Donald Trump’s adult sons, who are overseeing a nationwide expansion of the family business during their father’s presidency, are envisioning ways that their experiences from the campaign trail can help them establish a footing in dozens of new markets.
The idea is to move beyond a focus on luxury hotels in big metropolises and build boutique properties in a broader mix of cities, including some the Trump brothers came to know well during more than a year of intensive travel, fundraising and grass-roots networking on the road to the White House.
“I got to see a lot of those markets on the campaign,” Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, told The Washington Post in a recent interview from his office on the 25th floor of Trump Tower. “I think I’ve probably been in all of them over the last 18 months.”
The initial plan is tied to the Trumps’ previously announced new chain, Scion, which is being designed as a less-corporate feeling brand of high-end hotels with a more affordable per-room price point than the Trumps’ five-star properties.
As with many existing Trump-branded property deals, the developers would own the hotels while the Trumps would be paid licensing and management fees.
The company says it has signed at least 17 letters of intent with potential developers. It is targeting an array of cities such as Austin, Dallas, St. Louis, Nashville and Seattle – and Trump Jr. said the campaign proved useful in forging relationships with potential new connections.
“I met people along the way that would be awesome partners,” he said.
The expansion plan illustrates how President Trump’s political rise has the potential to affect his business even as he and his sons promise to adhere to a strict ethical boundary between the company’s moves and the Trump administration. And it shows the inherent challenge in separating the family’s political work from its corporate interests, with upsides and potential problems.