President Trump - what does the US election result mean for hospitality and travel?

George Sell George Sell Uploaded 09 November 2016

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US: As the world woke up to the news that Donald Trump has won the presidential election, the hospitality sector had already begun discussing the implications of the result.

At the Deloitte European Hotel Investment Conference in London, the election result was the main topic of conversation this morning. Among the large number of American delegates and speakers, there was a palpable sense of shock.

Deloitte's global leader of travel, hospitality and leisure Adam Weissenberg, said: "Trump has slammed his way through everything that is normal - he's not a career politician and I'm worried that he is going to try to run the country the way he has run his businesses."

Scott Woroch, managing director of SH Group, said: "I feel an incredible sense of dislocation and I worry about the international view of Trump and, by extension, America. I think the result could have a potentially negative effect on international travel in to the US, particularly from areas such as the Middle East."

Craig Reid, president and CEO of Auberge Resorts Collection, was fairly sanguine about the effect the election result will have on the hospitality industry in the US. "From an economic standpoint there won't be a great change. Across the US cities are reinventing themselves, and resort destinations are being created."

Reid's comment echoed those of earlier speaker Roger Bootle of Capital Economics, who said: "The economic powers of the president are limited - major changes in the US economy have not corresponded with political shifts." Bootle added a caveat however - "Trump is so contrary, no one knows what he will actually do."

From a US serviced apartment and extended stay perspective, MJ Paschall, SVP at AKA Hotel Residences said: "For the first time ever the United States has a strong business leader running our country. The serviced apartment industry has a distinct advantage in that Trump's background is strong in real estate and hospitality. Provided he uses the right influence and applies his business sense in the political arena, our category stands to have huge supporter. I am certain Trump sees the attention our segment is getting from the hospitality category here in the United States as well. I do think platforms like AirBnB will be scrutinised and regulated accordingly. Trump and his team are smart enough to know that platforms are the wave of the future in this shared economy. These platforms won't go away they will simply be regulated."

Jon Pertchik, CEO of InTown Suites, said: "The one thing that is clear from this cycle on both sides of the aisle is that Americans want change and are fed up with 'the establishment'. It is unclear what President-elect Donald Trump's policies will do for the serviced apartment business.  Intown Suites' brand of extended stay has a built in hedge with some guests who are more prevalent when times are tough and others when economic times are strong. As a result, my optimism for this business continues regardless of the outcome."

One of Trump's most discussed policies is a crack down on illegal immigration. American analysts believe this could trigger wage inflation which would negatively affect hospitality, as well as other industries such as agriculture and retail.

There is certainly a strong sense of uncertainty in our industry and beyond, as the US has just elected arguably the most unpredictable President in modern history. As Trump's plans - and their likely impact on the hospitality and travel sectors - become clearer, Serviced Apartment News will bring you further views and comment.

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