On Wednesday, Donald Trump is taking a short break from the campaign trail to cut the ribbon and officially open his new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., but the luxury hotel appears to be off to a rocky start, with empty rooms and slashed prices despite its prime location. Residents of Trump Place, a large residential complex on Manhattan's Upper West Side, are in open revolt over Trump's name being emblazoned all over their building, even though most of the complex is now owned and managed by Equity Residential.
The mayor of Vancouver, Canada, has requested a name change for his city's Trump International Hotel, scheduled to open next year. Trump values his brand alone at about $3 billion, but billionaire Richard Branson told CNN on Monday that Trump's "brand has been very badly damaged," and while "he's not going to go hungry," because of "many things he's said, his brand is very, very different today that it was six months ago."
Though it doesn't say so, Trump Hotels appears to agree. Its newest hotels will be called Scion, which Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger called "a name that would be a nod to the Trump family" while "allowing for a clear distinction between our luxury and lifestyle brands." Scion means "descendant of a notable family," Trump Hotels said, not a recently defunct Toyota brand also geared toward millennials.
The residents of Trump Place would probably take it. "It's embarrassing to tell people where you live," Marjorie Jacobs, a Trump Place resident, told The New York Times. "It used to be that we were embarrassed because he was tacky," added Erin Kelly. "Now he's shown himself to be despicable on every level." Equity spokesman Martin McKenna said that his firm has "a contractual obligation on the use of the name," but the doormats, awnings, and doorman uniforms are reportedly being stripped of the word Trump.
Trump press secretary Hope Hicks told The Times that removing Trump's name would be "an inappropriate thing to do," adding, "If the name comes off, the building will lose tremendous value." Travel site Hipmunk reported over the summer that bookings at Trump Hotels dropped 58 percent in the first half of the year, but a Trump spokesperson disputed those numbers, saying Hipmunk's data "is manipulated to appear meaningful, when, in reality, the information is inconsequential and does not provide an accurate representation of our performance." In other words, rigged.