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Hilton and Wynn Resorts CEOs Join Trump At White House Roundtable

Hilton and Wynn Resorts CEOs
Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks

Hilton and Wynn Resorts CEOs Join Trump At White House Roundtable

Hilton and Wynn Resorts CEOs Chris Nassetta and Matt Maddox joined President Donald Trump on Thursday evening at the White House.  The two CEOs joined other business leaders from various companies for a roundtable about opening America back up.  The two CEOs praised the administration’s phased approach.  They also discussed their company’s attempts to ensure cleanliness and safety.

Hilton CEO Remarks

Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta spoke about the desire for people to travel again.  He also praised the White House plan to reopen saying, “The guidelines that you and the administration have outlined, we’re incredibly supportive of, of opening in a safe and healthy way.”

Nassetta also spoke about travel opening up again and the demand for people to be safe while they travel. The hotel CEO said

What we realize is that people do want to get out.  They want safety.  They want to be doing it in a way that is safe.  They want to feel good about it, but they want to get out.  They want to visit their family, their friends, their loved ones.  They ultimately want to get around the country and do business again.  And in order to do that, they want to feel safe.

Nassetta pointed to the standards Hilton announced this week to make travelers comfortable with staying at their hotels.  He also noted the work the industry is doing for this to be industry-wide saying,

The industry, to their credit, is trying to mobilize to create a consistent set of standards so that this isn’t just Hilton.  The whole industry, you know, would have a set of health and hygiene standards that would make — that would make people comfortable.  We will be sharing it with the administration, we’re sharing it with governors already, to try and create a standard.

Wynn Resorts CEO Remarks

Later on in the roundtable, Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox spoke about their company’s efforts.  In particular, Maddox focused on disinfectant policies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and testing capacity.

President Trump asked Maddox when he thought Las Vegas can reopen.  Maddox said he told the city he thinks they should start phase one this week.  Specifically Maddox said, “let’s start phase one — golf course, tennis courts, small restaurants, small retails, nail salons, et cetera — with social distancing in place.  Judge the benchmarks that we’ve prepared.”  Maddox continued by saying that he would hope the company will be open by Memorial Day.

The President followed up about Wynn Resorts testing capacity for employees.  Maddox said the company has the ability to test all 12,000 employees in Las Vegas.

Trump also praised Wynn as “a terrific group of people” for committing to pay all of their employees during the downturn.

Bottom Line

Though there was nothing entirely notable about the remarks from the two CEOs, it was interesting both were selected to be at the roundtable that included only a handful of business leaders.  Overall, the CEOs focused on what you would expect: opening the economy and efforts by their companies to make people feel safe.

I do think Nassetta’s point about safety is a key point across the entire industry.  If people are uncomfortable with traveling, they are less likely to do so.  We’ve already seen an increase in the number of people traveling.  So people may be warming up to it.  But the entire industry will be required to take into account the “feel safe” factor as they strive to get customers to return.

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