterWalk Extended Stay by Wyndham hotel.

Under the new prototype, all hotels will have a single four-story high building comprising 126 rooms — 76 fully furnished suites and 50 unfurnished units. Fully-furnished Stay units range from studio suites and one- and two-bedroom suites; while unfurnished Live units are available in one- and two-bedroom suites.

“WaterWalk’s success is the culmination of decades of experience in extended stay combined with a relentless pursuit for driving innovation and delivering exceptional guest experiences. We believe WaterWalk is our best brand yet and our decision to bring it into the Wyndham portfolio is a pivotal moment in its evolution, one we believe will lead to enhanced efficiencies, performance and growth — all thanks to the Wyndham Advantage,” Oliver said in a statement.

The addition of WaterWalk marks Wyndham’s third extended stay brand, following the launches of ECHO Suites Extended Stay by Wyndham and Hawthorn Extended Stay by Wyndham. With these three brands, Wyndham is looking to establish a robust portfolio of long stay options best suited for guests’ evolving needs.

The agreement will help WaterWalk access Wyndham Advantage, the marketing, distribution and resources from Wyndham. In the last five years, Wyndham has invested over $275 million in technology, including next-gen property and revenue management systems, mobile check-in and check-out and OTA reconciliation.

This development comes weeks after Choice Hotels International abandoned its $8 billion bid to acquire Wyndham. While Wyndham had rejected the acquisition from the beginning (primarily due to significant business and execution risks, unattractive consideration mix and undervaluation of Wyndham’s growth potential), Choice maintained that a deal could have achieved in a customary timeframe.