Wyndham Hotels and Resorts’ new economy extended-stay brand, dubbed ‘Project Echo’, has been revealed to the accommodation industry at this week’s Hunter Hotel Investment Conference in Atlanta and there’s been a major buzz about how fast it will grow.

The world’s largest hotel franchising company gave a teaser of the brand at the Hunter Conference, which will launch with awarded contracts to develop 50 new construction projects with its first two partners, Sandpiper Hospitality and Gulf Coast Hotel Management.

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts’ President and CEO, Geoff Ballotti, said operating under the working title ‘Project Echo’, an acronym for Economy Hotel Opportunity, the all new-construction brand fills whitespace within the larger Wyndham Hotels and Resorts portfolio while strategically expanding the company into a segment that has seen record growth and resiliency, not just amid the pandemic but throughout the last lodging cycle.

He said 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 for occupancy, ADR and RevPAR,” he said.

“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.”

Ballotti said economy extended-stay hotels are proven to consistently perform throughout all stages of the lodging cycle and are particularly resilient amid a downturn.

During the global pandemic, United States RevPAR for the segment grew 8% versus 2019 while the rest of the industry declined 17%.

Further, he said, in 2021, the average United States occupancy for economy extended-stay hotels was over 78%, 20 points higher than all other United States segments combined.

Ballotti said ‘Project Echo’ was created with the help of a seven-member development council, which consists of some of the largest and most experienced owners and operators currently in the economy extended-stay segment.

He said the council’s insights are being paired with the experience and expertise of Wyndham’s in-house design and construction team. In recent years, the team has spearheaded the creation of La Quinta by Wyndham’s highly successful Del Sol prototype, currently at over 130 hotels with another 56 in its pipeline; and more recently, Microtel by Wyndham’s Moda prototype, which has another 40 hotels under development.

“The purpose-built, 124-room Project Echo prototype requires just under two acres of land, has a highly competitive cost per key, and features multiple characteristics that intentionally separate it from traditional economy brands,” he said.

“Coming in at just over 50,000 square-feet—nearly 74% of which is rentable—individual rooms average 300 square-feet and consist of single and two-queen studio suites with in-suite kitchenettes while efficiently-designed public spaces—a lobby, fitness center and guest laundry—help to limit labour needs.”

On a broader scale, Ballotti said ‘Project Echo enables Wyndham to now offer guests and developers a portfolio of extended-stay offerings.

Additional details around ‘Project Echo’, including the brand’s official name, are slated to be announced when the brand formally launches later this year.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management