Vancouver’s Trump tower residents vote to increase insurance coverage for terrorism

 The Trump International Hotel and Tower is seen in Vancouver on Jan. 20. As the latest Trump hotel gears up for its official opening in Vancouver on Tuesday, some experts say the wealthy businessman's hospitality brand is taking a hit thanks to his unconventional and polarizing behaviour as president of the U.S. DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS


The Trump International Hotel and Tower is seen in Vancouver on Jan. 20. As the latest Trump hotel gears up for its official opening in Vancouver on Tuesday, some experts say the wealthy businessman’s hospitality brand is taking a hit thanks to his unconventional and polarizing behaviour as president of the U.S. DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS

In the weeks leading to the opening of the Trump Hotel, residents of the 69-storey tower voted to increase insurance coverage for terrorism in light of local and global events.

The vote, detailed in strata minutes obtained by Postmedia, speaks to the enduring controversy Trump brand continues to attack and comes as authorities here brace for a long day of protests as the hotel marks its grand opening.

According to strata minutes from a meeting held Jan. 17, 2017, residents were told of plans to upgrade the building’s insurance coverage to reflect “concerns surrounding recent local and world events.”

“It has been confirmed that the Hotel ownership will be undertaking to acquire the additional coverage, including Terrorism to the full value of their air space parcel (ASP),” the strata minutes read.

“Discussion ensued with the Owners present, particularly the review of the costs for coverage estimated at an upper rate of $40,000/year for the residences. It was ultimately approved.”

Trump brothers will travel in cocoon of U.S. Secret Service during Vancouver visit

When Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump arrive Tuesday to open Vancouver’s Trump International Hotel and Tower, their entourage will be bigger than just their assistants and business associates.

As presidential progeny, they travel in a cocoon of protection courtesy of a U.S. Secret Service detail, which will be backed up by a perimeter of security provided by the RCMP and Vancouver police, the cost of which will fall on the public — both American and Canadian.

“We don’t pay for the Secret Service, that would be the Americans,” said Andre Gerolymatos, co-director of the Terrorism, Risk & Security Studies Program at Simon Fraser University.

However, when it comes to added costs, such as overtime for the RCMP — which is responsible for the security of so-called internationally protected persons — or Vancouver police, “we do,” Gerolymatos said.

The Trump family has come under criticism over the cost of providing security for their high-profile, jet-setting lifestyle — including a business trips to Uruguay, where Eric Trump ran up an $88,000 hotel bill with his Secret Service detail, according to a report in the Washington Post.

For the Trump’s Vancouver visit, authorities involved declined to answer questions about protocols for arranging security and how responsibilities are delegated.

“Anybody with the name Trump, or related to Trump, is high risk right now because of what Trump is doing,” Gerolymatos said.

Trump brand under scrutiny as Vancouver hotel holds grand opening

As the latest Trump hotel gears up for its official opening in Vancouver on Tuesday, some experts are expressing doubts about the fate of the newest addition to the city’s skyline thanks to wealthy businessman Donald Trump’s polarizing behaviour as president of the U.S.

Simon Fraser University’s Lindsay Meredith predicts Trump’s actions, which include a foiled executive order to ban visitors from seven Muslim-majority nations as well as lewd comments about women that surfaced during the presidential campaign, will take a toll on the bottom line of his luxury hotel brand.

“We know it takes a long time to build brand awareness and brand value, and we know you can blow it away in seconds flat if you’re not careful,” Meredith, who teaches marketing at the Vancouver-area university, said Monday. “Any CEO better give his head a shake if he thinks he can get away with doing or saying absolutely anything and that there’s not going to be repercussions for either the corporation or the many brands that it encompasses.”

Meredith explained how powerful a hotel’s reputation can be, regardless of how well it’s run, especially when serving an extremely affluent clientele, which he described as “the 0.1 per cent.” He likened the business of catering to the ultra rich as an intricate dance, where the slightest misstep could mean disaster.

“You can’t afford to have errors when you’re dealing on this really, really high-end market. All the pieces have got to work well. You can’t just have an outstanding hotel. It’s got to have a crystal-clean image as well,” he said.

“Any bad service — it doesn’t matter whether it’s the parking valet, it doesn’t matter whether it’s the reservation — any one little piece when you’re dealing with the very, very high end basically becomes an intolerable screw-up.”

Fellow SFU business Prof. Steven Kates offered a different opinion, speculating that the Trump brand wouldn’t suffer thanks to the ambivalence of the hotel’s target market or even their outright support.

“I don’t think the effect on the Trump brand will be all that profound, unless there’s a major scandal and people actually turn against him,” Kates said. “And considering what he’s done in the past, that’s not happened, so in the future it’s hard to imagine a scenario under which he would lose his broad base of support.”

June Cotte, a marketing professor at Western University’s Ivey Business School in London, Ont., said that while the greater public may not be able to afford to stay at a Trump hotel, they can still have a powerful impact on the enterprise.

“The high-end, exclusive clientele does not necessarily want to deal with protests and demonstrations and police presence, etc. They’re usually looking for a discreet, high-end experience,” Cotte said. “If I’m going to choose between another luxury brand, like a Four Seasons, for example, and a Trump brand, why wouldn’t I choose the one that does not have riot police in front of the property?”

In terms of reversing a negative image, Cotte said undoing damage is especially challenging when the brand is attached to a particular person, as is the case with Trump. She pointed to Martha Stewart as another example, citing the lifestyle guru’s fall from grace following a conviction for insider trading, and the painstaking effort to rebuild that.

“Given the level of public interest in (Trump) right now, I don’t think that would be easy,” Cotte added. “I think people would label a rebranding effort as sort of a sham.”

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