Meet Some of Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ Newest Franchise Owners

Franchise ownership can be a natural fit for a variety of backgrounds and interests

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Tustin opened it's doors in April of 2016. Photo credit: Anthony Wang & the Tustin Chamber of Commerce.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Tustin opened it’s doors in April of 2016. Photo credit: Anthony Wang & the Tustin Chamber of Commerce.

Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® franchise owners each have their own unique story and path that led them to franchise ownership. Their reasons for choosing a retail travel agency vary from the desire for a change of career, a balanced lifestyle of travel and business ownership, to simply a desire to earn income on their own terms – on a schedule they can dictate. There’s a common theme amongst our franchise owners: they’re natural leaders with a passion for travel!

Last year we welcomed 31 new retail travel agencies to our family spanning throughout the United States and Canada. In 2017, we plan to open a record setting 40 new locations including our first ever locations in Utah and Wisconsin! Meet a few of our newest franchise owners who joined our team over the past year.

Rob Henderson – Tustin, CA

Henderson_Rob-TustinFranchise owner, Rob Henderson’s entrepreneurial spirit is limitless, after opening his first business in the early 80’s – a wall covering installation business – he founded a stone and tile care company in China and served as CEO of three small manufacturing companies and a contracting firm. In between opening and running businesses over the years, he and his wife Michelle, enjoy an active lifestyle and traveling the world which led them to consider a business opportunity that would allow them to maintain their income, lifestyle, wealth and equity goals. He discovered the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity through a past MBA classmate who opened a location years prior and the rest is history. Rob opened Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Tustin late April of 2016 and is thrilled to be able to share his lifelong love of travel with his community.

Barb Gossack – Wilsonville, OR

Gossack_Barbara-WilsonvilleFranchise owner, Barb Gossack, has explored a variety of careers in search of the perfect fit. In January of this year, she opened our only location to date in Oregon state. With a wide ranging background including experience working as an American Airlines flight attendant, occupational therapy, and real estate. When she discovered the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity, she knew it was the perfect fit where she could combine the highlights of her past careers together into one new adventure. Barb brought Expedia CruiseShipCenters to Oregon state, in January of this year. Today, she’s able to help her community plan spectacular vacation experiences like she has enjoyed with her daughters.

Katie Powell – Naperville, IL

Powell_Katie-PlainfieldFranchise owners Katie and Mitchell Powell relocated to Illinois with their two sons after living in the Southern US while Mitchell served on Active Duty in the army as a helicopter pilot. Before opening Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Naperville, Katie ran a company specializing in promotional products. Initially learning of the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity when researching franchises online, they found the perfect business with a proven business model where they could interact with customers while enjoying flexible work hours and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Katie and Mitchell have opened the first Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Illinois in October, 2016!

Tracey Codd – Punta Gorda, FL

Franchise owner, Tracey Codd, is a mom of three and has worked in the travel industry for years. After initially joining the Expedia CruiseShipCenters family as a Cruise Sales Manager at her local Center she saw the potential of translating her passion for travel and helping her clients plan spectacular vacation experiences into her own business and opened her own location in Venice, FL. Fast forward one year, Tracey opened her second location in Punta Gorda in February of this year and is on schedule to open her third location in The Villages this summer! Tracey’s infectious personality has helped her to network in her community and help to build her team, her customer base, and in turn, her business.

Now is the perfect time to launch your travel franchise

Are you ready for a career change? The Expedia franchise opportunity sets franchise owners up for success with our training, support and proven system – no industry training or experience is needed. There’s never been a better time to join the travel industry with a retail franchise. Unlike many retail businesses, the cruise industry has not been diminished by the rise of consumers shopping online.

Cruise Lines International Association, notes in their 2017 Cruise Travel Report that most cruises are sold by travel agents, not through websites. In fact, up to 82% of cruisers opted to book their vacations using a travel agent. The thriving cruising market, as well as consumer trends towards personalized service, have allowed Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchises to have viable, profitable businesses that reflect their owners’ passion for travel.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters is gearing up for expansion

Expedia CruiseShipCenters has more than 230 travel franchise locations open or under development in North America, and has a goal of 500 operating locations over the next five years.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters has more than 230 travel franchise locations open or under development in North America.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters has more than 230 travel franchise locations open or under development in North America.

