What Does It Take to Be a Top Franchise Owner?

How Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ culture of goal setting is driving record-breaking results for local franchise owners

Each year, Expedia CruiseShipCenters holds a National Conference for all of our franchise owners. We get together to communicate company updates, network, share best practices, and celebrate the organization’s continued growth and success over the past year. We hold this event on a 5-7 day cruise to experience the best that our incredible industry has to offer and reinvigorate our collective passion for this business.

The theme of this year’s National Conference was Leading the Way as we reflected back on our 30 years of success as innovators in the cruise and franchise industries. One of the highlights of our time together onboard is always our Presidents Circle Awards celebration where we take the time to recognize the amazing achievements of our franchise owners. This year’s awards event showcased our culture of celebration perfectly as our franchisees recognized the accomplishments of their colleagues with unbridled enthusiasm.

So why is franchisee recognition and goal setting so important to us at Expedia CruiseShipCenters? Here are three reasons:

Having a goal is extremely motivating.

Although there are some serious travel perks that come with being ranked among out top franchise owners (last year’s Diamond level winners received a free Oceania cruise in Europe!), the real motivator for our franchise owners is the sense of accomplishment they feel when they reach the goal they’ve set for their business.  That’s why we saw a record 28 locations this year who achieved the $6 Million single location booked sales threshold required to receive our coveted Presidents Circle Diamond award – the highest honor our franchise owners can receive. The fact that 8 more locations achieved the Diamond level in 2016 vs. 2015 shows the incredible potential for our franchisees to continuously grow their sales (and their business) even 10, 20 or 30 years after opening. Expedia CruiseShipCenters President, Matthew Eichhorst elaborates:

“When we first moved our franchisee recognition to a goal-based format, we received some push back from owners that $4 Million for the top Diamond level was too high. Now, just 6 years later, we have a record 28 locations achieving the $6 Million benchmark for Diamond. Our entire organization has benefited from this shift to goal-based recognition as we have drastically increased our average sales by franchise, all while growing the distribution channel from 120 locations to 235.”

That’s the power of goal setting.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ top Franchise Partners enjoy their 2017 reward cruise aboard Oceania’s Riviera sailing from Athens to Rome.

When asked how the Presidents Circle program has impacted his business, Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise Owner and Diamond level winner from Petaluma, CA, Brian Murphy, said that it gives he and his brother James something to strive for.

“Having a benchmark definitely impacts the way we run our business,” said Brian. “We set goals, develop sales plans to meet those goals, and evaluate progress regularly. Having the opportunity to network with the other Diamond winners on the reward cruise was also very motivating, and has now inspired us to do even better.”

As part of our the support Expedia CruiseShipCentes provides, our Franchise Performance Coaches help our owners set goals each year and check in regularly to make sure you’re on track and implementing the plan you came up with to get there. They’re like an accountability partner for your business!

It’s nice to know you’re on the path to success.

A few years ago, we realized that our new franchisees were having to wait a really long time to have their hard work recognized in the Presidents Circle program, so we developed a new franchisee award called Star Among Your Peers to recognize new owners who were hitting the recommended sales levels for Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchises in years 1-3. We think of them as check-in points along the path to profitability.

Our franchise owner from Greystone, AL, Jon Harvill, who knocked the sales benchmarks out of the park in his first two years, commented on what it meant to him to win this award and be recognized among his fellow franchisees.

“To be recognized with the Star Among Your Peers award is an honor that is truly humbling. To be in the company of successful entrepreneurs, business leaders and franchisees was quite an experience! I’ve been provided a tried and proven system that has given me clear direction on how to successfully plan and implement my daily activities. The benchmarks provide specific targets on what to aim for in order to excel.”

Expedia Franchise Owner, Jon Harvill accepts his Star of Stars award for first year franchise sales.

Expedia Franchise Owner from Greystone, AL, Jon Harvill accepts his Star of Stars award for achieving the highest second year sales in his peer group.

We love to celebrate.

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, one of our core values is dedication. Every person in our organization works incredibly hard to serve their customers, whether they are on the corporate team, a franchise owner or a Vacation Consultant serving the end traveler. We’re dedicated to navigating spectacular vacation experiences. Another one of our core values is fun. That’s why we take a time out from that hard work each year to look back at what we’ve achieved as a company and as individual business owners, and celebrate how far we’ve come.

Elliott Finkleman, who owns two franchises in Ontario described that sentiment perfectly when he spoke about finding that balance between dedication and fun.

“Since Expedia CruiseShipCenters is full of professionals from top to the bottom, being recognized as with the Star of Stars award in my third year made me feel grateful. It also makes you feel very humble as so many of my fellow franchise owners are also deserving. Most of all it validates all the hard work and ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.  And of course, there is also that part of me that just wants to jump up and yell YIPEE!”

Learn More

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we understand the power of goal setting and support our franchisees through every step of their business journey, holding them accountable for the things they’ve told us they want to accomplish along the way. We call our franchise owners our Franchise Partners for a reason – it’s because we’re in this together. Your success is our success.

If you’re ready to make your goal of business ownership a reality, we’d love to share more about how Expedia CruiseShipCenters can give you the financial freedom and flexible lifestyle you’ve been dreaming of. Just fill out the form below to receive our free franchise report or read the essentials about our travel agency franchise opportunity here.