Donald Trump has garnered a lot of attention as a Republican presidential candidate. But how has this attention impacted his business interests? Are sales up or down?
The Trump brand is associated with a variety of hotels, apartments, and products. On one hand, a growing number of political supporters could boost sales of Trump products; on the other, a growing number of political detractors could lead people to avoid his brand. So which of these two forces is stronger?
To answer this question, we analyzed hotel data from Hipmunk, a Priceonomics customer and travel search engine. Focusing on Trump Hotels’ most-booked locations, we compared bookings this year to the previous year (before Trump attracted national political attention).
The results? Bookings at Trump Hotels are down big time: they have decreased 59% compared to the same period last year on Hipmunk. It seems that customers willing to spend $500 a night on a Trump Hotel room may not be fans of Trump the political candidate.
While overall Hipmunk hotel bookings have been on the rise year-over-year, that has not been the case with bookings of Trump Hotels.
The chart below compares the percentage of bookings on Hipmunk for Trump Hotels’ most popular locations in 2015 (before his campaign received much attention) to the percentage of bookings in 2016 (as the campaign receives ample media attention).
Prior to his political rise, Trump Hotels were quite popular, garnering 1.7% of all bookings on Hipmunk in the major cities where Trump Hotels are located.
But in the past three months, Trump Hotels have been much less popular. Bookings are down 59% versus the the same three month period in the prior year.
In New York City and Vegas, Trump Hotels’ share of each city’s total hotel bookings dropped more than 70 percent. Even in Atlantic City, where Trump Hotels claim the highest percentage of a city’s total hotel bookings, Trump Hotels took a major hit year-over-year. The Trump Taj Mahal’s share of bookings is down 17% in the first quarter of this year.
Will the Trump brand suffer permanent damage? That may depend on how he fares in the election. After all, the last names of presidents tend to become enduring brands.
For now, Trump's candidacy seems to be hurting rather than helping his hotel business according to this data. That said, like with any analysis, caveats apply to this one: This data comes from the the Hipmunk travel search engine, whose users may skew younger and more urban than the general population.
But the lesson from all this data? If you mix business and politics, there's a good chance it will have implications for your business.