In our 30th year in business, we’re on course for explosive growth, Expedia CruiseShipCenters will continue to be at the forefront of a fun, booming and exciting industry. In 2017 alone, an impressive 25.3 million people are expected to cruise according to CLIA. With an abundance of new ships coming online, new destinations and itineraries available – there’s never been a better time to join this vibrant industry.

Learn more about Expedia CruiseShipCenters

To learn more about the path to franchise ownership with Expedia CruiseShipCenters, complete the form below. You’ll gain immediate access to our Free Franchise Report, which includes everything you need to know about how to start a travel business in your community.

What Our Franchise Owners Are Saying About Us

Our franchisees share their experience in our annual satisfaction survey

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise Partners attend the annual National Conference at sea.

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, our Franchise Partners are our customers. It’s our purpose and also focus to do all that we can to ensure that we provide the support and tools to set them up for continued success. To keep our finger on the pulse of how our owners are doing and where there are opportunities for improvement we partner with Franchise Business Review each year to survey our active owners in our annual franchisee satisfaction survey.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters exceeded the franchise industry average in nearly every survey category!

Expedia CruiseShipCenters exceeded the franchise industry average in nearly every survey category!

Overall, Expedia CruiseShipCenters exceeded the franchise industry average in nearly every survey category!  In particular, we rated very highly in three key areas – from the training & support we offer our new and existing owners, our core values and the franchisee community they’re a part of. To us, this information is vital as we strongly believe that our franchisee’s success is our success.

1. Welcoming Franchise Community

A huge benefit of choosing a franchise opportunity is knowing that you’re entering into a proven system with other owners whose own experience and knowledge you can benefit from. The support network you’ll be a part of will help you achieve success as a Franchise Owner.

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, you’re truly going into business for yourself, but not by yourself. The best way we can share with you what our franchise community is like is by sharing with you quotes directly from our franchisees themselves:

“My fellow Franchisees strongly believe in networking and supporting each other. They are welcoming to new centers and nearly all of the centers believe that we are all Stronger.Together.”

“The Franchisee Community is strong, dedicated, positive, hard working and a fun nice bunch of people that share the corporate vision and share their business know-how and experiences with each other.”

 “The community is awesome! All of the other franchisees are here to help us be successful. The conferences provide that opportunity to learn from each other.”

Our franchise owners welcome our new franchisees with open arms and are happy to help support and guide you as you find your way through the journey. Our mantra is “Stronger.Together®” because we know we’re in this together, and the more we grow, the better we become – together.

2. Strong Training & Support

We take a great amount of pride in the training and support we provide to our new and experienced franchise owners. Our training and support programs are designed to guide you through finding the perfect location for your retail location to generating interest in the local community to recruit your team of vacation consultants, to the learning the skills of leading a successful team and having the onsite support of your Franchise Performance Coach on a regular basis and attending our annual National Conference at sea! We’re with you every step of the way.

One Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owner commented that “training and support is a mantra of Corporate office and ALL the Corporate team”. While another shared helpful insight into the depth of training and support provided by our dedicated team, “Corporate office is always quick to respond to questions, with explanations or directions to find answers in the system. They are open to feedback and constantly ask for it…. whatever it is.”

Our team of 115 strong dedicated individuals at our corporate headquarters in Vancouver, BC are committed to setting our franchise owners up for success from day one. Our mission is to empower our franchisees with a proven system to grow a profitable and valuable business.

3. Inspiring Core Values

As a new Franchise Partner, you’re entering into a franchise with an established culture that reflects the brand and values they live by. For yours and the company’s continued success, it’s important that your personal values are in alignment. There needs to be concrete core values like trust, respect, honesty, ethics, and commitment to your success within your franchise.

When asked about her experience with the culture at Expedia CruiseShipCenters one of our franchise owner shared, “what more can I say than the corporate team are very bright, articulate and caring individuals that are really passionate about what WE have together.”

We’ve spent the last 29 years perfecting our core values at Expedia CruiseShipCenters which can be experienced at every level of our organization from our corporate head office to each and every franchise location throughout North America. Our core values are teamwork, integrity, respect, dedication and fun!

