“The African-American population does a lot of traveling for family reunions,” said Karina Romero, a spokesperson for Amtrak. “This is an important target for us because traveling by train is great for large groups and groups with many different generations.”
The site features profiles of cities with large black populations, including New Orleans, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Memphis. Developed by Amtrak’s multicultural agency of record, Images USA, the portal will remain active indefinitely.
Visitors can also download Amtrak’s Family Reunion Planning Guide and get information about its Travel Scholars program, which was created with the United Negro College Fund.
Romero said a second phase, including social media, will debut next week. Consumers will then be able to sign up, create a profile, share photos of trips and chat.
Once that portion of the site is active, Amtrak will begin a social media effort through the company’s Facebook page, Romero said.
Amtrak has no plans for an e-mail marketing campaign to promote the site. To register on site, visitors must enter registration information, including e-mail address.
Amtrak is promoting the site through banner ads on Essence.com, and print and Web ads on Ebony properties.
The site received 1,095 unique visitors and 148,923 page impressions from February 1 to February 21, according to Romero.
In previous years, Amtrak has reached out to black Americans though community events in New York, Chicago and Washington DC. It offered free reunion-planning seminars and had a presence at community festivals throughout the country.
A representative from Images USA was not immediately available for comment.