A suite at a HomeTowne Studio by Red Roof, the franchiser’s new extended-stay brand.

RED ROOF IN AUGUST announced its entry into the extended-stay business with the launch of HomeTowne Studios by Red Roof.

The economy segmented brand joins the explosion of long-term stay hotels through the U.S. “Red Roof likes to do a lot of research before it expands its business,” said Phil Hugh, chief development officer at Red Roof. “And we did a ton of research that shows we can launch a pure economy play into the extended-stay space.”

Red Roof also knew its transient Red Roof Inn brand was serving guests seeking longer-term stays at an economy price.

HomeTowne Studios launched with more than 30 properties all prepped and ready. Westmont Hospitality Group, also owner of Red Roof, in a joint venture with an institutional investor owns the hotels. It’s investing $50 million to renovate a part of a portfolio of extended-stay hotels it acquired three years ago from Extended Stay America Inc.

In December 2015, the consortium acquired 47 Crossland Economy Studios and six Extended Stay America hotels for $285 million.

Hugh said renovating the Crossland hotels into HomeTowne Studios by Red Roof took about 18 months. “It wasn’t an easy conversation to say, ‘Let’s do this,’ because these properties were already performing quite well,” he said.

The franchising deal allowed Red Roof “to pick and choose ones that made sense to be converted,” Hugh said. “There are a few other brands coming into this as well but it’s nice to start with a solid portfolio.”

Red Roof in a news release on Aug. 15 said the brand will “undergo a phased launch of over 30 properties across more than 20 markets with nearly 4,000 rooms. The brand also has a pipeline of more than a dozen properties scheduled to open over the next 12 months.”