Actually, Trump Hotels Seem to Be Doing Fine

Not keeping guests away, in the large.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

When the Los Angeles Dodgers traveled to Chicago for a series with the Cubs in May, the team stayed at the Trump International Hotel and Tower. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who is Mexican American, stayed elsewhere. “I had my reasons,” he told the Long Beach Press Telegram.

It’s tempting to draw the conclusion that for a certain type of conscious business traveler, the Trump brand ain’t what it used to be. A number of recent articlesmy own included—have suggested that in one way or another, the brand that launched Trump’s political career may be suffering from the Republican presidential candidate’s cavalcade of insults directed at prisoners-of-war, the disabled, Muslims, Mexicans, blacks, immigrants, and women.

Earlier this month, the brand-new Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., was reportedly charging far below its regular rates, while all other five-star downtown hotels were sold out. Foursquare calculated that traffic to Trump hotels was down 10 percent in the 12 months ending in July. The company’s new, hip spinoff is called Scion, which may be the first Trump product without the Trump name.

But D.C. may be a blip. Mostly, Trump’s hotels appear to be doing fine. Data on the price of Trump’s hotel rooms over the past six months, provided to Slate by the airfare and hotel price tracker Yapta, shows the room rates at four Trump properties—in New York (SoHo), Chicago, Toronto, and Las Vegas—moving largely with the field between last winter and now.

Data from Yapta compares the room prices for Trump’s hotels to those of other luxury hotels in those cities.

Graphs by Natalie Matthews

It’s not a perfect proxy for success. In the world of luxury hotels, occupancy rates hit their lowest in December, when room prices are highest, according to data from STR, a data and analytics firm. High prices are a function of demand, but at high-end hotels, they’re also an important part of the product.

Still: On a hotel-by-hotel level, empty blocks of rooms often lead to bargains. And there haven’t been many cut-rate deals at Trump hotels. Yapta’s clients are business travelers who want to know if prices drop—because they do, sometimes—meaning they should rebook for a better deal. In exchange, they provide Yapta with information about their own bookings. The prices are organized by booking date, not be reservation date, but for corporate travelers, the two tend to be pretty close together.

As you can see, prices haven’t fluctuated much over the past year at Trump hotels, though Donald Trump’s “unfavorable” rating peaked at 65 percent in April and has hovered near there since then.

Two things may be at work here. First, no matter how much half of America hates Donald Trump, the other half wants him to be the leader of the free world. He has his fans, in short. And he’s had as much publicity as a tycoon could ask for, even if it hasn’t all been great.

Second, the American consumer-product boycott has really lost its spark since we threw all that tea into the Boston harbor. And if any group of Americans is not going to give a damn about whatever political associations might accrue to the Trump brand, it’s corporate travel bookers reluctant to inject politics into their job, which is making sure clients and colleagues have comfy slippers.

It’s more or less as a friend of mine who continues to golf at Trump courses put it to me: Trump is a jerk, but golf is golf.