In yet another lawsuit involving the multi-millionaire real estate investor, Donald Trump’s lawyers claimed that Trump’s campaign for President has yuuuugely boosted his hotel and restaurant business.
But according to data provided by Hipmunk, an online travel reservations company, occupancy at Trump’s hotels is down almost across the board, sometimes by as much as 75% compared to this time last year.
Trump’s lawyers contend that celebrity chef and restaurateur Jose Andreas, whom Trump is suing for $10 million, pulled out of a contract to open a restaurant in Trump’s new Washington, D.C., property because of comments Trump made alleging that Mexico was sending “rapists” to the U.S. Andreas says that the comments would have at least a 12% impact on business, and he can no longer afford to do business with Trump’s company.
The Hipmunk data raises the question of whether Trump’s abrasive campaigning style is causing some people to think twice about booking a stay at one of his properties. Bookings at Trump properties have decreased by 59% across the board, when you compare Q1 of 2015 to Q1 of 2016, even as hotel bookings increased, generally.
Trump has 33 hotels in all, either complete or in the process of being built. Hipmunk tracked all the domestic ones. Trump’s property in New York’s trendy SoHo neighborhood was hardest hit, with Las Vegas not far behind. Both of those hotels saw 70%+ drops compared to this time last year.
Of course, Hipmunk is just one of a bunch of online travel booking websites, but a survey of 2,000 Americans conducted in late May by the branding company Skift found that almost 57% of Americans were less likely to stay in a Trump hotel now that the company’s namesake is on the campaign trail (24% said they were more likely to stay, 20% said they weren’t aware Trump was in the hotel business).
Internationally, Trump’s hotel line, which is in a period of major expansion, is facing branding issues. In Canada and Turkey, Trump’s hotel business partners are trying to cut ties with the presidential candidate. In Istanbul, local investors want to scrape the Trump name from the building lest they face blowback. Back in December, NBC News revealed that some of Trump’s Middle East partners were starting to rethink their partnerships.
The Trump phenomenon is even bleeding over into other hotel chains. One hotel booking website, LastMinute.com, has officially designated a possible Trump run-in as a holiday “nightmare,” for which they’ll offer a full refund. If you are forced to stay the night in the same hotel with the Donald, even if it isn’t a Trump-branded property, they’ll give you your money back.
The good news for travelers, of course, is that Trump hotels, which offer mostly five-star accommodations, seem to have dropped their prices in response to the drop in interest. You can get a night in Trump’s slightly-off-the-strip-but-really-nice Las Vegas hotel for around $116 a night, according to Trivago. A YUGE deal!