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.

Great Leaders Make Great Franchise Owners

How Our Franchise Owners fill several leadership roles as they set their team and business up for success

As a franchise owner your role will include supporting and leading your team.

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, there’s a key characteristic we actively look for in our franchisees – leadership. While a passion for travel in this business is important, it actually plays a smaller role in the realm of the franchise owner than you might think. As a travel agency Franchise Owner, the customer you’re devoted to serving is your team of Vacation Consultants (who sell travel on behalf of your retail travel agency) and your product is providing them with the tools and support to best serve their clients.

The role of a travel Franchise Owner is multifaceted; it is as dynamic and challenging (in the best ways) as it is rewarding. Here are three different ways you’ll put your leadership skills to work as you’re building a successful travel agency.

Recruiter and Trainer

Franchise Partners support Vacation Consultants with ongoing training and support.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise Partners approach recruitment and onboarding their team of Vacation Consultants as an ongoing commitment and opportunity to continuously grow their team and business. You’ll find your dream team out in your community – they’re typically warm and energetic individuals who love helping others.

When it comes to training your team, we’re here to guide you through our training system designed to help people with little to no travel industry experience learn how to sell custom vacation packages. We help you to recruit and train your team in many ways from a dedicated recruitment website for your location to regular webinars and events to help your team boost their sales. The better equipped and supported your team is, the better the service their clients will receive and the higher the sales potential of your business. After all, we’re only as strong as the team we build and creating an environment for your team of independent consultants to flourish will be the most important contributor to your success.

Mentor and Coach

As part of the Expedia CruiseShipCenters system, you have access to our powerful proprietary software to help remain up-to-date on your location’s and team’s performance. This is a great tool for identifying opportunities for growth within your team as well as keeping your business on track to achieve your franchise goals. Teaching your team how to leverage the tactics of our proprietary sales methodology, The Navigators Approach, will also help them to build strong long-term relationships with their customers with our tools and programs in place. We provide ongoing sales leadership training for Franchise Partners to help you coach your Consultants to sales success. Coaching your travel consultants about our promotions as well as hosting events at your location will help your team excel and offer their clients the best products available along with advice they can trust.

#1 Fan and Cheerleader

As a Franchise Partner, you are your Vacation Consultants’ biggest fan.

You are your Vacation Consultants’ biggest fan! Keeping your team motivated and feeling recognized and appreciated is important for their continued success. Making sales alone shouldn’t mean recognition – the path to being a successful salesperson takes time, on-the-job experience and a desire to improve skills. Everything from a Consultant providing exceptional service to their customers, to making connections with potential customers at events is deserving of recognition. We have a fantastic recognition program called Navigators Club that presents a great opportunity for Franchise Partners to continuously set goals for and applaud their team of both new and experienced Consultants. By recognizing the best practices of your Consultants, you establish a benchmark for your team to strive for and establish your location as the best source for all of your community’s travel needs!

As a Franchise Partner you’ll be dedicated to the ongoing success of your location as you manage the day-to-day operations of your retail business; you’ll also recruit and support your team of independent Vacation Consultants and create an engaging environment. It’s a busy job starting a travel agency that is incredibly rewarding. At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we’re committed to helping our franchisees become exceptional leaders who build a strong team to help to set them up on the path to a successful business.

Learn More

Expedia CruiseShipCenters is a retail travel agency franchise backed by the largest travel brand in the world with more than 230 retail locations open or under development across North America. As the cruise industry grows larger each year, customers are seeking the expert advice of a travel agent who can create customized travel plans and provide personal service.

When you’re starting a travel agency; recruiting, leading and supporting your team will be the foundation of your successful business. If you have the drive and the leadership skills to take on this exciting challenge, we invite you to continue exploring the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity by downloading our Free Franchise Report by completing the form below.

 

Love to Cruise?

Here’s how to start a travel business and make your passion your career.

Franchise Owners on a Cruise

It’s a new year and anything is possible! If you’ve been thinking of taking the leap into business ownership, here are four reasons why investing in a cruise franchise could be your ticket to financial freedom and a great lifestyle in 2017.

