A new Trump brand not named for Trump? Yes, meet Scion

The new line from Trump Hotels won’t bear the famous name behind the original brand, but that was the plan all along, according to its chief executive.

The hotelier announced plans for a sub-brand in June but released its name, Scion, in late September.

Unlike Trump Hotels, a worldwide collection of luxury properties with nightly rates beginning at $700, Scion (a word defined in the news release as “descendant of a notable family”) will have rooms beginning at $200 or $300 a night, said Eric Danziger, the chief executive of Trump Hotels. He likened the new brand to W Hotels and Resorts (originally a brand from Starwood Hotels and Resorts that’s now a part of Marriott International.

The hotel company is run by an executive team that also includes Danziger and three of Trump’s children.

Danziger will oversee the new brand, while Kathleen Flores, the executive vice president of new brands and innovation at Trump Hotels, will manage the day-to-day details.

“We intentionally didn’t want to have ‘Trump’ anywhere in the name because we didn’t want to confuse consumers between the two brands,” Danziger said.

“Scion will be relevant but not faddish, and though we’re not necessarily going after millennials, the concept will likely draw in millennials,” he said.

The properties will have stylish decor and emphasize communal spaces, especially lobbies, in which guests as well as local residents can work and socialize while being surrounded by exhibits showcasing pieces by local artists. Good service is to be a brand hallmark.

Excluding the word “Trump” from Scion is a smart marketing strategy, according to Rummy Pandit, the executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University in New Jersey.

“Forget politics — this is a different brand altogether from Trump Hotels and needs a different name,” he said. Pandit cited the example of Ritz-Carlton, the luxury brand under the Marriott International umbrella. “Ritzes are a part of Marriott, but their concept and target market is different from the hotels that are called Marriotts,” he said.

Hotel companies often establish a larger footprint than Trump Hotels did before creating offshoots. But according to Danziger, Scion has been in development for more than a year. “It was one of the first ideas the Trump family and I discussed when I joined the company in September 2015,” he said.

There are currently nine Scions in the pipeline, all in the United States, in smaller cities and resort areas. Danziger declined to name specific locations, but he said the first Scion was expected to open in early 2017.

Sean Hennessy, a hotel consultant and an assistant professor at the Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism at New York University, said Scion’s debut was part of a larger movement by hotel companies to introduce affordable “lifestyle” brands, such as InterContinental’s Even Hotels and Hilton’s Curio.

“Many hotel companies are rushing to create brands like Scion because it is challenging to make profits in the luxury hotel segment, and also because the emerging bulk of travelers today are millennials who shy away from the formal luxury which Trump Hotels generally exude,” he said.

Danziger said that contrary to some reports, Trump Hotels were not struggling. “Our brand is doing well,” he said, “and any news of the otherwise are sensationalized right now because of the elections.”

Scion aside, Trump Hotels have seen soft demand; there were readily available reservations and lower room rates at the newly opened Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C. — compared with other luxury properties in the city — when the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund meetings took place in Washington in early October.