The Trump Vancouver hotel has already been closed for four months because of the coronavirus pandemic. By Friday — a day after the bankruptcy filing — the hotel’s website was taken down, its name was missing from Trump Hotels’ corporate website, and the Vancouver hotel’s accounts were deleted from Twitter and Facebook.
In an email, the CEO of the hotel’s parent company said he was still uncertain if the Trump hotel had been closed for good.
“I truly do not know the answer to that question at this point in time,” said Joo Kim Tiah, the CEO of Malaysia-based TA Global Berhad.
The entity that declared bankruptcy — TA Hotel Management Limited Partnership — is a subsidiary of TA Global Berhad that serves as the landlord for the Trump hotel in downtown Vancouver. When it filed for bankruptcy Thursday, that company listed $3.6 million in debts and only $839,000 in assets, Canadian records show.
The parent company blamed the bankruptcy on its long-running closure: “Its ongoing expenses since the outbreak of COVID-19 and lack of revenue has placed [the hotel] into a position of insolvency,” TA Global Berhad wrote on its website.
“We are saddened to learn about TA Hotel Management Limited Partnership and TA Hotel GP’s bankruptcy petition which was announced today,” Amanda Miller, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, said in a statement late Friday. “Like so many other developers who rely on international travel for the majority of their business, the Covid-19 pandemic has severely impacted their numerous properties, forcing them to remain closed and make this tough decision.”
President Trump still owns the Trump Organization, but he says he has handed day-to-day control to his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric.
The owners of three other Trump hotels — in Panama, Toronto and Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood — have cut ties with Trump’s brand since the start of his presidency. All have since reopened under new names.
Even before the pandemic, the Trump Vancouver provided only a small amount of revenue for Trump’s company: In 2019, the total was just $157,000 in management fees, according to Trump’s financial disclosures. That was the smallest revenue total for any Trump hotel.
But it was significant because it was so new, and because of what it once represented for the Trump brand: a future of growth, unhindered by Trump’s divisive politics.
At the opening of Trump Vancouver, held a month after his inauguration, Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr. were not yet hard-edge political acolytes of their father. They were apolitical hotel executives, running the company their father said he had left behind.
For their company, the Vancouver hotel would be a test of their plan to run Trump hotels the way they had been run previously — catering to rich, urban travelers in big cities. It was a bet that people in one of Canada’s most liberal cities could separate Trump the president from Trump the hotel.
“Vancouver’s really one of the great cities of the world,” Eric Trump said, according to a video of the event. “And it was so fitting for the Trump brand.”
That strategy has struggled in other places, such as Chicago and Miami, according to documents the Trump Organization has filed with local governments. In those filings, made before the pandemic, Trump Organization representatives said the cause of the problems was politics, which gave a new meaning to the Trump brand.
In Vancouver, the Trump hotel struggled despite a booming hotel market, according to annual reports from its parent company. In 2019 — during its second year of operations, normally a time of growth — the company actually reported a decline in revenue.
The reasons: Room rates were down, and food and beverage sales had fallen by 7 percent. “The hotel is unable to procure significant banqueting and catering business,” a significant problem for a large luxury hotel, according to the parent company’s annual report.
This year, the annual report said, the pandemic compounded the problems by slamming Canada’s economy and reducing international travel.