Donald Trump, Hotel Meeting Planner

Model Donald Trump’s negotiating tactics. He took on the role of meeting planner to negotiate with a hotel where his campaign was holding an event. But instead of dealing directly with the hotel’s event staff, he made his demands for price reduction to the assembled crowd of supporters.

His complaint? The temperature in the ballroom. He declared on stage,

I think it’s actually cooler outside than it is in this damn ballroom. Ridiculous. Ridiculous

Trump’s campaign held the event at Hilton’s Curio Collection property Hotel Roanoke in Virginia.

Credit: Hotel Roanoke

He went on to describe the hot room as an implied breach of contract by the hotel, and threatened not to pay the bill for his town hall event.

If we are in a ballroom, it’s not supposed to be so hot that everybody in the audience is using a fan. You ought to try turning on the air conditioning or we’re not going to get you paid.

Trump returned to the theme of the room being too darned hot multiple times in his speeches, shaming the hotel.

He said that air conditioning can be expensive, “but this is ridiculous.”

“I think the ballroom and the people who own this hotel should be ashamed of themselves,” Trump said.

Credit: Hotel Roanoke

The hotel says the a/c was working, but Trump’s team kept the doors open to the outside for several hours in 90+s temperatures. According to the Hotel Roanoke, the air conditioning was set at 63 degrees, ‘as low as it could possibly go’ and it was ‘running at 99% efficiency’.

The question here, is what does “Donald Trump the Meeting Planner” say about “Donald Trump the Negotiator?”

  • Telling the crowd you’re not going to pay doesn’t mean you’re not going to pay.

  • The speaker (Trump) also probably doesn’t have full information, he just knows he’s hot and assumes it’s the fault of the hotel.

  • He could be trying to signal a credible commitment — a position he’s locked into, so the hotel knows they have to bargain, since you have no way to save face other than to extract concessions from the property.

  • If they don’t give you anything though you lose more than a discount on the meeting bill since you’ve told the world you’re a great negotiator and that you’ll negotiate a discount.

  • That puts the hotel in a strong position to give you the minimum you need to declare victory at low cost to the property.

  • This is also not likely repeat business for the property, and campaigns are notorious for not paying bills. Many vendors require full prepayment from campaigns.

What would the Art of the Deal suggest about negotiating publicly versus privately over hotel meeting price concessions in this circumstance?

(HT: Point Me to the Plane)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. You’re going to turn off readers with pieces like this. Trump/Anti-Trump-we come here to escape the outside world’s craziness and to learn a bit about points & miles.

  2. What’s the purpose of this post other than being political? Its not even political with any substance, just anti Trump for the sake of being anti Trump.
    Stay off politics or lose credibility and readers.

  3. I really enjoyed this post. And I’ve been here in the comments to say when posts are bad.

  4. I’m not sure I buy the hotel’s explanation. A lot of businesses keep doors continuously open.

  5. I am not voting for Trump but WTF does this have to do with the airline/frequent flyer industry?

  6. I liked the Hotel Roanoke. Stayed there for the bar exam many years ago. Extra cookies were proactively offered, and accepted, at check-in! But it was a Doubletree back then, I think.

  7. More Trump bashing, PLEASE!!! This guy is the biggest moron since dumb-ass GW Bush. I doubt you lose many readers due to these posts, since most of them can’t read.

  8. Umm this is a blog, in a free world.
    Gary has mentioned he writes what he thinks about.
    Trump supporters clearly show they can hardly reason . +1 @Gene

  9. It’s Gary’s blog, guess he can write whatever.


    Gary would do better in the long run, to keep his travel and miles/points content out of the political arena……if he wants to maintain and increase readership. However, as Gary has proven in the past, he believe himself and his opinions to be far more important than is the fact.

  10. Hey ignorant, trash, redneck, uneducated, un-worldly Trump supporters, you truly sicken me. Narcissistic (look it up if you know what a dictionary is) violent xenophobic people WILL get their karma.

    #NeverTrump. Never.

  11. The thing I like about Trump is the way he brings out the absolutely unhinged, ad hominem, hate from the “loving and peaceful” left. (see @gene and @Andy)

    The things I don’t like? … How long ya got?

  12. Just unsubscribed. Been reading this blog for a while and there isn’t much useful info provided. Last straw for me is when you started with political bashing. My two cents worth is Gary would be best off to keep his political opinions to himself.

  13. @Andyandy — I didn’t claim to be loving OR peaceful OR “left”. Trump and GW are morons regardless of my political leanings.

  14. You’re about this close to losing another subscriber Gary, as well as someone who has gotten many credit card approvals through your site. I dont care about your politics just as you dont care about mine.

  15. KL, you do know there’s no subscription to the site? I’m pretty sure Gary (or pretty much anyone else) wouldn’t give a darn tootin’ about what you read or don’t.

  16. @Fred Flintstone (et al) – Good riddance.

    If you’d actually been reading this blog for a significant amount of time you’d know:

    1. Gary has often said he writes for himself, not for you (or me). If you find his posts interesting, great – read on. He isn’t going to start self-censoring (or, it seems, hiring an editor :)) for you.

    2. Gary didn’t just start with political posts like you claim – he’s always had a smattering of politics-related posts, and I think his record shows a pretty balanced criticism of people all over the political spectrum.

    So I suspect you’re not going to be missed, ‘longtime reader.’ As for me, I’ll continue reading whether I agree or disagree with an individual post, because I gain value on the whole. If you don’t, and you can’t stand reading someone with whom you occasionally disagree, then take your toys and play elsewhere.

  17. @baqa, LOL you are an excitable one aren’t you? As I noted, I don’t really gain value from the posts, just find them occasionally mildly interesting but am not interested in reading more political bs on either side. Thought Gary might like to know why folks are unsubscribing from his newsletter as I am sure he does enjoy the income he derives from his blog. He is certainly entitled to write about whatever pleases him. You chill out now and have a nice day dude!

  18. If this article gets one person or meeting planner to book the Hotel Roanoke, then perhaps the purpose will have been achieved. Plus, as others have said, this is a free newsletter; if someone doesn’t want to receive it for any reason whatsoever, all they need do is unsubscribe.

  19. Generally speaking, it would be exceedingly difficult for a hotel to legally offer a discount off rack rate to a federal political campaign for basically any reason. It would be considered an in-kind contribution. So…

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