Travel Franchise Review: Q&A with Kyle Matheson of Expedia CruiseShipCenters

A growing industry, customer-centric culture, and big brand name led this hotel executive to trade land for sea.

A life-long traveler, Kyle Matheson, shares his experience taking over an existing franchise location and reveals what he believes is the key differentiator setting Expedia CruiseShipCenters apart from competitors.

What were you doing before becoming an Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owner?

Kyle: Most recently I was the Director of Sales for the Shangri-La Hotel in Vancouver, BC, but I’ve always worked in tourism and hospitality. I started in the travel business as a tour guide for my dad’s corporate event company and transitioned into hotels in 2000 and I have spent the last 18 years in sales and marketing for hotels.

What led you to consider franchise ownership? In particular, why a travel franchise?

Kyle: There are a couple of things that led my wife, Tammy, and I to Expedia CruiseShipCenters. I could see the cruise market being an area for growth with every year at least 50,000 more people cruising through the port of Vancouver alone. We initially looked at a couple independent travel agencies, but once we attended Discovery Day for Expedia CruiseShipCenters we were sold. We realized that we could own our own travel agency that specializes in cruise, and get the technology, marketing, and the Expedia brand recognition, it was really a no-brainer for us to go with the travel franchise option.

Originally, we were looking to open a new Expedia franchise, but there weren’t any available in our area so we started looking at existing locations for sale and purchased one of the original 10 Centers ever built.

Why an Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise?

Kyle: The very first thing we noticed about Expedia CruiseShipCenters was the support. Expedia CruiseShipCenters has great technology, customer management systems, good marketing programs as well as a large corporate team that help us. On top of that, we are backed by Expedia, the largest brand in travel which allows us to offer the best deals and our Travel Consultants can earn higher levels of commission.

What do you believe sets Expedia CruiseShipCenters apart from our competitors, including travel websites?

Kyle: It’s really about the service that we offer. Everybody says they have great service but what I like about Expedia CruiseShipCenters is that it’s backed up by the training. We’ve added 10 new Consultants in the past year and to be able to put them through a set of training that formalizes what they’re meant to do — how to take care of a guest, how to look for customers, how to qualify properly, how to match the customer to the right cruise line — all of that is really drilled home through the training and in the end is what benefits the client. It’s all about living the Promise that Expedia CruiseShipCenters puts forward.

How do you find your customers?

Kyle: I think when you buy a franchise you’ve got to jump in with both feet and really work the system. We participate in every one of the flyer mailings, email blasts and Facebook marketing initiatives. For our Center, the secret sauce for finding new customers and hosting an event in conjunction with the 7 core promotions Expedia CruiseShipCenters has each year. Sometimes we’ll hold the event here in the Center and other times at an offsite location like a golf course or a community venue. Partnering with a participating cruise line and holding an event around the promotion provides a reason for people to act on the marketing we’ve sent them and has been a real winner for us.

The other thing I’d say is when you buy a business you need to put work into it. I tell potential new franchise owners on the validation calls, you’ve got to keep recruiting and promoting top of mind and constantly network. I’ve had three leads just from standing in bank line-ups! If the opportunity comes up to have a meaningful conversation and I’ve got my branded Expedia CruiseShipCenters shirt on I jump on it.

What do you do to drive repeat business and Customers For Life?

Kyle:Kyle: I believe it’s important to build strong relationships with our customers to drive repeat business. I’m so lucky to have such a great team of Vacation Consultants who are passionate about travel and love helping customers book memorable vacations. If some issues come arise either before, during or after our customers trip, we can work together and keep their business because we have a good relationship. Creating a deep customer connection allows us to follow up after their vacation and ask if they enjoyed that 75th birthday trip or that 15th wedding anniversary cruise was and if they would like to plan their next vacation.

What aspects of this business do you enjoy the most?

Kyle: For me, it’s the people. I don’t think people get into the hospitality business if they don’t enjoy being part of a team and bringing people together. We get to deal with clients when they are at their happiest. They’re dreaming about their next vacation or their bucket list trip or a special occasion, and that’s just fun to talk about and be in the office for.

