WASHINGTON—WhyHotel, an alternative lodging service that operates pop-up hotels in newly built, luxury apartment buildings, has secured $10 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Highland Capital Partners, with participation from Camber Creek, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Mendacre, MetaProp and Geolo Capital. The funds will be used to launch new pop-up hotels, beginning with three locations in Virginia, and to continue expanding nationwide in 2019. In addition, the funding will be utilized to hire new positions across multiple areas including technology, brand, sales and human capital.
“WhyHotel provides a better product and a better customer experience to business and leisure travelers for their short-term housing needs,” said Craig Driscoll, partner, Highland Capital Partners. “The WhyHotel team has taken a leadership position in helping modern cities and leading property developers provide visitors with a more flexible and cost-effective housing option. We are proud to be partnered with the WhyHotel team on this journey.”
After a series of pop-up hotel launches in 2018, including properties in DC and Baltimore, WhyHotel will now expand to Northern Virginia with locations at Ballston Quarter, Centro Arlington and The Boro in Tysons. In partnership with the property owner, Brookfield Properties and QIC Global Real Estate, the Ballston Quarter pop-up will house up to 175 WhyHotel units and will be located at 700 N Randolph St. The Centro Arlington pop-up, launched in partnership with Orr Partners and Weingarten Realty, will house up to 150 WhyHotel units and will be located at 950 South George Mason Dr. Finally, The Boro pop-up, located at 8305 Greensboro Dr. in the future apartment building branded as “Rise,” will house up to 150 WhyHotel units in partnership with The Meridian Group and Kettler.
“WhyHotel at Ballston Quarter will greatly accelerate the activation of our luxury residential and retail spaces,” said Greg Meyer, EVP and head of the Greater Washington, DC region for Brookfield Properties. “With WhyHotel on-site, we will differentiate Ballston Quarter by offering a unique hospitality amenity for residents, prospective residents and visitors, while also generating additional income for the property during our lease-up phase.”
WhyHotel’s new locations are strategically located with proximity to the core business districts in Arlington, The Pentagon, The Pentagon’s training center, Foreign Service Institute, and DARPA. The launch of these pop-up hotels stands to positively benefit the local dining, retail and entertainment establishments with the immediate attraction of guests to the area, according to the company. WhyHotel has proven success in Arlington County where it launched a pilot project at The Bartlett in Pentagon City in 2017.
“The WhyHotel concept of turning new, yet-to-be-leased luxury apartment building units into temporary hotel suites has seen great success with consumers in the areas we have launched so far,” said Bao Vuong, president/co-founder of WhyHotel. “It is for that reason that we are continuing our rapid expansion to bring the WhyHotel experience to additional metros and we are grateful to have received the funding to do so.”
Guests of the new WhyHotel pop-ups will have modern, furnished luxury apartments. Guests will have access to the building’s amenities and WhyHotel’s 24/7 on-site hospitality and security staff. Residents of the brand-new apartment buildings will also benefit during WhyHotel’s temporary operation with discounted room nights for friends and family, and access to the WhyHotel cleaning staff.
With an eye toward 2019, WhyHotel is currently planning for strategic development in new markets throughout the new year, with plans to expand beyond the East Coast. In addition to expansion to new markets, WhyHotel will also look to open new pop-ups in the cities it currently operates in, to create a permanent presence in the cities despite individual locations ending their temporary programs.