1. The Cruise Industry is Booming

Interest in cruising is expected to hit an all-time high this year with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) reporting that an estimated 25.3 million passengers will set sail in 2017. That’s a whopping 60% higher than just 10 years ago! Cruise lines continue to invest billions in future growth as well with 97 new cruise ships scheduled to debut between now and 2026. This presents a huge opportunity for travel agents and agencies who specialize in planning cruise vacations.

2. Travel Agent Usage is on the Rise

The media is certainly talking about this trend, and the American Express Spending & Saving Tracker confirms it: Consumer use of travel agents increased nearly eighty percent from 2015 to 2016. In particular, cruisers are among the highest users of travel professionals with 82% of them saying they tend to book through an agent according to CLIA’s 2017 Cruise Travel Report. With so many decisions to make about ships, staterooms and itineraries – made worse by the overwhelming amount of information available online – it’s no wonder cruisers are increasingly turning to travel agents to help guide the way.

3. Enjoy a Business with a Great Lifestyle

When we surveyed our franchise owners asking why they invested in an Expedia CruiseShipCenters business, they told us having a flexible schedule and lots of opportunities to travel were hugely important to them. Of course they put in a lot of hard work to be successful, but the long term benefits and the fun they had along the way made it all worthwhile.

4. Invest in Yourself

There are countless options for investing your hard-earned money, but few of them provide a return that’s controlled by you. When you own and operate a retail travel agency franchise, your success and the equity you build are directly tied to the effort you put in. Plus, the Expedia CruiseShipCenters model provides an infinite ability to grow and scale, so that when the time comes to sell your business, you’ve built a sizeable and valuable asset.

Are you ready to make a change in 2017?

Learn more about the many benefits of owning a cruise franchise with the #1 brand in travel by completing 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.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Forecasts Wave of Franchise Growth in 2017

Cruise Industry Leader Looks to Build upon Record Setting 2016

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Tustin was one of 33 new locations to open in 2016. Photo credit: Anthony Wang & the Tustin Chamber of Commerce.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Tustin, CA was one of 33 new locations to open in 2016. Photo credit: Anthony Wang & the Tustin Chamber of Commerce.

 

BELLEVUE, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The top cruise travel agency franchise in North America, Expedia CruiseShipCentersannounced a record-setting year after ending 2016 with exciting growth. The brick and mortar travel agency chain achieved over $560 million in gross bookings in 2016, with 18% year-over-year growth in fourth quarter gross bookings. The brand also opened 33 new franchise locations and welcomed 1,300 new Vacation Consultants to their network last year. Looking forward to 2017, Expedia CruiseShipCenters expects another record-setting year with 40 new franchise openings projected.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters experienced several major shifts in 2016 that provided a strong foundation for the brand to deepen and expand its roots. From the brand’s President, Matthew Eichhorst, assuming a new role with the Expedia group as the head of global cruise, to members of the Expedia CruiseShipCenters team receiving recognition at international industry events, like Christine Brown’s Rising Star award, the brand is poised to reach its goal of 500 operating locations over the next five years. At every level of leadership within the organization, members are keeping a finger on the pulse of the rapidly changing and thriving cruise industry.

“As we celebrate our 30th year in business, we’re reflecting on all that we’ve done to bring Expedia CruiseShipCenters to the forefront of the cruise industry, and how we’ve stood behind our commitment to deliver professional expertise and a fantastic service experience to each and every customer,” said Eichhorst. “The outlook on the cruise industry continues to strengthen as technology and new innovative approaches to the decades-old trend inspire generation after generation of travelers. The last year was just as impressive for the industry as it was for our brand.”

In 2016, the brand was honored to receive the following awards from cruise line partners: Celebrity Cruises’ North American Partner of the Year, Royal Caribbean International’s National Partner of the Year, Norwegian’s Franchise Partner of the Year and Carnival Cruises’ Outstanding Cruise Rookie Partner. Rounding out a strong year of accolades, the brand was also featured in Franchise Business Review’s Top 50 Franchises.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ growth is in part driven by the recent resurgence in the cruising industry. As noted in the recent Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) report, cruises are being offered at lower prices leading to an increase in travelers booking vacations; passenger volume on cruise ships is up nine percent from one year ago. The study also estimates 25.3M passengers are expected to cruise in 2017, up from 15.8M just 10 years prior. Additionally, CLIA reports that 26 new ocean, river and specialty ships are scheduled to debut in the coming year resulting in a total investment of more than $6.8B in new vessels.

