The Trump name is a mixed bag for the Trump Organization's expanding hotel business, overseen by the president's eldest two sons and Eric Danziger, a seasoned hotel veteran who heads up the Trump hotels division. The once-bustling five-star Trump SoHo in lower Manhattan is laying off people and cutting services due to slumping room bookings and corporate events, WNYC reports. The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., on the other hand, has become a destination for Trump fans and foreign governments — Saudi Arabia spent $270,000 at the D.C. hotel through its lobbying firm, Qorvis MSLGroup, between October and April, The Daily Caller reported Sunday, citing disclosure filings.
The newest Trump hotel brand, announced Monday, won't carry the Trump name, but it appears aimed at Trump Country. Following in the footprints of the Trump four-star boutique Scion brand, aimed at millennials, Trump's new American Idea brand will target the midscale three-star market. The idea for the Americana-themed hotels, Danziger said, came from Trump's children, who were unimpressed with the midscale hotel options they saw campaigning for their father across the country. The Trump Organization filed for a trademark for the name American Idea in April 2016.
The first American Idea hotels will be in Mississippi towns, and they should be ready fairly quickly, The New York Times notes, since the Trump Organization's Mississippi partners plan to rebrand the Holiday Inns and Comfort Inns they already own. Despite the initial locations — the first Scion hotel will also be in Mississippi, Danziger said Monday — "there is no political thought to it," he said, adding that there could be "many hundreds" of American Idea hotels in red and blue areas of the country. The Trump Organization won't own the Scion or American Idea hotels, just license the names to business partners.
Trump still has a stake in his family business. "There's always room for new brands," Jan A. deRoos, a professor of hotel finance and real estate at Cornell University, tells The New York Times. Jumping into the three-star market "completely opens up the world to them. The brand evolution is great. But as a president, he needs to separate himself from this."