The Trump Organization announced the launch of a new hotel brand on Monday.
“American Idea” will be the company’s foray into three-star, budget hotels. The chain is “a concept rooted in local history and neighborly service,” according to the announcement from Trump Hotels.
The mid-range hotel brand will feature artifacts of American culture throughout its decor, such as a vintage Coca-Cola machine in the lobby. The idea for the hotels was inspired by the Trump sons’ visits to smaller cities around the country during the presidential campaign.
American Idea hotels will start to pop up in midsize and small cities, starting with the Mississippi Delta, where the Trump Organization has already signed three agreements.
Eric Danziger, chief executive of the Trump Organization’s hotels division, told the New York Times that the location decision is not related to Trump’s polling on the electoral college map. Although Trump won the state of Mississippi in the presidential election, he only won five of the 18 counties in the Mississippi Delta.
The first three American Idea locations will appear in Cleveland, Clarksdale and Greenville, Mississippi as retrofitted Comfort Inns or Holiday Inns. The hotels are expected to open within seven to eight months.
All of the future American Idea locations are owned by Chawla Hotels, Inc. Suresh Shawla, president of the company, met with Donald Trump last year (while he was still campaigning for president) to discuss the hotel properties. Trump told him to “think grand,” according to local news. Chawla donated to the Trump campaign.
The concept for the hotel is not entirely new. In April 2016, the Trump Organization filed a trademark for the “American Idea” name.
Alongside the new brand, Trump Hotels also announced the first location of its Scion hotels brand — which the company launched just a few weeks before the presidential election. The first Scion hotel is expected to open in Cleveland, Mississippi by January 2018. The property is also owned by Chawla Hotels, Inc.
When Trump Hotels announced Scion, it was advertised as a four-star “lifestyle brand,” in the vein of Soho House, meant to cater to millennials. The first hotel was expected to open in Dallas, but the project developer pulled out in April because of objections over foreign money.
President Trump remains financially invested in the Trump Organization.