CEI Snapshot: American Express and Caesars Entertainment
Sure, you want to get your hands on a coveted Centurion Card, because who wouldn't like to throw that down on a table to woo the crowd with your credit prestige? But beyond the showmanship, you'll be glad to know that American Express is one of 49 banking and financial services companies to score a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's 2015 Corporate Equality Index.
The CEI has evolved over time. The inaugural 2002 survey launched with 10 touch points for businesses demonstrating their commitment to equal treatment of employees, consumers and investors, irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. One of the changes added over the years is employers' public commitment to equality for the broader LGBT community. And that's where American Express excelled during last year's Pride season.
American Express partnered with Out Traveler for the #ExpressYourselfie Tour - an eight-city national tour that capitalized on the company's longstanding commitment to small business as well as points of engagement with Pride participants. Dante Mastri, co-lead for the initiative at American Express, described the company as "fantastic" for LGBT employees as reported by Media Post, continuing on to say "...we are thrilled to bring that same energy to our card members and merchants in our local LGBT celebrations across the country."
But this isn't the first time American Express has leveraged LGBT employee engagement as a means to strengthen gay-friendly small businesses. The 2012 Shop Small Provincetown campaign was a progressive initiative targeting more than 700 local merchants in the east coast gay mecca. Members of PRIDE, the company's LGBT community employee network, led a merchant walk, then offered free social media training with experts from American Express and Twitter.
It will be interesting to see what American Express has in store for 2015 and beyond as the company continues to strengthen its partnerships with like-minded businesses, proving that equal rights and a competitive interest rate can go hand in hand.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? Not necessarily. According to a study by Community Marketing, LGBT travelers' economic impact is approximately $100 billion per year in the U.S. alone. That snowball effect has had a profound impact on the hospitality industry, where companies like Caesars Entertainment are identifying the gay community as a valuable customer base, going all out to build brand loyalty both within as well as beyond the corporate walls.
Caesars recently received its seventh consecutive perfect Corporate Equality Index rating, exemplifying the company's continued leadership in the gaming/entertainment industry. In terms of its employees, Caesars enforces its comprehensive non-discrimination policies, provides domestic partner benefits (including healthcare) and offers benefit coverage for gender reassignment.
Taking advantage of its corporate leverage, Caesars has publicly supported legislation in favor of the LGBT community and protection of their rights, in particular, same-sex marriage, signing the U.S. Supreme Court Amicus Brief arguing that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) be overturned. The company was also part of a coalition of 57 companies that filed Briefs of Employers in support of marriage equality in three Sixth Circuit cases.
Caesars' marketing slogan, "We Always Root for 2 of a Kind," may be better than a royal flush for visiting queers, who will be glad to know the company is a proud partner of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA), the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA), and of course the Human Rights Campaign.
For the gay traveler, Caesars offers 10 vastly different properties in Vegas alone, along with 13 casinos and resorts throughout the U.S. and Canada. LGBT wedding bells can officially ring in many of these destinations (and hopefully across the nation after the SCOTUS hearings this spring). When they do, many gay revelers will be celebrating like a Bacchanalian feast, with Caesars at the epicenter.