Premier Upscale Extended-Stay Brand Projected to Double Portfolio Over Next 24 Months
WICHITA, Kan. – September 19, 2022 – Hospitality innovator WaterWalk today introduced details of its next-generation ‘flexible lodging’ concept, a new form of lodging that gives guests the freedom to stay (and live) with more freedom than ever before. Drawing from the brand’s rich history and legacy of its founder the late Jack DeBoer, creator of the extended-stay segment, WaterWalk is at the forefront of the fast-growing alternative accommodations sector with its Gen 2.0 model, which blends the best of an upscale extended-stay hotel and home with spacious units that allow its guests to personalize their space.
“The extended-stay industry has seen record-high demand in recent years as consumers increasingly seek a mix of convenience, value and comfort,” said Mimi Oliver, chief executive officer of WaterWalk. “As the fifth national brand founded by my grandfather Jack, this latest iteration of WaterWalk is our way of advancing and evolving into the future, filling the void that exists for an upscale extended-stay solution that gives guests the choice of how they want to stay and live. In order to appeal to the dynamic lifestyles of consumers today, the industry needs to provide ample opportunities for flexibility, and that is exactly what we are doing with our next-generation product.”
Marking an innovative new growth phase for the premier flexible lodging brand, WaterWalk’s reimagined hybrid home approach will feature a new generation of properties focused on offering unsurpassed flexibility to benefit owners, operators and guests. Whether someone is seeking accommodations for a long-term work assignment, relocating for a new job or looking for a place to call home, WaterWalk makes living and staying easy with a tailored product that can adapt to unique local market conditions and guest needs.
Highlights of the brand’s newly crafted Gen 2.0 elements include:
- Sense of Community and Home-Like Atmosphere – Anchored by a down-to-earth 24/7 concierge service ready to warmly welcome guests, WaterWalk’s new hospitality concept creates common areas that are an extension of guests’ living spaces. WaterWalk’s revitalized lobby design, called ‘The Living Room’, serves as a community hub for guests to choose to relax, work or just hang out with bean-to-cup automated espresso stations, workspaces, oversized wall-mounted board games, comfortable seating areas and more. Once outdoors, guests will also find ‘The Backyard’ with ample space to relax and entertain with gas grills, firepits, lawn games and enclosed pools (select properties).
- Thoughtfully Designed and Customizable Accommodations – With a focus on providing unique and thoughtful ways to make its guests feel at home, WaterWalk has improved the layout of its ‘LIVE’ and ‘STAY’ units. For both short- and long-term accommodations, the comforts of a spacious living room await with a full-size couch in furnished units, as well as a fully equipped kitchen with a full-size refrigerator, pantry for extra storage and kitchen island that can function as both a dining table and efficient workspace with built-in power outlets. Both furnished and unfurnished units in future properties will also feature modern walk-in showers in the spacious bathrooms, along with an industry-first of full-size washers and dryers.
- Efficient Development and Flexible Operating Model – WaterWalk’s Gen 2.0 properties will boast an efficient, single building design that positions the product to suit markets of various sizes. Catering to an increased industry demand for studio accommodations, WaterWalk will now offer modern studio suites, providing yet another element of flexibility for guests. One- and two-bedroom units – complete with wood-plank style floors, chef’s kitchens and modern finishes – will continue to be available. By flexing inventory between both ‘LIVE’ and ‘STAY’ units, WaterWalk’s business model provides owners with optimal flexibility and efficiency with the management of unit inventory and rate management. The WaterWalk Difference also offers franchisees a lower operating cost model, with an average of ten FTE’s per property, which leads to industry leading operating margins.
The next generation of each WaterWalk property will feature 126 guest suites, including a mix of studio, one, and two-bedroom units. Each property will be WaterWalk-branded to allow a seamless guest experience in both the ‘LIVE’ and ‘STAY’ categories. With no long-term agreements and the convenience of an extended-stay hotel, WaterWalk goes beyond traditional accommodations by offering fully customizable, unfurnished suites that guests can make their own. In addition, fully furnished units are readily available.
“We have spent the past couple of years refining our brand in meaningful ways, establishing a solid proof of concept, and we believe now is the opportune time to launch the next generation of hospitality,” said Jim Korroch, president of WaterWalk, who leads business development alongside Michael Fruin, senior vice president of franchise development for WaterWalk. “With an exceptional team and proven business model, we are thrilled to be at the forefront of a major shift within the lodging industry and look forward to accelerating our evolution through strategic franchise development.”
WaterWalk currently operates eight properties across the U.S. including in Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh, N.C.; Overland Park, Kan.; Wichita, Kan.; Denver, Colo.; San Antonio, Texas; Richardson, Texas and Plymouth, Minn. The premier flexible lodging brand’s pipeline consists of nine additional properties under development, which will result in WaterWalk doubling its portfolio size over the next 24 months. This includes Gen 2.0 properties currently being constructed in Phoenix, Ariz. (slated to open in November 2022); Sandy Springs/Atlanta Perimeter, Ga. (slated to open in early 2023); Meridian, Idaho (slated to open in spring 2023); Tucson, Ariz. (slated to open in spring 2023); Jacksonville, Fla. (slated to open in summer 2023) and Huntsville, Ala. (slated to open in winter 2023).
WaterWalk offers a liberated hospitality experience with the nation’s most innovative flexible lodging brand. The company was founded in 2014 by the late Jack DeBoer, a hospitality visionary recognized as the pioneer of the extended-stay and all-suite hotel concepts. WaterWalk is unique in that it boasts two accommodations options under one roof, with its signature ‘LIVE | STAY model.’ This diversified product offering creates the utmost in flexibility and value to consumers and investors alike.
Media Images: A selection of renderings can be downloaded from Dropbox HERE (Credit: WaterWalk).
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