Want to learn more about our culture? Watch the video below to hear the Expedia CruiseShipCenters Corporate Support team talk about what our franchise values mean to them.

Taking the leap of faith into franchise ownership is a big commitment of your time, financial resources, lifestyle and more. It’s crucial to be confident in your decision when it comes to selecting the right franchise fit for you. We feel the response from our Franchise Partners who participated in our survey reflects what we’re all about at Expedia CruiseShipCenters.

Learn More

Ready to learn more about becoming a Franchise Partner with the retail travel agency backed by the number one brand in travel? Fill out our request for more information today and speak with one of our Franchise Advisors to continue exploring the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity.

Expedia Franchise Owner featured on Entrepreneur

How a Love of Travel Took This Man From Drummer to Franchisee

Franchise Owner, Jon Harvill, in his Greystone Retail Center.

Franchise Owner, Jon Harvill, in his Greystone Retail Center.

By Carly Okyle

Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees.

Jon Harvill’s earliest travel memory is seeing fireworks over the Disneyland castle through an airplane window. The thrill of that moment stuck with him years later as he toured as a drummer alongside music legends. After a stint in pharmaceutical sales, Harvill is on his third act: he’s a franchisee for Expedia CruiseShipCenters, helping others experience the excitement he feels in discovering new places.

Read on to learn more about his path to success and what’s coming down the road.

Name:

Jon Harvill

Franchise owned (location):

Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Birmingham, Ala.

Q: How long have you owned a franchise?

We opened our doors in June of 2014.

Q: Why franchising?

I have always dreamed of owning my own business and had extensive experience in corporate America. The support of the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise system allows me to capitalize on my experience while taking advantage of a proven system. I’m not left to “reinvent the wheel.”

Q: What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?

My most recent experience was 15 years in pharmaceutical sales. During that time I reflected on where my true passion lay and it was in travel. Having played drums on the road alongside such notable musicians as B.B. King, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Louise Mandrell and others as a young man, I sought a career that not only stoked my sense of adventure but also helped people achieve their dreams. I performed on the same stage with these blues, country and rock greats and entertained troops in Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Spain and Turkey, so I knew finding a job that compared to these adventures would be challenging. I decided I wanted to help travelers have amazing foreign experiences too. Expedia CruiseShipCenters made sense as I’d be enriching their lives by helping them travel to these incredible places and others.

Q: Why did you choose this particular franchise?

It resonated with my earliest travel memory: I was a young boy returning home to Southern California on an evening flight, and I witnessed the fireworks exploding over the Disneyland castle. It was incredibly exciting, and I experienced a similar excitement when I looked into the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise. The Expedia name is known worldwide. I am able to combine a lifelong love of travel with the dream of owning my own business during a time when the popularity of cruising is soaring.

Q: How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?

Before opening, I spent approximately $100,000 for the buildout of the retail center including furniture, phones, carpet, signage (both internal and external), Chambers of Commerce, business association memberships and marketing. The franchise fee was $39,000.

Q: Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?

The Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise development team provided the vast majority of professional and legal advice. Through my research I learned that the cruise industry will be relying on travel consultants who specialize in cruise vacations for a long time to come. Twenty-four million people are expected to cruise in 2016 and 65 additional cruise ships will be launched in the next five years.

Q: What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?

Lease negotiation is inherently challenging, but Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ franchise support team assists with this. A key ongoing challenge is keeping an eye on consultant recruitment while carrying out all of the daily responsibilities of a new business venture.

Q: What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?

First, you have to love both the industry you want to break into and the brand you want ownership in. Make sure you do the research. Ask the tough questions. A good company will comfortably answer them. If you are interested in investing in an Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise, ask yourself the following questions: Is travel sales for me? Do I have the passion and desire to recruit and develop a dynamic team of Consultants to become the leading provider of cruise and travel services in my community?

Q: What’s next for you and your business?

We’ve done very well since opening, better than expected for a landlocked community like Birmingham. So, our goal for 2016 is to add a significant number of travel consultants to our team and to enhance our presence within the Greater Birmingham travel community and beyond.

