SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Continuing its mission to promote experiential travel, AFAR Media today announced AFAR Connect, a new website dedicated to connecting like-minded travelers and locals. AFAR Connect's proprietary Travel Personality technology creates a customized profile for each user, which ranges from the Florida-bound "Vacationer" to a "Discoverer" volunteering in Haiti. Users can ask questions about their upcoming travel plans and the site will connect the user directly with others who share their same travel profile and have intimate knowledge of the specific destination. The site is available today in private beta and will open to the general public later this fall.
AFAR Media is a two-year-old travel brand, dedicated to furthering the growth of experiential travel. The company and its founders believe individuals can enrich their lives by immersing themselves in different cultures, and that travel is at its best when travelers dig beneath the surface to uncover a truly authentic experience. AFAR Media's first venture is a bi-monthly magazine that embodies the spirit of experiential travel through compelling narratives and beautiful photography. The company published its first-anniversary issue in August.
"AFAR Connect is the next step in our goal of promoting experiential travel," said Greg Sullivan, co-founder and CEO of AFAR Media. "While the magazine is meant to inspire, AFAR Connect is a practical tool for travelers who want to pack their bags and experience a destination from a local's perspective. For me, the best travel advice comes from locals or from other travelers who share the same values and interests as I do. Until now there was no site that could help facilitate that exchange of information on a personalized one-to-one basis."
Travelers who visit the site for the first time take a short and easy quiz to determine their Travel Personality, which is based on a number of factors including preferred destinations and activities. AFAR Connect continues to learn about and evolve a traveler's personality through a user's posts, advice, questions and travel experiences. On the site, a user can ask a question about a place that he or she is interested in visiting and the site's technology will push the question to those users AFAR finds are best suited to answer based on their knowledge of the area and activity, as well as his or her Travel Personality. Those users are then able to engage in direct one-to-one communication that will enable the traveler to have a unique, personalized experience. The technology is the key differentiator, and ensures users receive travel recommendations from travelers who appreciate the same types of experiences as they do.
"Tour books are generalized for the masses and lead travelers to the same spots as all the other tourists, and your friends may have general, but not in-depth knowledge of a destination," said Derek Butcher, CTO of AFAR Media. "When looking for travel advice, it's not who you know, but who you should know that can make the difference in your experience. Our proprietary technology facilitates intimate knowledge sharing for the enrichment of travel experiences."
In addition, users can also comment on posts, 'follow' other members whose advice they value, share photos, and more. Users can create an AFAR-specific profile or log in using Facebook Connect, which will import information already stored in their Facebook profiles.
AFAR also encourages local businesses and travel brands to participate in the community. Businesses can set up profiles similar to travelers, and respond to questions, offer advice, and share information about their company. From airlines to snorkel shops, travel brands that participate in the spirit of the community can use the platform to drive customers to their front door.
Potential members can visit http://beta.afar.com to apply for the private beta. AFAR will send out invitations on a rolling basis over the next few weeks before opening the site to everyone later this fall. During the beta period, AFAR will continue to add new features to the site and will also solicit feedback from its base of beta users.
About AFAR Media
AFAR Media is a multi-platform brand focused on experiential travel. The company is headquartered in San Francisco with a dedicated global sales team in New York. The company's first product – a bi-monthly magazine focused on experiential travel – launched in August 2009. AFAR Connect, a website that connects like-minded travelers and locals, is currently in beta. The company also supports the AFAR Foundation, established to promote cross-cultural exchange and, through its Learning AFAR program, sponsor international travel by high-school students who otherwise could not afford to experience another part of the world. For more information, find AFAR at: afar.com/blog, twitter.com/afarmedia, or facebook.com/afarmedia.
SOURCE AFAR Media