As Donald Trump’s presidential campaign careens through another chaotic week, Foursquare has released data showing that Americans have been walking away from the real estate magnate’s brand. Literally.
"Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, foot traffic to Trump-branded hotels, casinos and golf courses in the U.S. has been down," said the company in a blog post. "Since spring, it’s fallen more. In July, Trump properties’ share of visits fell 14% year over year, for instance."
Before Trump announced his bid, foot traffic to his properties was steady year over year. That streak came to an end last summer, when the properties—which include hotels, casinos, golf courses and luxury apartment buildings—failed to register their usual summer increase. In August 2015, the share of all people visiting Trump-branded properties was down 15% from August 2014.
The losses then stabilized for a couple months. But in March 2016, with primary season in full swing, the losses returned. Instead of their usual spring bounce, Trump’s properties were down 17% in foot traffic compared to a year earlier.
Hardest hit were the Trump SoHo, Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago and Trump Taj Mahal, which were down as much as 24% year over year. Coincidentally or not, it was announced this week that the Trump Taj Mahal will be closing after Labor Day.
Foursquare, a location-based social network that claims more than 50 million monthly users, is careful to note that it is not in the business of predicting elections, or taking sides in them. "As a location intelligence company, helping both consumers and businesses make smarter decisions in the real world, our job is simply to report the data," the company said.
But there is evidence that the data is guided by political headwinds. For example, traffic to Trump properties was harder hit in so-called blue states than in red ones, falling 20% on average. Much of that dip is driven by women, among whom Trump is particularly unpopular. In blue states, visits from women to Trump properties were down 29% in July 2016 compared to a year ago.
Foot traffic in swing states has "fluctuated greatly," said the company.
Foursquare has a history of using its location data to predict large-scale cultural events. Last year it predicted sales of the iPhone 6, the success of McDonalds all-day breakfast and a disappointing first quarter for Chipotle. In this case, the company noted that not all Trump properties are even owned by Trump anymore, so observers should be careful not to make inferences regarding the impact on Trump’s bottom line.
Political speculation, however, is welcome.
"For fans of Trump, the business losses may simply reflect the cost of sticking by his campaign statements and beliefs," the company said. "For critics of Trump, the fact that more people are staying away from Trump-branded properties may reflect people ‘voting with their feet.’"