With Trump’s status as the next president of the United States of America confirmed, the possible ramifications on American hospitality are vague. A successful entrepreneur with a chain of his own hotels, Trump’s experience in the industry doesn’t seem to have enhanced his standing within the global travel space.
Surveys conducted at the World Travel Market (WTM) 2016 revealed that the majority of professionals at the industry’s largest trade show preferred Hillary Clinton from a business perspective. 60% of the voters were in favor of Clinton compared to the 7% support Donald gathered.
New policies could hamper immigration, increase costs
Trump’s proposed policies, especially on the subject on immigration, could have far-reaching repercussions on hospitality in the country. Several skilled posts within hotels are usually held by non-American minorities, and widespread campaigns on stricter regulation against these expatriates could discourage them from entering the country. Indeed, globally renowned chefs Jose Andres and Geoffrey Zakarian pulled out of their plans to open restaurants in Trump’s flagship property in the capital city for this very reason. But the issue goes deeper than labor – procuring raw materials and establishing other supply chains could become more challenging for hotels in the US.
This could inevitably push up costs, the brunt of which will have to be borne by the hotel owners and shareholders.Donald’s proposal to slash taxes for American enterprises will boost their spending power and allow them to source more home-grown material, but it will be difficult to account for all their business needs.
Jonathon Tisch, CEO of Loews Hotels, was grim about the future when asked for his thoughts. “Today’s political discourse features fear-filled rhetoric – the misguided idea of Fortress America is sadly back on the rise,” stated Tisch, speaking at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference. “We learned that pulling back from the rest of the world is simply not an option. Adopting that approach did us more harm than it did us good. We should have learned that retreating from the rest of the world blocks the exchange of goods and ideas that continues to make this country great.”
Besides negatively influencing back-end hotel operations, tourism in the country could take a significant hit – at least temporarily. Donald’s anti-Muslim sentiments could deter travelers from developed nations in the Middle-East, such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
These are still early days however. Regardless of all that was claimed prior to Trump clinching the polls, it’s not possible to get a clear idea of where things will go from here anytime soon – especially with the winter season coming and hotels sitting with pre-bookings made months in advance. It will take at least a couple of quarters for hospitality professionals to see the true picture and for all we know, things could turn out a lot better than expected.
2017 should be an interesting year for American hospitality!