It’s become a staple of outraged tweets and stern letters to document how the Trump business is benefiting from the Trump presidency, from his frequent stays at Trump properties to the golf carts that the Secret Service rents when he plays, to the higher membership fees at Mar-a-Lago. But when it comes to perhaps the most iconic part of the Trump empire—big hotels and buildings with his name slapped on them—the presidency has been a burden, not a boon.
The Washington Post reports that Trump hotels in New York City and Chicago saw declines in revenue from room rentals. In New York, they fell 14 percent from 2015 to 2017, while in Chicago, bookings dropped 8 percent from 2015 to 2016, “and this year’s figures are still lower than the pace in 2016,” including a drastic plunge from U.S.-based guests. The per-room average rates in NYC dropped from $767 to $710 from 2015 to 2017, the Post reported.
Earlier this year, the Post said, the board of Trump International Hotel & Tower “pondered whether it had the legal right to change the building’s name,” with six of the nine board members voting “to investigate the issue further, seeking out attorneys’ advice,” although the idea ended up going nowhere.
While some groups, like basketball teams, have spurned Trump properties since the election, there’s been one source of new guests in Chicago and New York, the Post reports: “Both hotels noted an influx of visitors from Saudi Arabia.” And then there’s Trump’s D.C. hotel, which plays frequent host to political fundraisers, trade groups, and foreign delegations.
And while some Trump-branded hotels have seen business fall off, others have scrapped the Trump name entirely, including the hotel formerly known as the Trump SoHo and properties in Panama and Toronto.