Lifestyle social networks have been effective tools for creating online private membership clubs or invitation-only environments where members receive insider information and significant discounts on luxury travel. While membership on these sites has focused heavily on the U.S. (Jetsetter, UrbanDaddy) and Europe (A Small World, Quintessentially), it seems South America wants access to the VIP lounge.
Not surprisingly, party and travel-loving Brazilians are leading the charge beyond the online velvet rope. According to O Rio Branco, the first luxury social networks in South America have copied the popular members only business model and are attracting followers with assorted travel packages and online promotions. UeedO and Zarpo are the first two Brazilian sites tapping this luxury niche.
UeedO describes itself as “a private social network focused on experiences, business and lifestyle, connecting people in a modern and exclusive environment.” Within the site, members can research travel destinations, read a lifestyle blog and communicate with other group members. While no specifics were given regarding current membership, the site hopes to have 25,000 members by the end of 2012.
Sao Paulo- based Zarpo is also heavily focused on lifestyle with added emphasis on luxury hotels and special rates for Zarpo members hence their tagline, “Extraordinary Hotels. Confidential Rates.” Membership allows a Zarpo user access to their search engine of over 150 luxury hotels where the company has negotiated discounts up to 50% not available to the general public.
While UeedO throws off a more elitist vibe based on social status and purchasing power, Zarpo members receive a cash bonus every time one of their invited friends makes their first reservation. Either way, considering Brazilians spend US$100 per day more than the average traveler, hoteliers in Argentina and Uruguay would be wise to tap these emerging luxury social networks. (Full Story in Portuguese)
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