Donald Trump's controversial presidential campaign could be hurting his business, according to an analysis by Foursquare.
Trump-branded hotels, casinos and golf clubs had about 16% fewer visits in September compared to a year ago. In fact, the properties have posted a year-over-year decline in foot traffic of about that much every month since March. Foursquare uses the location data it collects from people using its Foursquare and Swarmm apps to make these estimates.
The analysis only runs through the end of September, so it doesn't include the period following the release of the Access Hollywood tape that has sparked more controversy and criticism of Trump.
The drop in foot traffic is steeper for women than it is for men, and it's down even more in Democratic-leaning "blue states" such as New York and New Jersey, than in "purple" states such as Florida and Nevada.
Foursquare doesn't claim to have any insight as to how the drop in foot traffic may impact the revenues that Trump properties generate when people are there.
But it does say that a similar analysis was an early indicator that McDonald's ( )all-day breakfast menu would be a hit for the company, and that Chipotle ( would report a )sharp drop in sales after its E. coli problems.
But those are public companies that are required to report financial results, while the Trump Organization is privately held and doesn't have to post its numbers. Spokespeople for Trump did not have an immediate comment on the Foursquare analysis. But in the past, the company has insisted that business at his properties has not suffered due to controversies surrounding the campaign.
The Foursquare report included some properties that aren't owned by Trump but which still bear his name, such as the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. The casino had one of the sharpest drops in foot traffic but also faced extraordinary circumstances, including a strike that started July 1, and the news that came in August that the casino would close permanently. The Taj Mahal closed for good on Oct. 9.
The data analyzed by Foursquare includes not only instances where users "checked in" on its apps, but also location data transmitted by people with the app on their smart phones. The company says it adjusts the data so that its estimates apply for the general population, and not not just people who use its apps.
Still, Daniel Lesser, a leading appraiser of hotels and resorts, doubts that Trump properties are suffering anywhere near the decline in business estimated by Foursquare.
"Nobody knows, except for Donald Trump," said Lesser. "But his properties are luxury assets, and luxury is performing the best at the current market. I personally would be surprised if it was any impact from the campaign."
Trump is famous for putting his name on most of his business ventures over the years, including apartment buildings, a modeling agency, an airline and real estate classes, which he dubbed "Trump University." A lot of his business ventures entail licensing his name to businesses owned by others.
But even though he often brags about the value of the Trump name, the Trump Organization actually announced a new hotel brand three weeks ago that won't use his name. Instead it will be called Scion.