Another thing that I didn’t expect is the great community of Franchise Partners. Quite a few of them have taken the time to have a coffee or a meal with me to let me pick their brain and help me get up to speed and improve my business. I’ve found the entire Expedia CruiseShipCenters community has been super helpful and open.

How would you describe the culture at your center?

Kyle and his team celebrating 1million in sales

Kyle: We celebrate birthdays with wine and cheese at our Center! It really has a family feel, which is something that I like and have tried to foster after working in my own dad’s business. This business is very personal to me. My wife and I have made the investment to do this and we involve our 9-year-old daughter as much as we can. I feel like the people in the office really care about each other and their shared success. The previous owners built a Center where people wanted to be and enjoy each other’s company and I’ve worked hard to continue that so that everyone feels that same level of trust. Some of the Consultants even go on vacation together which I think that says a lot about how well they get along.

 

How has the Expedia CruiseShipCenters corporate support team helped you launch and grow your business since you started?

Kyle: Since I joined the Expedia family I’m felt consistent support from the corporate team from the very beginning. I felt like the corporate head office truly wanted to get to know me and understand what I was looking for in a franchise. My Franchise Performance Coach is awesome at helping me grow my business in the right direction. She’s encouraging, but also knows I like numbers and benchmarks so she gives me all the information I need. She’s also great at providing the check for blind spots and is always encouraging me to recruit. The proof is in the pudding: halfway through this year we were already over half of our growth and it is from the new Consultants we added last year who are now starting to hit their stride. Without her support and encouragement, we wouldn’t have been as successful.

Where do you see your business in 5 or 10 years? How do you see your lifestyle changing as a result of your business growth?

Kyle: Even though we’re an established Center, I’m still in growth mode. When I look at the high performers in the Expedia CruiseShipCenters system they have more Consultants. We have 32 Consultants right now and I’d like to get to 50, while still maintaining our great Center culture. I see us growing over the next 5 years with Tammy ideally joining the business in the next year or two.
In terms of lifestyle changes, I truly have more flexibility now. Working in hotels, especially at the leadership/executive level, it was hard to get away and have family time. The biggest change in my life since buying my Expedia franchise is I have been to every single one of my daughter’s dance recitals and school assemblies because I’m my own boss.

Kyle and his wife Tammy – Korto hike

 

 

Learn More

For more in-depth details on how you can be your own boss and open an Expedia CruiseShipCenters retail travel franchise, fill out the form below.

3 Reasons to Invest in an Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise

A proven business model making Expedia franchise owners successful

Our proven business model is designed to help Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchisees achieve their goals and grow their business. Franchisees recruit Travel Consultants who earn commissions on the trips they book. A large team of Vacation consultants helps to drive top-line revenue, which in turn enables the franchisees to manage their Center as well as build profits.

The growth of the cruising industry has generated an explosion of demand for Expedia CruiseShipCenters around the country. Given the complicated nature of booking cruises, more than 70% of cruisers relying on travel retail centers to help them plan their dream vacations.

As one of the leading cruise sellers and most recognized brand in travel, we are rapidly expanding throughout the U.S. Here are three of the top reasons to start your own Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise and be a part of one of the largest travel company in the world.

The power of our brand

We have over 265 Expedia CruiseShipCenters locations open in North America, and our brand recognition is a huge marketing advantage. Because Expedia CruiseShipCenters is one of the top sellers of cruises worldwide, major cruise lines clamor at our doorstep to offer us competitive deals and promotions.

We then leverage those deals by creating marketing campaigns — some of which are largely underwritten by the cruise lines themselves. For instance, we are able to send out gorgeous fliers at little cost to targeted customers on behalf of our franchisees.

It’s a perfect symbiotic relationship — cruise lines get the word out about their trips and destinations, and we get the word out about our personal service and center locations.

The cruise industry is booming

Expedia CruiseShipCenters has over three decades of sales growth at an average of 11% each year. We’ve grown at 3x the rate of the cruise industry average, the rise of our brand has coincided with the popularity of cruising.

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“Cruises are becoming increasingly popular because they offer comfort and convenience while making it easy for people to visit several exotic locations on a single trip,” says Expedia CruiseShipCenters CEO Matthew Eichhorst.  “At the same time, though, the sheer magnitude of travel options has become overwhelming for many travelers — which makes a perfect opportunity for our expert consultants at Expedia CruiseShipCenters.”

Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owners receive ongoing support

Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owners get outstanding systems and support from our corporate team. We have grown faster than the rest of the cruise industry by building incredible systems that make it easy for franchisees and their travel consultants to share knowledge about destinations and build custom itineraries that suit clients. We also have built a strong culture of teamwork that allows franchisees and team members to build upon one another’s success.

“So much sets them apart: the strength of their technology, their commitment to their franchisees, the open-minded culture,” says Joyce Ripka, a former CPA who owns an Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise location in Brossard, Quebec. “Their door is always open for us to make recommendations. We have a lot of support from our franchise-partners, as well. The people in Vancouver keep us well-informed and are really willing to help us grow our business.”

Learn more about Expedia CruiseShipCenters

For more information on the Expedia franchise opportunity, complete the form below.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Veteran Franchisee Feature: Francis James

Open your own Expedia franchise and be your own boss

Join forces with the largest brand in travel paired with a proven system and over 30 years of experience. Expedia CruiseShipCenters is seeking passionate travelers who are natural leaders to join its expanding network of franchise owners. We are proud to support Veterans and First Responders as they pursue their business ownership dreams by opening a retail travel franchise is their community. Our franchise model is a great fit for Veterans and First Responders where they can apply their previous experience and dedication by leading and developing a successful team of travel consultants.

Francis James – Santa Clarita, CA

Meet veteran franchise owner, Francis James. Francis joined the Expedia family earlier this year and opened his Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Santa Clarita, California. Previously, he had worked for Fortune 500 companies and the Department of Defense and has 35 years’ experience problem solving, leading, managing, financing and business operations. Francis began his career following graduation from the Air Force Academy as an Air Force Officer, serving as a Project Manager for large-scale defense acquisitions. After 10 years of active duty and transitioning to the Air Force Reserves, he became Comptroller for field funds disbursement operations at March Air Reserve Base in California, where he retired as Lieutenant Colonel.  Concurrent with his Reserve role in the Air Force, Francis started civilian life as a Financial Consultant for American Express and Merrill Lynch before becoming a Finance Manager for several corporations. Over the past two decades, Francis has worked in various senior management positions where he gained great mentoring and leadership skills.

Before discovering the Expedia franchise opportunity, he worked as a Senior Manager of Financial Planning & Analysis for a medical technology company. Ready for a new challenge, Francis found the Expedia franchise opportunity and was drawn to helping people plan spectacular vacations while being his own boss. When Francis isn’t running his Center, he enjoys spending time with family including his three kids ages 17, 20, and 23.

Are you a Veteran or First Responder looking to transition into a new career where you can build equity and have a fun lifestyle? You may be eligible for a 15% discount off the initial franchise fee! Click here to learn more about our Veterans and First Responders program.

Learn More

Expedia CruiseShipCenters is committed to setting all franchise owners up for success. We believe your success is our success and we provide franchise owners the tools and support needed to achieve their business goals. Learn more about our proven franchise model and award-winning technology as part of our franchise discovery process by completing the form below.

Best Practices for Conducting Validation Calls

Make the most of an opportunity to speak with existing ownersFranchise owner validation call

The exploration phase of any franchise opportunity typically consists of multiple stages and milestones as you conduct your due diligence. At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, our structured franchise discovery process is completed by all prospective franchise owners with the guidance of their dedicated Franchise Development Manager and can be completed in as little as 30 days. An important step in this process is completing validation calls with existing franchise owners to hear directly from the source their experience opening and running their business and challenges as well as successes, they’ve encountered along the way.

When to complete a validation call

Once you have a full understanding of our franchise system and have completed the previous stages in our education process, your Franchise Development Manager will encourage you to participate in at least one validation call. To get the most out of these calls it’s important to have a solid knowledge base so that you fully understand the opportunity itself, the focus of your role as a franchise owner and be prepared with meaningful questions to ask to get the information you’re seeking. You may be inclined to reach out to franchise owners as soon as you begin the franchise discovery process but it’s important to understand the franchise system first.

