The Trump Organization is planning to launch a new mid-market hotel chain called "American Idea," aiming to offer quality accommodation at affordable prices.
President Donald Trump's sons, Eric and Donald Jr., said on Monday, June 5, that they got the idea for this new hotel chain while traveling across the United States with their father's campaign.
The three-star hotel chain will have a patriotic theme, mirroring Trump's campaign motto: America First. American Idea hotels will reportedly sport American culture items such as vintage Coca-Cola machines in the lobby.
The first three American Idea hotels will launch in Mississippi, a state where Trump won by 18 percentage points in the presidential race against Hillary Clinton. Nevertheless, Eric Danziger, the CEO of the company's hotels division, said the hotel chain will not have any political color.
According to Danziger, "many hundreds" of hotels could launch in both blue and red counties and states. In fact, the first American Idea hotels will launch in counties that favored Clinton. Danziger noted that the company had been planning a hotel expansion for roughly two years, before the 2016 presidential race. When Trump's sons came up with this idea, he found it brilliant. The Trump Organization filed for a trademark back in April 2016 to secure the American Idea name.
Conflict Of Interest?
Trump has ceded business operations to his sons and other executives while he's in office, but some still argue that this hotel chain creates a conflict of interest for the Trump administration.
Ethics experts expressed concern that developers might back the new hotel chain only to seek favors with the president, with their investments being similar to campaign contributions without the limitations on spending, or any requirements for disclosure.
The American Idea hotel chain is also an interesting twist, straying from Trump's luxurious properties to be more budget-friendly. Danziger added that American Idea hotels will not have any overt link to the president, as Trump's name will not appear anywhere on the properties. He is confident that Trump Hotels can steer clear of ethical issues, as any deals are thoroughly reviewed.
Not too long ago, Danziger also announced plans to launch a new four-star hotel brand called Scion. The Trumps will license the new hotels to business partners in exchange for royalties and additional fees. They intend to manage Scion hotel operations, but leave partners in charge of American Idea operations.
The company's partner in Mississippi will be an Indian-American family that owns 17 hotels through its company, Chawla Hotels. According to Danziger, those hotels currently sport the brand of popular chains, but at least three of them will convert to the American Idea chain.
Bobby Burchfield, the outside ethics adviser of the Trump Organization, questioned the potential financing sources, the New York Times learned from a source familiar with the matter. Nevertheless, Burchfield gave the Trumps a green light to team up with Chawla Hotels.
The first American Idea hotels will launch in the Mississippi Delta. The chain will gradually expand and should open hotels all across the United States.