Juliet Capulet once asked rhetorically, “What’s in a name?”
And if you’re a modern-day luxury hotel company and you’re unveiling a new line of properties geared toward millennials in the middle of a controversy-riddled and hotly contested presidential election, the answer is: A WHOLE LOT.
This explains weekend headlines that a new subset of Trump Hotels, Donald Trump’s hotel company, will no longer bear the Trump name, and will instead open and operate under the name Scion.
Though the name-change announcement crossed wires late last month, mainstream media outlets didn’t grab hold of it until this weekend. In case you’re wondering, “scion,” means “descendant of a notable family,” at least according to the Trump Hotels’ release.
Trump Hotels CEO Eric Danziger defended the switch as “allowing for a clear distinction between lifestyle and luxury brands,” but many news outlets wondered aloud whether the move was tied to reported dips in occupancy and revenue at Trump Hotels nationwide. A recent article in New York Magazine went so far as to say that “empty rooms have forced [the new Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, which Trump mentioned specifically in two of the presidential debates] to reduce rates during the peak season.” Other stories, including one on Forbes and another piece on NBCNews.com, confirmed this statement.
To be fair, many hotel chains have made a bid for the millennial market in a similar fashion: leaving out the parent company name in the sub-brand, which many younger travelers shy away from. (We did some reporting on this trend in 2015.)
Whatever motivated the change, it certainly represents a departure for Trump—the Republican presidential candidate almost always puts his name on his businesses and has done so since the 1980s.
Nevertheless, as outlined in the Trump Hotels’ statement, the plan is clear: Scion hotels will open as soon as next year in cities and resort towns nationwide, and will cultivate an environment similar to what one might find at day clubs in Las Vegas.
Matt Villano is a freelance writer and editor based in Healdsburg, California. In nearly 20 years as a full-time freelancer, he has covered travel for publications including TIME, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Sunset, Backpacker, Entrepreneur, and more. He contributes to the Expedia Viewfinder blog and writes a monthly food column for Islands magazine. Villano also serves on the board of the Family Travel Association and blogs about family travel at Wandering Pod. Learn more about him at Whalehead.com.