Skift Take

Trump's candidacy could turn out to be a huge — or should we say "YUGE" — challenge for the Trump travel brand.

It’s long been said that politics is bad for business.

While it may be hard to quantify this in dollars, convention cities including Indianapolis and Charlotte know that you can put a price on political decisions after their state legislatures passed pro-discrimination legislation in 2015 and 2016, and meetings business began looking elsewhere.

Trump Hotels may soon learn about the perils of politics, too.

In our coverage of Donald J. Trump’s hotel business, we’ve tried to separate Trump the hotel brand from Trump the political candidate; pointing out its solid leadership and inviting Ivanka Trump — the brains behind the brand — to speak at last year’s Skift Global Forum.

But when your name is on the product, it will take more than an arm’s length distance from the executive suite to shield you from political blowback if you decide to seek public office. Earlier this year, Bloomberg noted that the Trump brand was hurting internationally and losing deals because of his political goals.

In a survey conducted May 14-17, 2016 we asked U.S. residents a question about travel intent as it relates to probable Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. The question we asked was relatively simple: “Are you more likely or less likely to stay in a Trump Hotel because of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign?” Respondents could choose “more likely,” “less likely,” or “I was not aware Trump was in the hotel business.”

Important: This survey — not served to Skift users — was administered to 2,028 members of the U.S. adult internet population in May 2016, through Google Consumer Surveys. The methodology is explained here.

The best news for Trump is that he has strong numbers among males in the U.S. south, where he achieved 30.6% of respondents saying that they were “more likely” to stay in one of his hotels. But that’s one of the highest positive numbers for the brand/candidate. On the flip side, women in the U.S. northeast — Trump’s home turf — said that they were nearly 68.3% less likely to stay in a Trump hotel.


Overall, nearly 57% of respondents said that they were less likely to stay in a Trump hotel because of Trump the candidate. Only 23.4% said they were more likely to stay, a small bump above the nearly 20% that didn’t know Trump was in the hotel business.

The other numbers that were important to pull out concern the response along gender lines:


Trump’s hotels are not doing well among the women.

While just a hair above a half of men are less likely to stay at a Trump hotel because of the namesake’s candidacy, nearly two thirds of women hold the same opinion. Women were also more well informed about the brand as well.

More takeaways from the survey:

  • When it comes to age, we’ll just say this: If Trump has a year, it’s 2016. His biggest negatives are among the 25-34 set (67.2%), followed closely by the 18-24s (59.5%). His strongest numbers (30.7% in the “more likely” category) come from the 65+ crowd. More respondents between 18-34 did not know he had a hotel business than viewed it favorably.
  • Rural communities are more likely to pick a Trump hotel (29.3%), but they are also the most unlikely (21.4%) to be aware that Trump is in the hotel business.
  • By region, the U.S. south was strong for Trump. As a whole they posted the largest “likely to stay” numbers of any region at 27.2%. Still, the majority of respondents in the U.S. south (52.3%) said they were less likely to stay at a Trump hotel.
  • Breaking the results down by income highlights an additional challenge for a brand with high-end properties. People in the top three income tiers in the survey say they are the least likely to book a Trump hotel: $100K-$150K (66.7%), $150K+ (64.2%), and $75K-$100K (58.8%). The highest positive reactions to the brand come from those making $50-$75K (24.9%) and $25-$50K (24.7%).
  • Trump should probably not count on the western female vote: At 72.7%, they posted the highest negatives of all demographics.

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Tags: politics, surveys, trump hotels

Photo credit: Bellmen outside the Trump Soho in New York City, NY. Alexander Acker / Flickr

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