Trump Hotel D.C. Managing Director: “All Publicity Is Good Publicity”

0404_TrumpDC_Mickael Damelincourt Head ShotMickael Damelincourt, managing director at Trump Hotel Washington, D.C., says Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has only been good for the soon-to-open property. “All publicity is good publicity,” says Damelincourt. “The secret of an opening is awareness. When Mr. Trump mentioned the hotel on CNN, it was worth millions of dollars in marketing. [His campaign] is probably why the booking is so strong.” The property has already lined up multiple major corporate meetings and is also targeting associations in an area that is rich with them, says Damelincourt. Aside from the candidate, who remains the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, the hotel is making news in its own right. In an era when many properties struggle to open on time, Trump Hotel D.C. is slated to debut in September 2016, two years ahead of schedule. Echoing a press release announcing the jump-started debut date, Damelincourt credits General Services Administration’s cooperation for making the September opening possible. For instance, a potential competitor, The Watergate Hotel, is now expecting to open in May 2016 after originally being scheduled for 2015. A JW Marriott connected to Walter E. Washington Convention Center debuted in 2014, but Damelincourt doesn’t feel it matches Trump’s makeover of the historic Old Post Office Pavilion. “We’ve never competed with a JW Marriott in any city,” says Damelincourt, who previously served as general manager at Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto and executive assistant manager of Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago. The newest Trump hotel will be the brand’s flagship and a model for its expansion into Europe. Unlike the tall buildings in cities like Chicago and Toronto, the D.C. property is only nine stories tall and is capitalizing on the building’s history—as would have to be the case in most European capitals. The 263-room property is being fully renovated, windows and all, and will include 38,000 square feet of meeting space. It’s already preparing for plenty of business in and around next year’s inauguration—an event that could take on special meaning for the hotel if its namesake is victorious in November. And should Trump become the next president, would he forgo the White House for his brand-new property? “Ha, ha, ha,” says Damelincourt. “I would love it. Whenever he comes to one of our hotels, the staff loves it. He has been great to me and to the staff, which is why many of us have been with the company for a very long time.”