Two Indian brothers are propelling Trump and his interests in the hotel industry. Suresh Chawla began building a luxury hotel in Mississippi’s rural areas and while the project started as a modest investment, it is now part of a licensing agreement with the Trump Organization. Chawla and his brother Dinesh have been managing a small chain of 17 hotels for some time but the Mississippi opening will perhaps be one of the most prestigious. The hotel dubbed the Lyric Hotel and Spa will open in 2018 if everything goes as planned it will look to offer an authentic taste of Mississippi culture to all the guests who will make their way here.
Nine months after breaking ground on the new hotel, Chawla has teamed up with Trump’s sons in a licensing agreement that will see the Trump Organization take over the day to day management of the hotel. The Trump Organization will rebrand the Lyric Hotel and Spa as a Scion Hotel and while Chawla and his brother will be part of the board of directors, the entire marketing will be done by the Trump Organization. There is also a deal that will see the two brothers move three hotels out of their chain under the new brand “American IDEA,” an affordable three star hotel chain.
This chain will be managed by other partners such as the Chawla brothers as opposed to the high-end Scion brand that has been turned over to the Trump Organization. Both chains are expected to grow rapidly in the next few months. Even though the two brothers did not see themselves associating with the Trump Organization at the start of this project, they said that the agreement will of course add quality and value to their chain. Suresh Chawla remembers that the call came during a spring break with his family. An employee from the Trump Organization expressed interest in being part of the project.
The two brothers said that based on the research they did on the Scion brand they realized that it stood for almost everything they wanted to offer in the new hotels and as such it felt right to proceed with the partnership. For the last few years, the global hotel industry has been on the growth path. However, unlike in Asia, where demand for high-end hotels has been rising, in the US, the demand has largely been for low-cost mid-scale chains. Many prominent hotel operators in the country have been quick to expand their mid-scale offerings including Hilton and Marriott which are constructing mid-sized hotels as we speak.
The Chawla brothers said that the hotel will be turned over to the Trump Organization once the renovations are finished. There are a number of standards that must be met as part of the licensing deal. The Trump Organization has been under the management of Eric and Donald Jr. Even though the President said that he was relinquishing all his duties at the company to focus on matters of state, he has in many occasions come under criticism for not fully separating his business interests and his work as a President.