With about 15% of its passengers being African American, Amtrak decided to create an online presence that targeted the African American community. MyBlackJourney.com was launched in February.
According to Clifford Cole, Amtrak spokesperson, “Amtrak wanted an all-inclusive travel website targeting the African American community with the goal of increasing awareness of the benefits of train travel, providing information on relevant cultural and heritage destinations served by Amtrak and also to provide a community page for registered users to share their train travel adventures.”
This isn’t the first time Amtrak has created websites specifically for the African American community. “Amtrak previously had two microsites targeting African Americans with content specifically focusing on Family Reunion planning and our HBCU Travel Scholars programs. These sites were limited in its ability to cover a broad range of content relevant to the target audience. They also did not have interactive consumer engagement capability and could not support user generated content,” notes Cole.
MyBlackJourney is updated quarterly and has been averaging 3,000 visits per month. It includes information about specials as well as a section of the site that promotes Amtrak’s popular Acela service and features the testimonies of several high profile Acela rides, including James Brown, Sports Commentator and author, and former New York Knicks Basketball player, Charles Smith.
To encourage more people to visit MyJourney.com, Amtrak plans to promote the site at various African American events, such as the Essence Music Festival. “There are also plans underway to work with promotional partners to develop travel related sweepstakes and contests,” adds Cole.
With Internet penetration among African Americans( http://gorumors.com/crunchies/african-american-internet-population-in-usa/) close to 50%, according to a study published on eMarketer last year, reaching out to the Black community via the Web should not only increase awareness on rail trail but boost rideship for Amtrak.