Without announcement or fanfare, one of the travel industry’s most prestigious network of travel agents and advisors has dropped all Trump-branded hotels and resorts from its elite services.
Virtuoso Travel is a network of travel advisors that focuses on luxury travel. The company comprises over 1,100 “by-invitation-only” travel agency locations with 20,000 travel advisors in more than 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Pre-COVID, their members combined for $30 billion in annual travel sales. The company’s motto is “the best of the best.”
We used a Virtuoso agent to book our amazing stay at the Goldener Hirsch in Salzburg, Austria.
Trump Hotels is a chain of hotels owned by the Trump Organization. Properties can be found in Charlottesville, VA, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, New York City, Waikiki, Washington D.C., Doonbeg Ireland, and Aberdeen and Turnberry Scotland. They tout themselves as “…a brand of five-star luxury hotels and resorts with a mission of providing extraordinary customer experiences and luxury accommodations.”
Until early March, the Trump Hotels were on Virtuoso’s list of preferred partners. However, as per Zenger, who first broke this story, they’ve since “Trump dumped,” and the properties are no longer on Virtuoso’s website.
Virtuoso made no public announcement about ending the partnership.
When questioned about the change, Misty Belles, Virtuoso’s managing director of global public relations, was quoted as simply saying, “As of March 8, 2021, Trump Hotels are no longer part of the Virtuoso network.”
When questioned further, Belles said, “Virtuoso considers many variables when reviewing both existing and new network participation. Out of respect for all involved parties, and as a general policy, we do not share comments regarding our non-renewal and exit decisions.”
I admire them for their classy way of doing business.
The “dump” could have been for several different reasons. Belles explained that Virtuoso continually evaluates who they partner with, and it’s based on a variety of factors, including feedback from clients and travel advisors.
Obviously, feedback is very important. But of course, so is reputation.
Some properties with the former president’s name on them have been having financial struggles for years. Forbes reported last year that Trump’s hotel management and licensing business was down “$24 million since 2019, as well as his golf resorts in Miami and Europe, which are down another $120 million.” The Washington D.C. property, formerly the Old Post office, was up for sale, but no one was willing to purchase it for the amount being asked (several of the bids were for less than half of the $500 million asking price). Plus, of course, after the Capitol riot in early January, several prominent organizations and banks, as well as all of New York City, cut ties with the Trump Organization entirely.
Whether or not the Trump Organization’s sullied reputation (or the name “Trump” in general) has anything to do with Virtuoso no longer partnering with the hotel brand is something we’ll probably never know. But for those who use Virtuoso for their travel planning, the Trump properties are no longer options.
Feature Photo: Piqsels
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary