What factors came together in 2007 that motivated you, your brothers and your father to start the Trump Hotel Collection?
IT: We saw a huge opportunity in the luxury hotel space for a new brand, so in 2007, my father, brothers and I created the Trump Hotel Collection. We began Trump Hotel Collection with Trump International Hotel & Tower New York on Central Park West and now have expanded to seven hotels with locations in SoHo-New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Waikiki, Panama and Toronto. It's an incredible feeling to be able to work on a project from start to finish and ultimately shape a skyline.
The Trump Hotel Collection is described as “the next generation of luxury hospitality.” Is that referring to you and your brothers? Does it have further meaning?
IT: Yes. Together, we are reinventing the luxury hospitality experience from our perspective. We have been consistently raising the bar in the top-tier travel experience with a level of customized service unrivaled in the market today.
Did the 2008 recession affect your plans for the Trump Hotel Collection? Is it still a factor?
IT: I think the entire hotel industry is making its way out of the recession now as occupancy and rates have been steadily improving. Being conservative at the height of the market put us in a position to be able to acquire new hotels during the recession. Two of our newest additions include the historic Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C. and the Doral Hotel & Country Club in Miami.
Do you have a plan for how many total locations you would like when the Collection is complete or nearly complete? How many hotels would you like to open each year?
IT: Ultimately we want to have a Trump hotel in every major city and own a majority share of that luxury market. Our deal-making process is very selective as we are continuously searching for the greatest locations and then introducing the best architecture and design. We strive to make our hotels the leader in any particular market.
How have you selected current Trump Hotel Collection locations and what locations are on your wish list over the next 5 years? Have you turned down any proposed locations?
IT: Asia, South America and Latin America are at the top of our list for development and we are currently pursuing opportunities in a number of locations in these areas. In addition to being the world's fastest growing luxury destinations, these areas are feeder markets for many of our existing hotels, including Trump Ocean Club International Hotel & Tower Panama, and soon for Doral Hotel & Country Club in Miami.
We recently announced that Trump Hotel Collection was selected by the GSA (US government) as the preferred developer of The Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C. We are thrilled as this was the most sought-after hotel redevelopment project in the United States and a highly competitive competition. The history and location of the property give us a great platform to create a world-class destination and we plan to turn the historic building into the city's finest luxury hotel.
What are some differentiators of the Trump hotel brand from other five star luxury hotel chains? The Trump Collection hotels are currently in cities where there are so many luxury options. Why should guests choose your hotels over other options?
IT: We put a huge emphasis on personalized, super luxury service at all levels of the hotel experience. Whether it's the doorman at Trump Central Park welcoming you back by your first name or our Trump Attaché remembering that a guest likes The New York Observer delivered every Wednesday morning, we strive to make everyone feel like a VIP while staying with us. All of our hotels have the best location in the city, gourmet restaurants, a fabulous spa experience, and exclusive Trump Hotel Collection programs like Trump Kids.
Each one of the properties has a unique design that gives the guest an immediate sense of place. At Trump Waikiki, we've blended traditional Hawaiian influences with contemporary design elements. Even our two New York properties are extremely different in design. Trump SoHo has the cool, hip Downtown vibe while Trump Central Park has an elegant, polished, more classical look.
What are the Trump company values?
IT: Quality, passion, drive and enthusiasm are what we value most at The Trump Organization. Each and every person plays a part in contributing to the success of our brand, and is ultimately a part of the larger Trump family. Quality and brand are also critical to the growth of our organization. We pay incredible attention to every last detail to ensure each guest is provided with a level of service that is second to none.
You studied finance and graduated with top honors, but your passion seems to be for design. Do you favor one field or the other?
IT: While I enjoy and have enjoyed great success building my own personal apparel and accessories collections, my greatest passion has and will always be real estate.
Your latest design project was a Spa with Middle Eastern theme. Will you continue with this theme in future spas and will they be a standard feature in Trump Hotel Collection hotels?
IT: All seven of our hotels have spas, and Chicago, Las Vegas, Waikiki and SoHo feature our signature spa brand, The Spa at Trump. I've played a big role in building the spa brand from the ground up – from choosing the treatments to designing the uniforms the and physical spaces.
While designing our SoHo property, I was frequently going back and forth to Istanbul on business (we just opened our first project, Trump Towers Istanbul, in April) and fell in love with the hammam experience, and knew I had to bring it back to the states. Trump SoHo now has the East Coast's only authentic, luxury hammam, and it is by far my favorite body treatment at any of our spas. We've also just announced the renovation of The Trump Spa at Trump International Hotel & Tower New York, which will incorporate a new treatment menu featuring Middle Eastern rituals. So yes, you may continue to see the Middle Eastern influence in future spa developments.
Do you work closely with your brothers or do you each have different areas you are passionate about?
IT: My brothers and I are very involved in the operation of Trump Hotel Collection and our seven unique properties. I am also extremely involved in the design of all of our hotels.
What is your travel personality when it comes to leisure travel?
IT: All great hotels should have stellar personalized service, a unique design that gives guests a sense of place, an excellent on-site restaurant, and other fantastic amenities. Obviously location is a key factor as well.
Do you have a favorite international city that you like returning to again and again?
IT: Prague and Paris are two of my favorites.
Is there a particular hotel/resort or destination where you haven't been yet that you are dying to visit?
IT: I would love to visit St. Petersburg.
Do you see any new trends in luxury travel and/or luxury hotels?
IT: Luxury-branded condos are a huge trend in luxury hotels right now. There is an aspirational quality associated with owning a part of a luxury hotel and living an affluent lifestyle. As a pioneer of luxury-branded residences, we are proud to have been at the forefront of this growing trend.
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