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Gordon Ho, who put the 'Come Back New' into Princess Cruises, is leaving

CRUISE Gordon Ho.jpg
Gordon Ho helped drive global demand for Princess Cruises through new campaigns and branded experience partnerships
Marketing dynamo Gordon Ho, who led the 'Come Back New' campaign and brought a bevy of branded experience partnerships to Princess Cruises, is among those leaving the company.

Ho ultimately served as chief marketing officer and head of sales after joining Princess in 2013 as SVP global marketing, following senior marketing roles with the Walt Disney Co.

Unstoppable creative energy

His 'unstoppable creative energy has helped to drive global demand and numerous initiatives including our “Come Back New” and 50th anniversary campaigns, as well as our exclusive partner experiences with Discovery, Sleep Doctor Michael Breus, Norman Love and Curtis Stone,' said Jan Swartz, group president, Princess Cruises and Carnival Australia.

'His focus on personalization-at-scale initiatives has fueled substantial improvements in our digital marketing and e-commerce efforts,' she continued. 'Throughout this recent time of great upheaval for our company and industry, he has helped our team share and celebrate moments of positivity and happiness.'

Characterized by relentless curiosity, the personable Ho is known for asking questions and sparking discussion to gain insights that supplement his data-driven approach.

Emotion-evoking creative, data-driven decision-making

Marketing professor Lin Humphrey considers Ho an 'extraordinary marketing leader' for having the 'rare ability of being able to launch emotion-evoking creative and data-driven decision-making in unison. I have always admired how much data-informed strategy was hidden to the cruising public behind gorgeous visuals and consistent brand messaging,' Humphrey said. 'It was seamless and effective.'

Ho 'will be missed in the industry, but he will make waves in his next role,' Humphrey added.

Going forward, the Princess marketing and sales leadership team will report to Deanna Austin, EVP and chief commercial officer.

Come Back New

'Come Back New' featured a TV campaign and led to the 'Come Back New' promise. Another new campaign spanned the line's 50th anniversary celebration with Princess Cruises' first Rose Bowl Parade float featuring 'The Love Boat' cast. 

Ho drove brand partnerships that brought fresh audiences to Princess. The one with Discovery blossomed into the Discovery at Sea program, encompassing Discovery and Animal Planet exclusive shore excursions, Camp Discovery youth centers with 'MythBuster' activities, and the Shark Week on-board programs.  

Culinary partnerships included chocolatier Norman Love for 'Chocolate Journeys,' chef Curtis Stone for his SHARE restaurant at sea and Ernesto Uchimura for the Ernesto burger. Exclusive shore excursions with Bon Appétit magazine highlighted the line's destination strength. The Sleep program with Dr. Michael Breus brought the Princess Luxury Bed fleetwide.

Localized experiences/campaigns in Asia

Ho helped drive global and new international campaigns. He created the Princess Global Marketing Summit to assemble marketing and sales leaders from around the world to share best practices and global priorities. Also, together with local teams, he launched Princess localized experiences and campaigns for China, Japan and Taiwan including Princess World Leader dinners in China.

As well, Ho helped position cruising as the best vacation option via the '7 Cruise Wonders of the World' campaign with Conde Nast Traveler and collaborated with Trip Advisor to add 'cruise' as a category to this No. 1 global travel site. 

Personalization at scale

The personalization-at-scale initiative drove expansion of personalization efforts through new MarTech solutions, providing 20% improved conversions across email, social, web and ad platforms. Adobe cited this personalization approach as one of the top implementations in the hospitality business.

MedallionClass Cruising and more

Another major effort included the launch of MedallionClass Cruising, featuring the OceanMedallion.

Most recently, during the COVID-19 crisis, Ho supported global communications and led the Princess Care Team efforts for repatriated guests who were quarantined in military bases across America. This included assembling teams, on-site and remote, to provide needed supplies, communications, care packages and transport home.

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