With the brand’s proven business model – affordable to start and extremely scalable – combined with its focus on providing spectacular customer service and the rapid growth of the cruise industry overall, Expedia CruiseShipCenters is looking to award 40 new franchises in 2017. The leading travel company is seeking franchisees across the United States, with particular focus on Washington, California, Texas, Florida, Georgia and New York which the company has identified as key markets for development. These states, within easy driving distance of cruise departure ports, provide the ideal foundation for a new travel agency franchise.

For more information about franchise opportunities with Expedia CruiseShipCenters continue learning about our travel agency franchise opportunity here.

 

5 Benefits of Starting a Franchise vs. an Independent Business

Why the franchise industry will reach $710 Billion in 2017 and how you can be a part of it with Expedia CruiseShipCenters.

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At the recent annual convention held by the International Franchise Association, attendees across most industries were very optimistic. That’s because franchising as a whole is on the rise. In fact, according to a report by IHS Economics, the overall economic output of the franchise industry is expected to increase 5.3% to $710 billion in 2017.

So why are more and more North Americans turning to franchising as a way to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams and what are the benefits of joining a franchise vs. starting an independent business?

Here are 5 things you can expect when you join a reputable, well-established franchise like Expedia CruiseShipCenters:

1. A recognizable brand, from day one

First and foremost, having an immediately recognizable brand that inspires trust and conveys value to consumers the day you open the doors of your business is a huge advantage for franchisees that join established companies. Building a brand is hard. It takes time, effort and usually a lot of money to make yourself known, not only as a place that sells X, but also as a good place to buy X in your community. When you can skip that step and immediately focus your efforts on building a base of loyal customers, your ramp up phase is that much faster.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise Owner from Orange County, Chris Meyer, describes how important having the Expedia brand has been to building his travel agency franchise:

“I think the Expedia name is huge. It is a household name that has instant credibility and instant familiarity,” Chris says. “And also the instant thought: ‘Oh, they are big — they must have good prices.’ That is a big differentiator. Most of our competitors don’t have a big brand for people to connect with.”

2. The power to negotiate with the big industry players

It’s not rocket science to figure out that 100 stores selling the same product have more buying power than one store selling that product. So unless you’re selling artisanal ketchup that consumers are willing to pay a premium for, you’re going to have a hard time competing on price as an independent business. As part of a large franchise network, however, you get to leverage the industry relationships that your franchisor has already established on your behalf.

In the cruise industry, our negotiating power benefits Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ 230+ franchise locations and their customers in a number of ways. Not only does our massive sales volume for cruises ensure our pricing is always competitive, we can also negotiate top-tier commissions for our franchisees and their agents which ultimately boosts the profitability of our stores. Our Senior Vice President of Franchise & Supplier Performance, Geraldine Ree, explains why this is especially important to for new franchisees in the video below.

Since 75% of all cruises are still sold through travel agents according to Cruise Lines International Association, our cruise line partners rely on us to fill their ships which often allows us to negotiate exclusive extras for our clients, like onboard cash credits, free upgrades, or other amenities, that customers can’t get booking elsewhere – not even online. When our franchisees can offer competitive pricing, exclusive extras and incredible service, there’s no reason for clients to book travel anywhere else.

3. Peace of mind

Starting your own business takes a huge leap of faith. Making that jump into the unknown world of self-employment can be scary, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. One of the benefits of starting a franchise is that you own your own business, but you’re not stepping into completely unknown territory. You get the perks of being your own boss, doing something you love, and controlling your own destiny, but with the comfort of knowing that there’s a proven system behind you. A franchise provides a how-to guide based on years of experience that shows you exactly how to make your business successful.

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we’ve been continuously improving our system and the way we operate our stores since we started in 1987. That’s 30 years of experience that has helped us become the one of North America’s leading sellers of cruise vacations and a top ranked franchise year after year. But we’re not finished yet. We believe we can always be better; for our customers, for our agents, and for our franchisees who depend on us to deliver on our mission: To empower our franchisees with a proven system to grow a profitable and valuable business.

