There are Trump steaks, Trump golf courses and a mens’ fragrance called Success by Trump.
But Donald Trump’s latest business venture is conspicuously missing the one thing brandished on all his enterprises, from casinos to pearl-encrusted table lamps: his name.
The presidential candidate’s newest line of hotels is to be called Scion, offering an alternative to Trump Hotels, the luxury properties where a one-night stay can cost upward of $20,000.
The announcement by the Trump Organization comes as marketing and travel experts have suggested that the Republican presidential nominee’s bombastic rhetoric and polarizing presidential campaign has tarnished his businesses.
The Trump Organization declined to comment on its decision to exclude the Trump name, noting in a news release that “scion” means “descendant of a notable family.”
The billionaire’s grandmother and father founded the Trump Organization — originally known as Elizabeth Trump & Son — in 1923. Donald Trump began working there in 1968, and now runs the company with his three children.
“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,” Eric Danziger, chief executive of Trump Hotels, said in a statement.
The Trump Organization has offered few details on its plans for the new hotels, but said the lodgings seek to offer “compelling spaces and a strong sense of community.” Scion is being billed as a lifestyle brand, which means it’s likely to be more affordable than Trump Hotels and geared toward younger guests, along the lines of Marriott International’s AC Hotels, Canopy by Hilton and Hyatt Place.
“What does it mean that, at least on the surface, this isn’t being called ‘Scion by Trump’? Who knows?” said David Loeb, a lodging analyst at investment firm Robert W. Baird & Co. “But at the very least, having a lifestyle brand is a way to broaden their approach.”
Bookings at Trump’s hotels were down 59 percent during the first half of 2016, according to the travel site Hipmunk. Meanwhile, foot traffic to Trump-branded hotels, casinos and golf courses has slipped up to 24 percent since the businessman announced his bid for the presidency in June 2015, according to newly released data from the location-based app Foursquare.
Meeting planners, for instance, have noted that clients are wary of booking events at properties associated with Trump, which may be dampening enthusiasm for his new hotel in the nation’s capital.
“People are really, really nervous about utilizing the hotel’s bigger spaces because it’s so polarizing. There’s a lot of stigma attached to it,” Chryssa Zizos, president and chief executive of Live Wire Media Relations, said in an interview last month.
Nir Kossovsky, president and chief executive of Steel City Re, a Pittsburgh firm that analyzes reputational risk for public companies, described Trump as “a damaged brand.”
“A corporation can take a hit — Volkswagen can take a hit, BP can take a hit — and bounce back, but personal reputations are fragile. You mess with them and it can be fatal to your company.”