Completing a validation call is completely optional but we highly encourage anyone considering investing in any franchise to conduct at least one. There is simply no better opportunity to hear firsthand from those who’ve been through the process themselves and can offer valuable insight into what you can expect!

How to get the most out of a validation call

The best approach to getting the most out of your validation call is simple – preparation. Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise education process consists of a series of phases to ensure potential franchise owners have a full understanding of the system as well as the support and training new franchise owners receive.

Do your homework – when you reach the phase for a validation call you’ll be armed with a solid foundation on the industry, award-winning system, 125+ strong corporate support team, and will have reviewed our Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). You’ll be well versed in the Expedia franchise opportunity and ready to validate what you’ve learned with those who have traveled this path before you and can share their learnings.

Dedicate time in advance of the call to compile your list of questions you’d like to address as well as any areas of concern that you may want additional insight and guidance on. It’s also important to allot adequate time for the call itself so you’re not rushed, plan for at least 45-60 minutes for a call.

Franchise ownership is not one size fits all – each owner’s experience is unique and will be influenced by their previous work and life experience, local community, and of course their engagement in following the franchise system. That’s why the value of a healthy discussion is so valuable – what has the franchise owner learned along the way? What would they do differently? What would their advice be to new franchise owners? How has the system evolved since they joined?

Eliminate noise and distractions, it sounds obvious but to really maximize your time on this call you’ll want to call from a quiet place with a reliable phone connection to avoid any unnecessary disruptions. There’s nothing worse than traffic noise or a dropped call in the middle of an informative call like this.

Following validation, you'll be invited to Discovery Day

Attending Discovery Day is the final step in your due diligence.

Franchise ownership is an incredibly rewarding endeavor and one that will challenge you in ways you may not have imagined. It’s important to take in and fully process all of the information you receive during the franchise discovery process and proceed with confidence that you’ve found the opportunity that is in line with your goals and interests. Once you’ve completed validation calls with our franchise owners, the next step is attending Discovery Day at our corporate headquarters in Vancouver, Canada. Read more about the importance of attending Discovery Day and what to expect in this blog post.

Next steps

Are you ready to begin the Expedia CruiseShipCenters discovery process? Submit the form below and receive a copy of our free franchise report. One of our Franchise Development Managers will reach out soon after to arrange a call to discuss any initial questions you may have. You can also learn more right away by reviewing this six-step overview of our retail travel agency franchise opportunity here.

Inspiring our Franchisees to be Top Performers

Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ Franchise Owner Recognition Program

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters we play hard and work hard too. Being a part of the exciting and constantly evolving travel industry means that our franchise owners get to reap the rewards of the industry while working diligently with their Centers to achieve and exceed the goals they have set each year with the support of their dedicated Franchise Performance Coach . We are dedicated to helping each one of our more than 255+ franchise locations accomplish these goals and push beyond them in all facets of their business from the recruitment of Vacation Consultants and in turn their Center sales performance. We believe that all that hard work and dedication deserves to be recognized and have a specific program designed to reward our top performing franchise owners, the Presidents Circle.

The Presidents Circle Recognition Program

Our robust recognition program, consists of four achievement levels beginning with Silver, Gold, Platinum, and the peak, Diamond. Each level encompasses performance thresholds for franchise owners to strive towards each year. All franchise owners who achieve our Diamond level status are invited to attend a complimentary cruise for two hosted by our President, Matthew Eichhorst, along with other Executive Team members as a celebration of their success and achievement.

This year, a record of 31 Expedia CruiseShipCenters locations achieved Diamond level of our President Circle – the highest honor for those who achieve $7.5 Million single location booked sales. This past July, Diamond level franchise owners set sail onboard the luxurious Cunard Line’s, Queen Victoria, and enjoyed a 9-day Baltic Sea cruise visiting history rich ports of call including, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Visby, Hamburg and St. Petersburg. The Diamond cruise is not only a reward for outstanding performance but also an opportunity for franchise owners to network with fellow top achievers and find further inspiration for continued success in the years ahead.

