Politics

Donald Trump Announced His First Business Venture Without His Name on It

Shrinking business might be forcing Donald Trump to do something he’s never done: not put his name on his next business venture. The hotel magnate turned presidential candidate announced through a company CEO that his new foray into luxury hotels for millennial travelers won’t have the Trump name, as all of his other businesses do. The new name?

“Scion.”

In a statement from the Trump Organization, Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger claimed the name change was a business decision only.

“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.”

The company alleges the hotels are being renamed to better reflect “the we economy” and the boom in social clubs and boutique hotels. But Trump critics can’t help but point out the re-branding is taking place at the same time as Trump’s business ventures are being hammered by backlash against his presidential run.

But both data and anecdotal evidence suggest that Trump the businessman is suffering because of Trump the politician.

The travel booking site Hipmunk reported that stays for Trump properties are down 60% in the first half of 2016, with the Trump International hotels in Las Vegas and New York taking a big hit. The brand new Trump International in Washington DC has already cut its room rates, and was the only hotel with available rooms for the recent IMF conference.

Market research firm Skift found in a May survey that almost 58% of respondents were less likely to patronize a Trump property. And real estate agents are having to literally remove the name “Trump” from condos in Trump-owned buildings in order to sell them.

Word of mouth is also hurting Trump’s business empire. The check-in app Foursquare reports double digit declines in users publicly announcing they’re at a Trump property, though there’s no proof they’re not actually going, as opposed to going and not using the app. Prominent celebrities in media and sports have announced they’ll no longer stay in Trump properties or live in Trump-owned buildings.

For their part, the Trump Organization denies any lull in business at any Trump property.

A Trump Hotels statement to Travel & Leisure magazine regarding the data from Hipmunk and Foursquare called it “manipulated to appear meaningful, when, in reality, the information is inconsequential and does not provide an accurate representation of our performance.” And since the Trump Organization doesn’t release its financial data, there’s no way to know just how much of a hit his empire has taken.

But even absent any lasting damage to the Trump Organization from the campaign, the rebrand of a new line of luxury hotels sets a precedent. Everything Trump has released, from fragrances and games to airlines and steaks, has had his name on it. Scion doesn’t.

Not to mention, there’s already a well-known brand that uses the name: Toyota’s Scion car.