Donald Trump’s campaign has widely been criticized, among other things, for being divisive, and toxic. It appears that his own company agrees.
By far the biggest part of the billionaire’s business success is tied to his brand. As the years have gone on, the businessman has increasingly relied on selling his brand than actually investing in, owning, and building properties and companies.
His brash tone, while much to his benefit when he starred in The Apprentice, has been highly divisive in the presidential campaign. Trump has also gotten a taste of the difference between being a reality TV star as opposed to running a political campaign, especially one for the highest office in the land. The level of scrutiny that comes with the latter is unlike anything the candidate had faced in his past lives. And the effects on his brand and business empire appear to be stark and likely to only get worse.
Recently, New York Magazine reported that Trump Hotels was seeing a massive decline in bookings, citing falling room rates, which are less that $500 in Washington D.C. when the break even is $750, and contrasting it with other nearby five star hotels which are completely booked. According to Travel + Leisure:
“Nightly rates at the newly-opened Trump International Hotel in D.C. plummeted below $500 while practically every other five-star property was sold out for the International Monetary Fund conference two weeks ago. And after his remarks about Mexican immigrants, two celebrity chefs backed out of their contracts to open a restaurant in the hotel.
According to Hipmunk, bookings at Trump Hotels plummeted 59 percent during the first half of 2016 and data from Foursquare shows a 17 percent drop in foot traffic at Trump properties since June 2015, when the reality TV star announced his presidential bid.
Ivanka Trump vehemently disputed this reporting and followed the Republican nominee’s rhetoric by chalking it up to a media bias that ignored the evidence and used a small sampling to support the point (below is Ivanka’s full remarks; her comments on the Trump Hotels starts at about 16:50).
But the proof is perhaps in the pudding. Travel + Leisure reports that new Trump Hotels will no longer bear the Trump name. They will be rebranded as ‘Scion.’
For its part, the company is claiming that the rebranding is due to a shift toward millennial consumers. “We wanted a name that would be a nod to the Trump family and to the tremendous success it has had with its businesses, including Trump Hotels, while allowing for a clear distinction between our luxury and lifestyle brands,” Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger said in a statement.
In a statement, Ivanka Trump said “Our business at Trump Hotels is stronger than ever and we are incredibly excited about the future of Scion, the newest brand in our hotel portfolio.”
“The data reported by both Hipmunk and Foursquare is manipulated to appear meaningful, when, in reality, the information is inconsequential and does not provide an accurate representation of our performance,” a Trump Hotels spokesperson told Travel + Leisure.
Considering the billionaire’s clear mission to have his name on properties around the world, it seems inconceivable that he is willing to completely abandon that mission and start somewhat from scratch by trying to create an entirely new brand. But that appears to be what the company and his family wants to project publicly.