4. A built-in support network

One of the biggest benefits of joining a franchise that often comes as a surprise is the built in support network you get from your fellow franchise owners. Having a group of people to turn to who have been in your shoes is an incredible resource for a franchisee, whether you’re just starting out and want advice on recruiting your dream team, or have been in business for years and are looking for fresh new ideas to reach travelers in your community. When you start an independent business, that support network is either non-existent, or much more difficult to find.

Our culture of Stronger.Together at Expedia CruiseShipCenters is ingrained in our core values and our franchisees take it to heart. They share best practices with one another and support each other in achieving their business goals. Of course there’s a healthy spirit of competition among them, but at the end of the day, each franchisee’s success contributes to the success of our overall brand. We’re all in this together.

5. An asset to sell when the time comes

If you’ve built a successful business, it will be worth something when you decide to sell it. But how much it’s worth and how easily you can sell it may vary greatly between independent and franchised businesses. The fact that your business also comes with all the other franchise benefits we mentioned will make it an even more attractive asset to prospective buyers. They’re not only buying a business, they’re buying an established system and brand that comes with initial training and ongoing support. Another benefit of joining a franchise is that your transition out of the business much easier because the operations manual is already written and the start-up team is already in place to get the new owner of your store up and running.

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, our goal is to not only help our franchisees generate income, but also to help them build long-term equity in their business. All of our support is aimed at increasing their profitability and building value in their business so that when the time comes to sell, they should be getting a solid return on their initial investment. Plus, our dedicated Refranchising team at Expedia CruiseShipCenters is there to guide franchisees through the process of selling their business when the time comes.

Continue Learning About Expedia CruiseShipCenters

The benefits of starting a franchise are numerous and extend far beyond the five we mentioned. But of course, not all franchise opportunities are equal and you should make sure to conduct your due diligence before making a decision. For in-depth details about owning a business with Expedia CruiseShipCenters, download our free franchise report by filling out the form below. You can also learn more by reading the essentials about our retail travel agency franchise opportunity here.

What is the Benefit of Joining an Industry Leading Franchise?

How Our Travel Franchise Owners Are Leveraging Our Strong Cruise Industry Relationships to Build Their Business

Expedia Franchise Owners Onboard Norwegian Epic

Norwegian Cruise Line gave a special welcome to Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise Owners during their annual conference aboard Norwegian Epic.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters had an incredible year in 2016, adding 33 new travel agency franchises and welcoming more than 1,300 new Vacation Consultants to our growing network! All of that translated into more spectacular vacation experiences delivered across North America.

After a record-setting year, we’re thrilled to have been recognized by our preferred cruise line partners with three of their most coveted awards. Royal Caribbean International recently named Expedia CruiseShipCenters as their National Partner of the Year, while Celebrity Cruises awarded us as their North America Partner of the Year, and Norwegian Cruise Line recognized us as their Franchise Partner of the Year. We couldn’t be more honored to be recognized among the top sellers of cruises around the world.

For more than two decades, our sales have grown more than 11% a year on average — three times the rate of the cruise industry overall — and we have become a sought-after partner for cruise lines worldwide. In fact, we are a top-selling travel company with every major cruise line. That creates several advantages for our franchisees.

Here are 4 ways our franchisees benefit from our industry partnerships:


1. Booking Incentives For Your Customers

Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ product team works directly with cruise lines to reserve huge blocks of rooms for cruises headed to popular destinations on desirable dates. That buying power allows us to negotiate for group rates and added perks that we call Expedia® Extras. For example, a customer who books through Expedia CruiseShipCenters may receive a generous onboard cash credit to spend on the ship, a free wine package, or a complimentary stateroom upgrade. Those added perks give our franchisees and their Vacation Consultants a competitive advantage to help them secure more bookings and ensure customers return to them again and again.

“There is so much added value you get from working with a Vacation Consultant,” says Linda Messina, Director of Product and Promotions for Expedia CruiseShipCenters. For instance, “as a cruise fills up, sometimes the room rates will increase. We maintain the lower rates because we put our own cash down to hold the rooms for a while.” That inventory of rooms allows our franchisees to sell vacations at rates that others can no longer match. An independent agency that isn’t tied to a larger sales volume simply can’t compete with the value that Expedia CruiseShipCenters provides.