Join Forces with a Top Performing Brand

Being part of a $95 billion global travel company, Expedia franchise owners not only benefit from many travel perks but also the significant support in place helping them accomplish their business goals and our Presidents Circle provides a great opportunity for that dedication to be honored. Each of our franchise owners work closely with their devoted Franchise Performance Coach as their committed business advisor ensuring they’re on track to achieve their goals. Qualifying for any of the four levels of our Presidents Circle is a great accomplishment and we strongly believe our franchise owners success is our success.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters is proud to be a leading retail travel agency franchise in North America and we are constantly striving to be better. At this year’s World’s Leading Cruise Lines Excellence Awards we were honored to receive three prestigious awards, Princess Cruises – Presidents Award, Carnival Cruise Lines – Retail Partner of the Year and Holland America Line – Franchise Agency Network Award. As an industry leader, we’re committed to building strong relationships with our franchise owners, travel industry partners and customers as displayed by these recent awards.

Koreen McNutt – Senior Director, Global Cruise Supply Commercial Strategy and Services

Learn More

Expedia CruiseShipCenters continues to search for new franchise owners across North America. Are you interested in business ownership? If you’re ready to learn more about owning your own Expedia CruiseShipCenters complete the form below to receive our franchise brochure or review the essentials about our travel agency franchise opportunity here.

In the News: Expedia CruiseShipCenters Receives Top Honors at World’s Leading Cruise Line Excellence Awards 2018

The article was published September 2018 in FranchiseHarbor and FranchiseFarm

Koreen McNutt – Senior Director, Global Cruise Supply Commercial Strategy and Services

Bellevue, Wash. – The leading cruise travel agency franchise in North America, Expedia CruiseShipCenters, was the recipient of three prestigious awards at this year’s World’s Leading Cruise Lines Excellence Awards. Carnival Corporation’s three largest North American cruise brands, top cruise retail organizations, as well as travel agencies and agents from across the continent gathered in San Diego for the formal awards ceremony.

Sales and marketing representatives from Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America Line and Princess Cruises were on hand to celebrate excellence in cruise sales in 12 categories on the national and regional levels as well as sectors of the business, such as consortia, franchises and online agencies. Expedia Group was presented with the first-ever Princess Cruises – Presidents Award, and Expedia CruiseShipCenters was presented with the Carnival Cruise Lines – Retail Partner of the Year Award and Holland America Line – Franchise Agency Network Award.

“We are thrilled to have been recognized for these top honors as it is a direct reflection of the hard work of all of us at Expedia CruiseShipCenters and the Global Cruise Team,” said Matthew Eichhorst, president of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. “We see this as a testament to our commitment to maintaining the highest level of respect for our relationships with our partners and customers alike, and look forward to continued long-lasting relationships for years to come.”

Adding to these notable achievements, Expedia CruiseShipCenters also broke into Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual Franchise 500 ranking. With 165 locations in Canada and 90 in the United States, the brand is moving full steam ahead with expansion plans. Riding this wave of success, Expedia CruiseShipCenters plans to open more franchise locations in 2018 with a particular focus on Florida, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Washington and Arizona – to best serve travelers across the country.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters offers cruise vacations and more through its 255 locations across North America. Customers can choose from numerous vacation possibilities over land, sea and air, including customized trips, coach and rail tours, and insurance – all at Expedia prices. Each franchise location offers personal vacation consultations in person, through email or over the phone, so customers have the freedom to book when, where, and how they choose. As part of the Expedia family of brands, customers get to enjoy the best of two worlds: competitive pricing on a wide range of travel products and expert, personalized advice from a real person connected to a locally owned business.

For more details about the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity fill out the form below or take a look at this six step overview of our retail travel agency franchise opportunity here.

Meet some of our Newest Franchise Owners

Join forces with Expedia the most recognized brand in travel

Are you considering a career change? Imagine owning your own Expedia CruiseShipCenters retail travel agency franchise and serving your community as navigators of spectacular vacation experiences! The cruise industry is booming with 27.2 million people expected to set sail in 2018 according to Cruise Lines International Association, we continue to grow our brand and are seeking new franchise owners across North America. You might be surprised to learn that previous travel experience isn’t a requirement for our exciting opportunity – in fact, our franchise owners come from a variety of backgrounds but share the common trait of strong leadership skills and a passion to recruit and train a team.

