Briefs: Wyndham’s milestone for extended-stay brand; Olympia Hotel Management adds in Kentucky

Wyndham’s milestone for new, extended-stay brand: Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ new extended-stay brand, tentatively titled “Project ECHO,” has quickly achieved 100 hotel signings across the U.S. to become the company’s fastest-growing concept. Among the most recent franchisees signing deals are South Bend, Indiana-based Holladay Properties and Miami, Florida-based Gold Coast Premier Properties. Holladay has signed 26 Project ECHO hotels in key cities in the Midwest; Nashville, Tennessee; Savannah, Georgia; and Jacksonville, Florida. Gold Coast Premier has signed 10 properties in South Florida and New Jersey. The purpose-built, 124-key Project ECHO prototype requires under two acres of land and comes in at 50,000 square feet, almost 74% of which is rentable. Individual rooms average 300 square feet and comprise single- and two-queen studio suites with kitchenettes.

Wyndham’s new brand Project ECHO has quickly achieved 100 hotel signings across the US

Olympia Hotel Management adds in Kentucky: Olympia Hotel Management will operate the Historic Boone Tavern Hotel & Restaurant in Berea, Kentucky. Originally opened in 1909, the 63-room hotel is owned by Berea College and was designed by architect J.C. Cady in the Colonial Revival style. The hotel includes 8,552 square feet of event space spread across seven rooms, with each room accommodating up to 150 people. The historic hotel is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Currently, Olympia manages campus properties, like The Alfond Inn at Rollins, The Hotel at Oberlin, Kent State University Hotel & Conference Center and The Inn at Swarthmore.

Oyo to revive IPO plans: Oyo Hotels, Gurgaon, India, is reviving plans for a debut in the stock market after cost cuts and recovery in travel helped reduce losses. The SoftBank-backed company has filed a fresh set of financial documents and is targeting an IPO in January 2023, provided that the economic conditions improve and the Indian stock market continues to hold up. Oyo, formally known as Oravel Stays, filed IPO documents in 2021 but shelved its plan earlier this year as the pandemic had impacted its growth, forcing the company to lay off thousands of employees. The Indian startup is planning to focus on India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Europe, where it manages vacation homes. It has reduced operations in former “crucial” markets, like the U.S. and China.

Companies commit to hiring refugees: A total of 45 companies have committed to hiring over 20,000 refugees at the U.S. Business Summit on Refugees in New York organized by the Tent Partnership for Refugees, a network of 260 businesses committed to supporting the economic integration of refugees. Major companies, like Marriott International, Hilton, IHG Hotels and Resorts, Aimbridge Hospitality, Blackstone, Amazon, PepsiCo, Tyson Foods and Pfizer, have committed to employ and train thousands of refugees in the U.S. over the next three years. Hilton has committed to hiring 1,500 refugees, while Marriott and Hyatt will hire 1,500 and 500 refugees over three years respectively. Blackstone portfolio companies and real estate properties will be hiring 2,000 refugees. The hiring companies are projected to generate US$913 million in income for refugees in the U.S. per year.

WaterWalk launches new flexible concept: WaterWalk, the Wichita, Kansas-based hospitality innovator, has announced the details of its new ‘flexible lodging’ concept, a lodging that allows guests to stay (and live) with more freedom. Highlights of the new hybrid home approach include a sense of community and home-like atmosphere (a 24/7 concierge service, a revitalized lobby design and a backyard), customizable accommodations (improved layout of its ‘Live’ and ‘Stay’ units, fully equipped kitchen, pantry, walk-in showers in future furnished and unfurnished properties) and efficient development and flexible operating model (single building design, modern studio suites and flexible inventory between Live and Stay units). The WaterWalk Difference will offer franchisees a lower operating cost model, with an average of 10 FRE’s per property, leading to competitive operating margins. The new properties will offer 126 suites, with a combination of studio, one- and two-bedroom units. Each property will be branded to enable a seamless guest experience in Live and Stay units. The suites have no long-term agreements and offer the convenience of an extended-stay hotel. Currently, WaterWalk operates eight properties in the U.S. with nine more under development, which will double its portfolio size in the next 24 months.   

IHG signs first Kimpton Resort: IHG Hotels & Resorts has announced the first signing of its all-inclusive Kimpton Resort. Along with the resort’s owner Sunset World and operator, Playa Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton Hacienda Tres Ríos Resort, Spa & Nature Park in Mexico will debut the brand in Riviera Maya’s Playa del Carmen in early 2024. Originally opened in 2008,  Kimpton Hacienda Tres Ríos Resort, Spa & Nature Park will feature a rebrand of the resort along with renovated interiors of its 255 rooms. The property will also include 11 culinary concepts, five pools, private beach access, spa, fitness center, kids club along with 26,200 square feet of events space spread across 12 rooms. The resort will join the 72-room Kimpton Aluna Hotel as Kimpton’s second property in Riviera Maya.