Expedia Extras and competitive prices are of course in addition to the ultimate perk — getting to work with a knowledgeable travel consultant who can help travelers plan a truly spectacular a vacation experience!

 

2. Top-Tier Commissions For Your Agents

Building a sales team of high performing travel agents is the main role of our franchise owners, so we want to make the opportunity to join your team as a Vacation Consultant as appealing as possible! When we can say that we’ve negotiated some of the highest agent commission rates in the industry because of our sales volume and status in the industry, that helps a lot. Not only do top-tier commissions make the prospect of joining your team more attractive, they also impact your bottom line since of course your earnings are based on your Consultant’s commissions.

Our top franchisees understand that team building is the key to becoming a successful Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owner. The larger and more successful your team is, the more profitable your business will be.

 

3. Subsidized Local Marketing 

Cruise Lines International Association reports that 82% of cruisers tend to book through a travel agent, which means cruise lines need the support of industry leading travel franchises like Expedia CruiseShipCenters to fill the growing number of ships at sea. Since our customers are among the most loyal in the industry, our cruise line partners line up to advertise in our bi-annual customer magazine, Dream Voyages, and in our monthly Vacation Specials flyers that are sent out to targeted cruise customers and prospects on your behalf.Expedia CruiseShipCenters Print Marketing The end result? The cruise lines subsidize much of your marketing expense, allowing you to send our gorgeous print pieces at less than half the cost. They know that every cruise vacation you sell is great news for them, too!

 

4. Dedicated Training & Support

Because we are such a large company and valuable partner for cruise lines, they seek our franchisees out. When a new Expedia CruiseShipCenters comes to town, cruise lines are clamoring to get to know the owner. Local cruise line representatives will gladly come to your franchise location to help educate your Vacation Consultants and customers alike about the newest ships in their fleet and the latest destinations and excursions available. Cruise lines will also often co-sponsor local marketing events with Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchisees — picking up part or all of the cost to host a destination themed cruise night for your clients to get them excited about booking their next trip with you.

Build Your Success On Ours

In addition to our powerful brand, the strong industry partnerships we’ve been building with cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian since 1987 is a huge competitive advantage for Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchisees in their local communities. And the best part? Franchise Owners start reaping the rewards of these partnerships on day one – before they’ve even sold a single cruise. The collective buying power of our more than 230 franchise locations is a key benefit of joining Expedia CruiseShipCenters, and the most recognized brand in travel.

Continue Learning About Expedia CruiseShipCenters

For in-depth details about owning a business with Expedia CruiseShipCenters, download our free franchise report by filling out the form below. You can also learn more by reading the essentials about our retail travel agency franchise opportunity here.

An Incredible Year in Review

Another Record Breaking Year for Expedia CruiseShipCenters

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Expedia CruiseShipCenters opened 34 new retail travel agency locations and added 1,200 Vacation Consultants to its network in 2016.

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we’re continually working towards being the largest retail network across North America. Over the course of 2016 we have been actively expanding our brand throughout North America and providing the best tools and systems to our franchise owners to continue to grow a profitable and valuable travel business. As we enter into our 30th year in business we’re proud to share another year of records and even more excitement on the horizon.

Further Growth Coast to Coast

2016 was a record year for new Center openings for us as we opened 34 new retail travel agency locations and added 1,200 new Vacation Consultants to our ever expanding network! We’re not even close to being finished growing throughout North America as we have major growth plans to open a further 40 locations in the year ahead. In 2017, Expedia CruiseShipCenters will be coming to communities in California, Florida, New York, Texas and Utah to name a few!

We have plans for further growth across North America and have prime territories available in the United States where 75% of the population lives within driving distance of a cruise port. There’s huge potential for franchise ownership in Florida, Texas, California, Washington and New York as these states are home to 60% of North American cruisers.

