As the election results near, Skift has published an interesting report about campaign donations made by the travel industry. You can see a few interesting bits of information as the report tracks which airlines and hotel chains donated money to the Trump and Biden campaigns.

Trump – Biden Campaign Donations


Airlines depict and interesting pattern of political donations. On one hand, they have thousands of employees having contrasting political beliefs. On the other hand, CEO donations are often dictated by the location of an airline’s hub. Hence, CEOs end up donating to both parties in the long run, especially in Congressional and Senate races.

The airline industry has the narrowest margin in political donations between the two presidential candidates this year, with individuals working at various U.S. airlines and political action committees donating $1.33 million to Biden and $1.31 million to Trump. There was a wider gap but fewer dollars in 2016, with $640,000 going to Clinton and $272,000 going to Trump. CEOs are among the few who give to both parties, and that’s access-seeking behavior.


However, the hotel industry seems to be learning more in favor of Biden. Las Vegas Sands and Wynn openly side with Trump, but Hyatt sides with Biden.

Some things never change: Casino executives like Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson and ex-Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn continue to donate millions to Republican candidates like U.S. President Donald Trump. The Pritzker family, which largely controls Hyatt and includes the current Illinois governor as a member, still reliably donates to Democratic candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden

The lodging industry, in general, favors Biden to Trump, donating $1.9 million to the Democrat and $1.1 million to the Republican incumbent. Democratic congressional candidates also benefit, receiving $2.2 million from the industry compared to $1.5 million for Republicans.

If you look at CEO donations, then Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson donated $2,800 to Biden. However, the Pritzker family, which controls Hyatt, donated in huge amounts to the Biden campaign in comparison.

The most notable Republican donor in the Pritzker family, Jennifer, donated $2,000 to Joe Biden’s campaign in August and $100,000 to the pro-Biden Lincoln Project earlier this month. Jennifer — who is transgender and previously donated more than $250,000 to various pro-Trump groups four years ago — dropped her support of the president when he issued a ban on transgender members of the military in 2017, Forbes reported. She retired in 2001 as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Army.

The Pundit’s Mantra

Overall, we see a few factors in play. Firstly, the travel industry seems to be donating more in favor of a particular party as opposed to favoring Trump or Biden. Secondly, some companies simply donate to both parties to get favorable policy in a particular state or district. Finally, companies often donate more money to a candidate that they think would end up winning. That way they can get access to that candidate once the candidate gets into power.


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