Last year we welcomed 24 new friendly faces to the Expedia family. Meet a few of our newest franchise owners who have recently opened their doors.

Clay Platt – Chula Vista, CA

Franchise owner, Clay Platt, has always had a love for travel from a young age. Before he married his wife of 25 years he completed his pilot license and enjoyed flying to Baja California for fun, his interest in travelling continued throughout his career as a long-distance driving instructor for semi-trailer truck drivers. When he discovered the Expedia franchise opportunity he knew it would combine his passions of recruiting and training a team and travelling. Clay’s positive attitude and presence in his local community has made his Expedia CruiseShipCenters a great addition to the community in Chula Vista, CA.

Paul Coplan – Glenview, Il

Franchise owner, Paul Coplan, is a long-standing resident of the Northern Chicago area. Before owning his own Expedia franchise, he was the sole proprietor at the Chicago Board of Options Exchange as well as a managing partner of Triangle Trading LLC for 27 years. He was ready for a career change and his experience in mentoring and leading teams made him a perfect fit for the Expedia CruisShipCenters franchise opportunity. Paul and his wife have three children and they love traveling in their spare time.

Brenda and Eric Skogen – Castle Rock, CO

Franchise owners, Brenda and Eric Skogen, opened their Center in December 2017 in Castle Rock, Colorado. Brenda came into the business with some previous travel experience with certification as a Travel Counselor and as a Global Travel Professional and has been in the Corporate Travel Management industry for over 20 years. Eric has more than 15 years of progressive IT education was the IT Director for Briotix – a company specializing in workforce performance solutions. Both Benda and Eric’s shared experience supporting and managing large groups of people has given them the ability to recruit and lead a strong team of Vacation Consultants. When Brenda heard of the Expedia Franchise opportunity she knew it was something she wanted to pursue. In their free time, Brenda and Eric enjoy boating and spending time with their three kids, three dogs, and two chinchillas.

Lisa Maxwell and Al Acorn – Bowmanville, ON

Franchise owners, Lisa and Al, have been married for 11 years and opened their Center in Bowmanville, Ontario in September 2017. Prior to franchise ownership, both Lisa and Al worked at Ontario Power Generation, Lisa for 28 years working her way up the ranks to become the Maintenance Specialist and Al for 33 years as a Senior Advisor. After Lisa’s retirement she became a Vacation Consultant at a nearby Expedia CruiseShipCenters and was inspired to build equity in her own Center. Lisa and Al’s experience training and managing teams has given them a great foundation to opening their own Expedia franchise and recruiting a team of their own Vacation Consultants.

When you join forces with Expedia CruiseShipCenters no previous travel experience is required. We set our franchise owners up for success, providing the tools and training necessary to hit the ground running from day one. We continue to search for passionate leaders across North America who are eager to open their own business and join the most recognized brand in travel.

Learn More

Are you ready to be your own boss? To learn more about the Expedia CruiseShipCenters opportunity, complete the form below and receive our Franchise Information Report, which includes more detail on our proven system and how you can bring our retail travel agency to your community.

You can also learn more by reading the essentials about our retail travel agency franchise opportunity here

Meet the Franchise Services Start-up Team

Dedicated Resources Guiding You Through Opening Your Center

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we take great pride in providing new franchise owners with the tools and guidance to set them up for success. From the moment you sign your Franchise agreement and join the Expedia family our Startup Team of Franchising Managers and Franchise Service members help guide you through the process to launch your Center. The first step is beginning our startup process where our dedicated Franchise Services team will support you through your physical location selection, Center design and construction planning, licensing, and getting set-up with all suppliers to hit the ground running.

Meet Alicia Reilly – Franchise Services Manager

Alicia is an experienced Expedian having worn a variety of hats within Expedia CruiseShipCenters over the past 10 years she knows the business inside and out. Alicia’s background in project management and hospitality has excelled her in the role as Franchise Services Manager. She works closely with each new franchise owner guiding them through every step of the startup process. She works closely with the Franchise Service Coordinator throughout location set-up and compliance with the franchise agreement seeing them through to the milestone of officially opening their doors for business! Get to know Alicia better in this Q&A!

