With the potential return of travel and vacationing this summer, NoMa-based alternative lodging service WhyHotel announced a new service on Tuesday: A hospitality-infused, hotel-like apartment complex in Tysons, Viriginia. In partnership with developer the Meridian Group, WhyHotel is offering expanded amenities for rentals at the Rise and Bolden Apartments in The Boro starting June 1.
The news comes almost exactly a year after CEO Jason Fudin announced major layoffs via a Linkedin post in the wake of COVID-19. With its pop-up hotel business in luxury apartment buildings partially put on hold, Fudin said the company has begun a new focus on more permanent residences, and it has already led to a rehiring of some of the staff members who were laid off last year.
“There’s a very large opportunity to permanently infuse hospitality into a multifamily building,” Fudin said. “We call that business hospitality living.”
Fudin said WhyHotel partnered with the Meridian because of its previous success working with the company. In 2020, WhyHotel’s pop-up at the Meridian was able to maintain 85% occupancy through the pandemic. This new model combines the services of a hotel with apartment rentals, offering services like linen, cleaning and laundry. It also includes customized furniture rental design and on-demand dog walking, on top of amenities like pools and gyms. The complex also has hotel offering for guests of its residents.
The hospitality living model, Fudin said, is designed for busy people interested in a service-oriented home life.
“There’s a lot of renters by choice, meaning they could buy a home but they choose to rent because it supports their lifestyle, that is our core customer,” Fudin said. “Those are the folks that really benefit from a beautiful, top-tier asset like this with amenities like the pool and that service level that goes with it.”
After the pandemic put a large amount of hospitality services on hold around the country, Fudin expects a lot of “pent-up demand” in the industry. He said that after the layoffs last year, WhyHotel was able to redirect its energy towards longer-term living offerings like the Meridian partnership, something he anticipates growing even more. In the last 60 days, Fudin said WhyHotel was able to double the size of its staff, including rehiring some of those let go last year, and he expects to double staff size again by the end of the year. The company also announced pop-ups in Miami and DC in the first quarter of 2021.
“We find ourselves in a uniquely strong position, honestly a very strong position, and it’s because we pulled back a little bit to survey what was going on and our products are better than they were then, because we did reinvest in all these areas of business,” Fudin said.