Another Award Winning Year

The partnerships we continue to build and nurture with our partners is something we take a great deal of pride in and value greatly. Expedia CruiseShipCenters was ranked as a top franchise on Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 list and named as a top franchise opportunity by Franchise Business Review. We’re honored to also be recognized with the following awards from a few of our biggest travel partners:

Celebrity Cruises: North American Partner of the Year

Norwegian Cruise Line: 2016 Franchise Partner of the Year

Carnival Cruises: Outstanding Cruise Rookie Partner

christine_brown

Cruise Sales Manager, Christine Brown, was awarded with Cruise Line International Association’s Rising Star Award.

In addition to our system-wide awards, we were thrilled to see one of our own Cruise Sales Managers in Las Vegas, Christine Brown, be honored by Cruise Lines International Association with the Rising Star Award! This award recognizes Christine’s passion for travel, strong relationships with her clients and her overall impact on the travel agent landscape overall. Congratulations Christine!

Expedia CruiseShipCenters in the News

In addition to an appearance on FOX & Friends and in Entrepreneur Magazine, Expedia CruiseShipCenters was also featured in the American Society of Travel Agents’ news-style documentary, Travel Agents Taking Off! In the film, reporter Jarret Hill highlights the continued rise of the travel agent in the film and interviews President, Matthew Eichhorst along with a visit to the Expedia CruiseShipCenters retail location in Bellevue, Washington.

2017 is the year to Open Your Expedia Franchise

There’s never been a better time to go into business with the most recognized brand in travel as CLIA expects 25.3 million passengers to cruise in 2017! In the year ahead, 26 new ships are scheduled to debut as demand for cruising has steadily increased 62% over the last ten years and as more travelers will be seeking the expert advice available from using a trusted travel agent. Over the past year we’ve seen our passengers increase by 9% with further growth anticipated for 2017.

The Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise system is built upon a proven model designed to support franchise owners achieve their lifestyle, income and business goals. Our franchise model is designed to support individuals with little or no experience in the cruise industry and help them build and grow a successful travel business and achieve their income, lifestyle and business ownership goals. For 30 years, we’ve been dedicated to navigating spectacular vacation experiences from our 225 franchise locations. We look forward to further growing our team in 2017 and becoming the trusted cruise retail network for all travelers across North America.

Continue Learning About Expedia CruiseShipCenters

For in-depth details about owning a business with Expedia CruiseShipCenters, download our free franchise report by filling out the form below. You can also learn more by reading the essentials about our retail travel agency franchise opportunity here.

What Makes a Great Cruise Promotion?

How we help our franchisees generate new leads and sales all year long
cruise-franchise-promotions

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, our promotions are the drumbeat of our organization. Strategically planned and meticulously implemented, the cruise sales we hold over the course of the year provide an essential road map for our franchisees to follow to ensure they are reaching out to the right customers, at the right time, with the right product. Our cruise and marketing experts on your Corporate Support team have carefully planned out every detail of our promotions and leveraged our collective buying power to secure incredible offers for our clients, so that our franchisees don’t have to.

There’s a ton of work that goes into each of the seven promotions we hold throughout the year. Here’s a glimpse into how our franchise owners benefit from our integrated marketing and promotions plan throughout the year.

We Provide a Turn-Key Annual Marketing Plan

Our annual marketing and promotions plan provides a blueprint for our Franchise Partners to follow throughout the year. Through seven strategic core promotions, private sales, and contests strategically Local Franchise Eventtimed over the course of the year, you’ll drive sales for your business and generate fantastic exposure for your Expedia CruiseShipCenters location.

We know that consistency is a significant contributor to business growth and these seven promotions held each year provide a rhythm for you and your team to reach out to your customers with timely, relevant information and a reason to book.

Unbeatable Extras For Your Customers

As one of the leading sellers of cruises in North America, and part of the largest travel brand in the world, our franchisees benefit from massive buying power, especially when it comes to our promotions. The relationships that Expedia CruiseShipCenters has been building with every major cruise line over our 30-year history allows us to negotiate significant advertising funds for our owners and exclusive offers for our clients during each promotion.

we_specials_board_insertThese Expedia® Extras might include an onboard cash credit, a free upgrade or a complementary beverage package available during the promotion window. These extras provide incentive and urgency for customers to book, and in turn provide a huge competitive advantage for our franchise owners in their local market. When your customers know you can provide them with exclusive travel savings and incredible service, they’ll come back to book with you again and again.