What advice would you give franchise owners?
Trust the system and believe in yourself! This can be an overwhelming endeavor but with our tools and support you will find the process is efficient and focused on getting your doors open as quickly as possible.

What is of your favorite vacation?
While on a multi-generation family trip to Amsterdam (which was also incredible) my husband and I got to leave the kids behind with my in-laws and we took the high-speed train to Paris for a few days. This has been on my bucket list since I was a little girl. A few of the highlights included drinking champagne while sitting on top the Eiffel tower overlooking the city at night, riding bikes along the river discovering the most beautiful parts of Paris and tasting the most amazing macarons along the way… I was in heaven.

Where is your next dream vacation?
Cambodia has been on my list for a long time now and is one of the few places my husband has not been to, he has travelled the world and is usually my tour guide on any vacation we take – it will be a new adventure to visit a country where we are both experiencing it for the first time.

Meet Lyzbeth Aranda – Franchise Services Coordinator

Lyzbeth’s passion for travel and tourism led her to accomplish a Bachelor of Arts in Tourism Business Administration in her hometown, Mexico City. After moving to Canada, she completed a Marketing Management certificate as well as a Business and Hospitality Management certificate. She worked at Air Canada Vacations as a Groups Coordinator and gained a solid background in communication and support. Lyzbeth’s role as Franchise Services Coordinator is managing all technical and supplier set up for all new franchise owners, relocations, and refranchising locations. Her positive attitude, previous work experience and fluency in three languages makes her a strong asset supporting the franchise startup process!

What advice would you give franchise owners?
My advice to new franchise owners is to keep your motivation and excitement level high while building your business, even if takes longer than expected, when you work hard for your dreams, at the end of the process, you will feel great satisfaction once you see the positive results.

What is of your favorite vacation?
I have been very fortunate to have great travel experiences to share, each place has its charm and travelling it has always helped me to discover new Cultures and gastronomy. One of my favorite trips so far was traveling to Europe with my mother, we visited some of the major cities such as London, Brussels, Rome, Florence, Venice and Paris, they have lots culture and architecture to offer and we really enjoyed all the incredible food!

Where is your next dream vacation?
My next dream vacation will be visiting Asia: Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, I haven’t visited Asia before, so I am sure it will be amazing discovering their ancient temples and to visit an elephant and tiger sanctuary; and I would love to go to Ko Phi Phi Island in Thailand.

The start-up process is an important step in the launch of your business as a new franchise owner. At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we are committed to setting you up for success from day one. Alicia and Lyzbeth are dedicated to helping open your doors four to six months after signing your Franchise Agreement.

Learn More

Are you ready to be your own boss and launch your own business? Learn more about the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity and complete the form below to receive our franchise information brochure here.

In the News: Love to Travel? You Might be the Perfect Franchisee at This Company.

With Expedia CruiseShipCenters, you’ll never work a day if you’re passionate about what you do.

The video was published August 2018 on Entrepreneur

Booking travel online can be easy and convenient. We’ve all done it. But when it comes to booking complex travel like a cruise vacation, it often helps to have the special touch of a real-life, human travel agent. The people behind Expedia CruiseShipCenters realize this and have made it the foundation of their retail travel agency franchise business.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owners lead and develop a team of vacation consultants who are dedicated to helping cruisegoers in their community navigate every option—from which ship to choose, to which itinerary is best, to meal times, and more—to find the getaway of their dreams. They not only sell cruises but are a full-service retail travel agency selling air, hotels and vacation packages as well.

And they’re looking for new franchisees—if you love to travel. “It’s really a passion business,” says Jeff Warkentin, a Franchise Development Manager for Expedia CruiseShipCenters. “You get to travel, you get to meet people, you get to talk about travel every day.” In other words, if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters—which is part of the Expedia Group network of travel brands—started franchising in 1987 and has more than 255 retail travel agency locations throughout North America. Initial investment will run a franchisee between about $165,000 and $282,000, including the franchise fee of $39,000 and 18 to 36 months of working capital.

For more details about the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity fill out the form below or take a look at this six step overview of our retail travel agency franchise opportunity here.

