- Amtrak started a casting call for its social media residency program that will showcase the diversity of passengers and their train travel experiences, according to an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. The #AmtrakTakeMeThere program is looking for social media leaders, not professional travel bloggers or influencers, to share their stories about riding on Amtrak.
- The passenger railroad service's judging panel will evaluate applications based on writing skills, photography and videography skills, social community engagement and online personality. The railroad is looking for social media users who could represent the Amtrak brand effectively, according to its announcement.
- Amtrak is accepting online applications on the #AmtrakTakeMeThere webpage through Jan. 31. Applicants must answer questions about social media engagement and their travel goals with Amtrak. The railroad company expects to announce winners in early spring.
Amtrak's program to recruit social media users — but not professional bloggers or influencers — aims to discover people who can demonstrate the joys of train travel to their follower network in an authentic manner on popular social platforms. The emphasis on authenticity is part of a broader trend among brands to demonstrate their values and commitment to causes that their customers care about. Authenticity is especially meaningful to millennials and Generation Z, which also are more likely than older generations to post vacation-related content on social media.
As expected, younger generations tend to utilize social media and mobile technology when planning and undertaking travel experiences. Eighty-four percent of Gen Z travelers said social media can be influential when it comes to travel, particularly for deals, promotions and pictures or videos from friends or experts, according to a survey by Expedia Group Media Solutions. About one-third (30%) of millennials said they spend more than four hours a day on their mobile devices while traveling, a Hotels.com study found.
Amtrak's social media push comes as the passenger railroad seeks to broaden its appeal under the leadership of CEO Richard Anderson, who previously led Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines. The #AmtrakTakeMeThere campaign follows a similar user-generated content push from TripAdvisor, which loops in content by brands, publishers and influencers to user's travel feeds.