Training For You and Your Team

There can be a lot to know about each cruise line and how the promotional offers we’ve secured apply to particular ships or sailings. That’s why we provide a series of emails, webinars and support guides well in advance of each promotion to help both you and your team of Vacation Consultants understand the promotional offers so you can confidently communicate those savings to your customers and maximize bookings.

The monthly team meeting presentation we create on your behalf is an amazing resource during promotions and includes pre-made slides, videos and a script for you to follow. We even hold a team meeting webinar each month to walk you through how to best leverage this month’s resources. All you have to do is get your team in a room and get them excited about the upcoming promotion with your contagious enthusiasm!

An Integrated Marketing Campaign Delivered On Your Behalf

Word Explorer SaleAll of our print, digital and email marketing at Expedia CruiseShipCenters is created by a nearly 20 person marketing team at corporate support. Having them in-house is a huge advantage when it comes to promotions because they all work seamlessly together to convey one promotional message through many marketing mediums at both the national and local levels.

Marketing experts at your Corporate Support team are here to help you with every aspect of executing your local cruise promotion and sales event.

Marketing experts at your Corporate Support team are here to help you with every aspect of executing your local cruise promotion and sales event.

Need an ad for your local newspaper? Our custom design team can create that for you free of charge. Holding a local event for the promotion? Our digital marketing team can create a custom email and Facebook campaign to drive RSVP’s for a small fee.

Each of the seven promotions is also supported with:

• Dedicated email blasts that are customized and delivered to your database

• Promotion banners and landing pages on your local cruiseshipcenters.com website

• Printed flyers delivered to the households you choose, customized with your contact information

• Complimentary Center merchandising kits including posters, specials board inserts, tent cards and more delivered to your store.

All of this is done on your behalf.

Most promotions also have a dedicated video to get customers even more excited about the sale, whether they’re visiting your website, or attending a sales event in your Center. Check out the video below for one of our largest promotions of the year, the World Explorer Sale.

Dedicated Experts to Support You

Our franchise model is intended to take people with little or no experience in the cruise industry and help them build and grow a successful travel business. Over the 30 years we’ve been in business, we’ve learned a few things about how to execute a successful promotion, and we want to pass that knowledge and expertise on to you. We don’t expect you to know everything!

Think of us as your very own full service marketing resource. You can count on us to walk you through any booking scenario or answer any questions about the promotion and offers you may have. Our mission at Expedia CruiseShipCenters is to help our franchise owners succeed, so we’re here for you.

Continue Learning About Expedia CruiseShipCenters

For in-depth details about owning a business with Expedia CruiseShipCenters, download our free franchise report by filling out the form below. You can also learn more by reading the essentials about our franchise opportunity here.

In the News: Expedia CruiseShipCenters Featured in Daily Business Review

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Cruise Travel Agency Betting on Brick and Mortar

This story appeared on www.dailybusinessreview.com

At a time when retailers are shrinking brick and mortar operations, a Canadian cruise franchise is doing the opposite.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters, a full-service travel agency specializing in cruises, has plans to open 10 Florida stores over the next three to five years. At least three of those stores will be located in South Florida, said company president Matthew Eichhorst.

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“Florida is a huge cruise market,” Eichhorst said. The Sunshine State is home to two of the nation’s busiest ports, Port Miami and Port Everglades. In 2014, Florida’s ports handled 62 percent of all passenger embarkations in the U.S., with cruise activity in Miami leading the way, according to the Cruise Lines International Association, an organization that tracks the industry.

Vancouver-based Expedia CruiseShipCenters, a subsidiary of Expedia Inc., aims to double its Florida storefronts. Its target expansion plan includes five locations in the tri-county area, three locations in the greater Orlando area and three in the Tampa Bay area, in addition to an opening in Boca Raton later this year.

The expansion is part of an ambitious goal to have 500 stores in North America over the next five years. There are currently 166 in Canada and 59 in the U.S.
Eichhorst said the Expedia brand helps boost the franchise’s position within the travel agency marketplace.

“We’re generally way ahead in that space just because the smaller travel agency can’t make the same investment on all the tools” and technology the company uses, he said.