Click here to read the original article on www.entrepreneur.com

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise Review: Q&A with John McIntyre

How one man’s quest for a better quality of life led to a second career as an Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise Owner

John-Mcintyre

John McIntyre with his wife, Rhonda Trundle

John McIntyre was looking to own a business with his wife after he decided to leave the energy industry. He found Expedia CruiseShipCenters to be a perfect opportunity to combine his love of travel with his unique business skill set. John is determined to grow his business at his own pace, as he is aware the life of a Franchise Owner is a long-term commitment. John is an admitted workaholic, however, working on the goal of running his own business has improved the quality of his life. His Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise location in Calgary, Canada, is a viable, profitable business.

This is his story.

What were you doing before becoming an Expedia CruiseShipCenters Owner?

My career had been in a leadership position in the energy industry here in Calgary. I had my own consulting business. However, like many people, my career had stalled. I learned about Expedia CruiseShipCenters through the Canadian Franchise Association and in my own online research. I had been looking at completely different businesses other than travel, but when an opportunity fell through, Expedia CruiseShipCenters was next on my list.

What made you want to open one?

I really liked the business model. I liked the senior leadership team; when we met them, I was quite impressed. Also, I think they have a great brand. The systems and technologies that support the franchisees are strong. My wife and I had never been on a cruise before, and so we thought if we are going to invest all of this money into a business, we need to experience it as consumers. When we got off the boat, we signed the contract. The cruise was the icing on the cake, and we knew this business would add quality to our lives.

John-Mcintyre-2

What do you enjoy the most about the business, your staff and your customers?

I really enjoy the challenges this business presents every day. Even though this is a small business, it is complicated in that you have to put a lot of things together and make them work. I don’t see a big difference between what my demands were in a leadership position in the energy industry and what I’m doing now. I find that I have to use all of my leadership skills all of the time. This is a good fit for me.

As far as staff goes, we have a great group of consultants, all of whom have a giving spirit.

What customers does Expedia CruiseShipCenters draw?

The customers are what I like to call experiential travelers. They want to experience new cultures, get to know the history of a different place, eat the food, and drink the beverages. They don’t want a vacation so much as they want a cultural experience.

How do you recruit travel consultants to support the growth of your business?

We use a number of mechanisms to attract the right people. We advertise locally in our newspapers, and we also print fliers. We look for friends of consultants. We get the word out that recruitment is an evergreen process. We also recruit via our website, as well as host Discovery Nights at our office.

What are the key activities that drive results for an owner, and what are the biggest challenges?

Investing in your sales team and your workforce. I spend a lot of time training them not only on the aspects of the job, but also building their interpersonal skills. Their main job is to find out what the customers want.

Finding the right talent is a constant challenge. I want positive people who have a passion for travel. I want team players who have an entrepreneurial spirit. I always ask potential consultants to give me an example of when and how they were a team player. I look for people who have an ability to engage with people — people who are “people’s people,” so to speak. Finding the right people and establishing expectations is always a challenge.

What does a typical day look like in the business?

A typical day for me begins at 7 a.m. I come in to the office, and I take a look at my e-mails, of which there is usually a significant amount. I have meetings and conversations with consultants, suppliers and other Franchise Owners. What I don’t do is sell travel. Any business that I develop, I pass on to my consultants. I focus the majority of my time on how I can drive more business to my office.

What were your goals for your business and how it would affect your life?

Our goals were to prove to ourselves that we could start our own business and make it financially viable. We have done that. We are turning a profit, and I see this as a long-term investment that needs to be grown. Another goal of ours was to travel and see parts of the world we once only dreamed about. We have done that, too.

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

I’m an admitted workaholic, so I don’t look outside too much for fun. We love to travel by ourselves or with our friends. We do a fair bit with our church, which makes me happy. We also camp occasionally in the Rocky Mountains, which is a great way to relax. Calgary has a great theatre scene, and so we go see shows a fair amount.

Would you recommend Expedia CruiseShipCenters to someone thinking about starting a business and if so, why?

I would if that person is a people person who has a passion for travel. The corporate team helps in terms of national promoting and marketing. They continually develop and invest in our technology. They also have provided us with learning and training programs, and they believe in our ability to be successful.

Learn more about Expedia CruiseShipCenters

For in-depth details about the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity, download our free franchise report. You can also learn more by visiting our research pages.