It all started with a conversation over lunch in late-2011. Keith, our Founder, who was on a media trip in Jordan, casually proposed a year-end social media campaign to showcase the content that numerous travel bloggers had created throughout the year. Upon his return home, he submitted to the Jordan Tourism Board an official proposal, which was, to his delight and amazement, approved within an hour. In the following week, he thought up a company name and a logo, created a media pack and registered the new company. iambassador was born!
Today, we’re celebrating our tenth birthday and we would like to raise a glass to everyone, from our network of travel content creators to our friends in the tourism industry. It’s been an incredible journey, and it wouldn’t have been possible without you! Together, we’ve helped to shape the course of travel blogging (as it was known then), made it a profession and introduced ideas and concepts to the tourism industry that were truly groundbreaking.
Over the past ten years, iambassador paved the way for travel content creators by creating innovative campaigns, demonstrating the value of content, organising learning and networking events, introducing a code of ethics and building fruitful relationships with both content creators and the tourism marketing industry. As an agency founded and managed by travel content creators, we achieved numerous firsts and earned recognition around the world. Here are some of the highlights in our ten-year history:
December 2011: founding of iambassador by Keith Jenkins
December 2011: #GoJordan, our first campaign!
July 2012: collaboration with Cape Town Tourism to execute the #LoveCapeTown campaign. The success of the campaign led to Cape Town Tourism rebranding itself as LoveCapeTown.
July 2012: launch of Blogville Emilia-Romagna, a blogger campaign concept conceived by iambassador bloggers, Kash Bhattacharya and Melvin Boecher, together with Nicholas Montemaggi from Emilia-Romagna Tourism. This trailblazing campaign has been organised in Emilia-Romagna every year since 2012. The Blogville concept was later introduced by iambassador in other destinations such as Malta, Faroe Islands and South Africa, and has been replicated by various DMOs around the world (which we find somewhat flattering).
August 2012: our first multi-destination campaign with our first corporate client: Mövenpick Hotels
November 2012: our first multi-partner collaboration (Canadian Tourism Commission and Shangri-La Hotels)
November 2012: iambassador makes its stage debut at WTM London
December 2012: partnership with HouseTrip, our first long-term collaboration
March 2013: our first event: the ITB Berlin Tweet-up!
May 2013: #MeetSouthAfrica – the largest travel blogger campaign/event in Africa!
July 2013: featured in The New York Times
September 2013: appointment of Regional Marketing Directors in the UK, USA and Brazil
September 2013: #MyMauritius – the first and largest travel blogger campaign in the Indian Ocean!
October 2013: partnership with Brandseye, a social media tracking and data analysis company. This allowed iambassador to provide clients with detailed and insightful reporting.
April 2014: the first Social Travel Summit (in Leipzig, Germany), our flagship conference that brings together professional content creators and marketing executives from around the world. At the conference, the STS Code of Ethics was created based on discussions between travel bloggers and industry partners.
May 2014: CXploreAsia – our first partnership with an airline, Cathay Pacific
October 2014: A thank you from the Queen of Jordan during #GoJordan Part 2.
April 2015: start of the annual iambassador partnership with WTM Africa in Cape Town, South Africa
October 2015: Nicholas Montemaggi, who previously worked at Emilia-Romagna Tourism as Digital PR Manager, joins iambassador as Director of Marketing and Project Management
November 2015: iambassador wins Travel Media Innovative Campaign and Content of the Year 2015 Award at the Travel Media Awards in London for the #LoveSabah campaign, a partnership with Royal Brunei Airlines, Sabah Tourism (Malaysia) and Good Relations PR
April 2016: iambassador and Visit Britain win Best Standalone Campaign at the Travel Perspective Awards for the British Countryside campaign
August 2016: Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe campaign, our first collaboration with a European Union institution
October 2016: #EuroFoodTrip – a groundbreaking collaboration with Emilia-Romagna Tourism and Costa Brava Tourism to promote culinary tourism in both destinations
March 2017: Media partnership with Phocuswright
March 2017: the first cross-border Blogville collaboration involving Emilia-Romagna, San Marino and Tirol, Austria
May 2017: iambassador and Visit Britain win the Best Partnership Award at the PR Week Global Awards in London for organising the Social Travel Summit Inverness 2016
May 2017: Following the success of #EuroFoodTrip, the second cross-border DMO collaboration was organised, #EuroCityTrip, with Graz Tourism and Ljubljana Tourism
October 2017: #EuroFoodTrip wins Europe’s Leading Marketing Campaign at the World Travel Awards in St. Petersburg, Russia
January 2018: start of development work to build an in-house content creator database, project management and reporting tools.
April 2018: #wombatstraveller, an innovative campaign to find and coach the new wombats hostels ambassador
July 2018: iambassador and Visit Britain win Europe’s Leading Marketing Campaign at the World Travel Awards in Athens, Greece, for the 24 Hours in the UK campaign. This makes it two consecutive World Travel Awards for iambassador.
September 2018: the first of the #EnjoyHiddenGermany campaigns, a partnership with with the German National Tourist Board and Deutsche Bahn
May 2019: the first Social Travel Forum in Graz, Austria. This discussion group, comprised of travel content creators and various DMOs, was organised to create a white paper on the future of influencer and content marketing.
November 2019: the first ExplorerLab workshops. Held in Mauritius, ExplorerLab comprised a series of content creation workshops for travel creators as they explored the destination.
2020: we all know what happened there!
December 2021: iambassador and its partners are recognised by the European Commission as an example of best practice in the utilisation of EU funding.
We would like to say a special THANK YOU to our network of esteemed travel content creators for being a part of this journey with us. It’s been an honour for us to witness and be a part of the professionalisation of our industry and the resulting initiatives, collaborations and business models.
Another huge THANK YOU goes to our clients and industry friends for their unflinching belief in us and our work.
Last but not least, we are forever grateful for the support and encouragement from our friends Melvin, Kash, Angelika, Janice and Claudia, and the amazing work by our associates Sarah, Matt, Frankie and Erik. THANK YOU!
Cheers to the next ten years!