The CEO of Celebrity Cruises has said she wants the cruise line's marketing to stand out from the rest of the industry. Hiring an outsider — from Airbnb no less — shows how serious she was.
The cruise world’s newest marketing chief is coming from one of the hospitality industry’s biggest disruptors.
Peter Giorgi, global head of advertising and content for Airbnb, is leaving Silicon Valley for a job as chief marketing officer at Celebrity Cruises. Before moving to Airbnb, Giorgi worked for eight years at ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky.
The Miami-based cruise line, which is part of Royal Caribbean Cruises, formally announced the hire Tuesday morning; Giorgi starts April 15.
“The moment that I toured one of the Celebrity ships and was faced head-on with just how incredible that offering is, I knew that there was just an unbelievable opportunity to market this brand and this product and this experience,” he said in an interview Monday.
The CMO role is new at Celebrity and includes oversight of brand strategy and development, digital marketing, social media, research, loyalty, direct marketing, and advertising.
In the announcement about Giorgi’s hiring, the cruise line highlighted his “style of creativity, combined with his ability to develop ideas based on an original, novel, or unconventional approaches.”
At Airbnb, where he started working in September 2014, he launched social, film, digital, and cultural campaigns as well as digital content. Accounts at Crispin Porter + Bogusky included Volkswagen, Jose Cuervo, and vitaminwater.
“Peter comes from a background and resume and experience and success in redefining brands, in making them stand out and finding their moment of truth, if you will — being a little disruptive in how they not only develop their strategy, but how they then communicate their brand and strategy to the consumer to get consumers to engage in sometimes very crowded markets,” Celebrity president and CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said Monday.
She called Giorgi’s experience at Airbnb an “added value” for the new and different vacation options it gives travelers, the way the company communicates with customers, and the way it campaigns through digital platforms.
Giorgi said he doesn’t see any upheaval in store for the cruise industry that would be comparable to Airbnb’s effect on hotels or Uber’s impact on taxis.
“I don’t think the cruise industry needs to be disrupted in the same way, but that doesn’t mean there’s not work to do,” he said. “I haven’t done day one yet. But certainly I think there are a number of opportunities and maybe moments of not necessarily friction, but possible tension or other things that have become status quo that I’m intrigued and anxious to get in and think about in a really deep way.”
He said he sees big potential for marketing especially in the digital and mobile space.
“We’ve got some of the most technologically advanced ships in the world, and we need to reflect that, I think, in everything a consumer touches,” Giorgi said.
Lutoff-Perlo, who was named CEO in December 2014, told Skift earlier this year that she was “sick of the same sameness” in cruise marketing. With a new ad campaign and rebranding that launched in January, her goal was to more effectively articulate the personality of the brand.
“I believe that the cruise industry still has a big opportunity that no one is approaching in the right way,” Lutoff-Perlo said Monday. “And part of what is my intention, my desire, my focus and my determination is to make Celebrity be that one cruise brand that truly breaks out and breaks away so that people undestand and value and want to participate in cruising — of course, with Celebrity.”
For his part, Giorgi said he thinks the rebranding efforts were spot on.
“It seems to be so intuitive and indicative of what’s different,” he said. “It’s just about adding more context and telling a bigger story. We’ve got the plot and I just want to add more chapters to it.”
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Photo credit: Celebrity Cruises has hired Peter Giorgi, head of global advertising for Airbnb, as the cruise line's chief marketing officer.