The stores are generally 800 to 1,000 square feet in size, while the largest locations may reach up to 2,000 square feet. Each store is operated by about 25 agents.

Travel agent usage hit a six-year high in 2016, with a third of millennial travelers reportedly booking trips through an agent, according to a recent study by MMGY Global. Other studies show that over 70 percent of cruises are actually booked through an agent rather than online—a rosy statistic for cruise travel agencies operating in a dot-com era.

“Having a storefront and customer service is a big advantage when people don’t have time to sift through the internet to plan a vacation, especially if they are looking for something that is tailored to them,” said Jennifer White, who operates a franchise store in Fort Lauderdale.

“I like to think it’s the complexity of the product itself,” Eichhorst said, adding that amenities and destinations differ greatly among the numerous ship offerings. “We strongly believe that Florida’s thriving cruise market combined with passionate franchisees has great potential to bring continued success to our growing brand.”

Click here to read this article on dailybusinessreview.com

 

Saluting Our Veterans

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Offers $5,800 Franchise Discount For Veterans & First Responders

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Expedia CruiseShipCenters is proud to introduce a new program offering Veterans and First Responders a $5,800 discount on our initial franchise fee!

We are seeking people with an entrepreneurial spirit and a love of travel to open Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise locations in their communities. Veterans and first responders are a great fit for our model since they have the skill set that is necessary to run and manage a streamlined and efficient business. Plus, they have the drive to translate our tested system into a successful business. Learn more about how to take advantage of our $5,800 discount here.

Q&A with Larry & Chris Dettmer  |  United States Air Force Veterans

Larry and Chris Dettmer, Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise Owners in Florence, KY, are just one example of Veterans who have been putting our proven model to work for them in their community since they opened their doors in 2014. Here’s what they had to say about their experience so far.

testimonial3What made you decide to buy a franchise?
Chris and I met in the Air Force – I was an Inventory Management Specialist and she was a Security Police Shift Commander. After working nearly 20 years in insurance sales and sales management and with both of our kids raised, we had an opportunity to separate from the corporate world and fulfill our dream owning our own business. We felt it was the perfect time to take a chance on something that would allow us to control our future.

Why did you choose an Expedia franchise?
When Chris and I decided to start our own business it didn’t take long to decide on Expedia CruiseShipCenters. We both have a deep passion for travel and were familiar with booking our trips through Expedia. So the opportunity to start a business with the most recognized name in travel was very appealing. Visiting the corporate offices in Vancouver convinced us that Expedia CruiseShipCenters was the company for us. Their proven business model combined with the corporate and field support have given us the tools we need to build a successful business. We’ve been open for almost 2 years and our commitment to executing the business plan has resulted in our Center hitting the expected growth benchmarks. The future is bright and we are very excited to part of the Expedia CruiseShipCenters brand.

How has your military training helped with running your business?
To serve and protect our country was a tremendous honor. The military taught us discipline and commitment for the purpose of making a difference. Being a successful Franchise Partner with Expedia CruiseShipCenters requires the same skill set and passion for making a difference for travelers in our local community.

What advice do you have for military vets and first responders who might be considering a franchise?
Expedia CruiseShipCenters offers an exciting opportunity for anyone with service experience. Just like the military, Expedia CruiseShipCenters relies on effective planning and precision execution. As an Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise Partner, you will be given all the tools and support to successfully grow your business and your sales team.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
We are both really excited about the future. By the end of our 5th year, it is our goal to have a team of 40+ Vacation Consultants with annual sales exceeding the suggested benchmarks. We also want to eventually have full time Office Manager, which will allow us more time for personal travel.

Are you a Veteran or First Responder?

If you or someone you know is interested in pursuing your entrepreneurial dreams by applying your strong leadership, dedication and service in a travel agency franchise, Expedia CruiseShipCenters could be a great fit. Working as your own boss, you’ll serve travelers in your local community by navigating spectacular vacation experiences every day. Plus, you’ll save $5,800 on our initial franchise fee!

Learn more about Expedia CruiseShipCenters

For in-depth details about Expedia CruiseShipCenters, download our free franchise report by filling out the form below. You can also learn more by reading the essentials about our franchise opportunity here.