On Sept. 21, American Airlines launched Aprendi.com, a first of its kind social media site that caters to Spanish-speaking travelers.
Aprendi is based on user content. Visitors to the site start by creating a profile with a photo and short biography, then upload photos of destinations and write reviews based on activities and interests.
By clicking on a world map, other Aprendi users can explore the reviews in the form of postcards. Similar to other online communities, interesting information can be linked to Facebook and Twitter.
In creating Aprendi, American Airlines is taking advantage of the increasing amount of Spanish speakers traveling, as well as the more than 30 million that participate on a different social media site. Latin America is also the region where American Airlines and its Oneworld Alliance partners excel, offering more flights and destinations than any other airline.
Cynthia Barnes, America Airlines' Director of Diversity Markets and Advertising, explained the idea behind Aprendi.
We know Hispanic travel behavior is evolving and that one of the reasons to travel is to be inspired, learn about new cultures and live richer, fuller lives, she said in American Airlines' press release.
We want them to share those travel experiences and trade stories with others in their communities. And we want to be the airline they choose as they visit the most exciting destinations around the world.
To promote the Web site, Aprendi is launching a competition where four lucky travelers will be named the Ambassador to their region (North America, South American, Caribbean, or Europe). The best part of being an Ambassador is winning a free two-week trip for yourself and a guest anywhere within the four regions. The contest deadline is Oct.14, at which point twelve contestants will be selected to move on to round two. The semi-finalists will then create a video that Aprendi users will vote on.
Zubi Advertising created the site after the success of an initial Aprendi campaign. The Web site will continue to get better as more users join and give a larger range of destinations to explore. The only drawback of the site is that the postcard layout lacks detail on destinations, which would be helpful in planning a trip. It will be interesting to see the public's response to a corporate-sponsored travel community.