In the News: The 4 Techniques That Helped Me Walk the Fine Line of Work and Single Motherhood

Being disciplined with your time is one of the most important skills a momtrepreneur needs to master

The story appeared in the July 2018 edition of Entrepreneur

There’s no such thing as an easy path to entrepreneurship, and being a single mom makes that journey even more difficult. As a franchise business owner and single mother myself, I speak from experience when I say that maintaining a business while raising the ones I love most can be challenging. Yet, despite the challenges, my role as single momtrepreneur is one I wear with pride. When you’re surrounded by the two things that excite you most — your kids and your business — every day is a learning experience. So, if you too are a single mother looking to pursue your dreams as an entrepreneur, here are a few things I did that helped me get to where I am today.

Be transparent with your priorities

Being disciplined with your time is one of the most important skills a momtrepreneur needs to learn. Establishing a natural rhythm in alternating your attention among your children, clients and workforce will help you find your footing on the journey. Entrepreneurship by no means is a 9-to-5 job, but creating a list of priorities and a road map for your day will help you feel less overwhelmed.

It’s also important to recognize your limits. I used to be an overachiever working eight- to 12-hour days for six days a week, and although my business was growing and we were in one of our busiest seasons, I realized that I wasn’t giving the proper amount of attention to my kids. I needed to make a change.

To adjust, I learned to be transparent with my team about my need (and maybe their need too!) to balance time with my family; and I made sure they understood what times they could and couldn’t reach me.

For example, I encourage my team to text and email me any time the need arises, but unless it’s an emergency I may not be able to reply until regular business hours. While it took some time for the team members to adjust, everyone came to understand that life outside of a business is just as important as life inside.

Be crystal clear with your team and lay out some ground rules on when and how you can be reached outside of the office. At the beginning of every week, I bring my team together to identify goals and discuss how we plan to reach them. Creating this outline will help you manage your workload in the office, while also allowing you to plan your day-to-day obligations as a mom.

Don’t suffer alone

Momtrepreneurs need to understand that there are some instances when things are out of our hands. Trying to be perfect at juggling everything around you is the tempting thing to do, but it takes a certain level of bravery to be vulnerable and to ask for help when help is needed. Whether it’s seeking out assistance from the team you’ve built firsthand or seeking out guidance from your family, understand that it’s the recovery that’s more important than the fall. How you bounce back will shape how you charge ahead further down the road.

One great way to find help is to form a network of mothers in your neighborhood. Early on as a parent, I organized a playgroup of more than 30 families, allowing us to get together on a regular basis to socialize and discuss the challenges we faced. Any kind of network, whether a book club or sports group, is a great way to get people together, so find a way to better connect yourself with those around you.

Use online resources, as well. Whether you turn to a site like Meetup.com, which helps you find others with similar interests and hobbies, or an app like 2Houses, which helps keep track of your children’s schedules, or to a meditation tool like Stop Breathe & Think, find — and use — the tools that can assist with your work and personal life.

Team up with your kids

Children are very inquisitive, and one of the duties of a parent is to foster that curiosity. As a momtrepreneur, I’ve realized that one of the best places to nurture my children is right there in my office. They don’t understand every intricacy of my travel business, but showing them around and even letting them “work” is a great way for me to spend time with my kids while getting things done.

Giving my children assignments in the office is more than simple delegation. My kids sometimes sweep up and keep things tidy, put stamps on envelopes or shred papers that I no longer need. I also take them to community events.

Children can be great ambassadors to a brand. I ask them to help with direct marketing at events and to greet potential customers. And all of these activities allow me to harness my children’s curiosity, giving them a leg up on life while also showing them the working world.

Celebrate every victory

I used to think that my life would be defined by a few key moments, but I’m learning every day that it’s the little moments with both my kids and my team that I cherish.

Yes, birthdays, graduations and record sales deserve their own celebrations, but I have begun to appreciate and prefer the small moments of human connection, too. Reading a book to my kids before they fall asleep or helping a family find a cruise destination that’s perfect for them brings me an immense sense of joy and satisfaction. Moments like these are the ones that make my work as a momtrepreneur meaningful, and keep me motivated to continue on this journey.

Running a business while raising a family is definitely a challenge, but it’s one I look forward to taking every day. I know that every day is an opportunity to become a better person, both as a successful entrepreneur and a loving mother.

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