As they traveled across America last year, it seems Donald Trump's children saw not only potential voters, but also potential customers.
After years of spinning out hotels laden with gold leaf and marble, Trump Hotels is launching a hospitality brand positioned for a different kind of clientele. At Trump Tower tonight, Eric and Donald Trump Jr., along with Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger, announced the launch of a mid-market hotel chain called American Idea. The new franchise—a big departure from the flagship, luxury Trump Hotels and the company's planned upmarket second brand, Scion—will launch with three locations in the Mississippi Delta area. The three-star rooms will range from $80 to $120 a night.
"I'm sure it's going to haunt me, but we kind of look at [the new brand] as flea market chic," said Danziger during the announcement event. "It means that in any given city, there's history," he said, explaining that the decor of each hotel will reflect the heritage and ephemera of its local community.
The younger Trumps said they got the idea to launch the new hotel brand as they traveled the country with their father during the campaign. "There's a market here that we've been missing our entire lives," said Donald Trump Jr. during the announcement event.
By creating a hotel brand for third- and even fourth-tier American cities, Trump Hotels appears to be attempting to avoid headwinds facing the company's other brands. For example, Trump Hotels' international expansion has been curtailed by conflict of interest concerns. "When the president became the president, we said we're not going to do anything internationally. So that kind of forced me into [saying] we're going to be a domestic brand," said Danziger in an interview with Fast Company.
President Trump and his family have been accused on various occasions of viewing their move into politics as a business and branding opportunity. Certainly the theme of the new franchise falls in line with the U.S.A.-first attitude of Trump's campaign, which championed the American yesteryear. During the election, Mississippi swung for Trump.