The Importance of Attending Discovery Day

Completing your due diligence includes attending Discovery Day

With a multitude of franchise opportunities available today, finding the right franchise fit has never been more important. One of the final steps in any franchise education process is attending Discovery Day to get a glimpse into the corporate values and culture you’re considering joining forces with. We call our franchisees, Franchise Partners, because we believe that franchise ownership is truly a partnership. When attending Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ Discovery Day, we emphasize that this is the opportunity to confirm that we’re the right match for each other as we continue to grow our franchise throughout North America.

What is Discovery Day?

Attend Discovery Day as part of our Franchise Discovery Process.

After spending weeks having regular calls with one of our Franchise Development Managers and making your way through our seven-step franchise education process you’ll have a strong understanding of the Expedia franchise opportunity. At this point, if both parties feel Expedia CruiseShipCenters may be the perfect fit for you, we’ll invite you to join us in beautiful Vancouver, Canada to spend the day with us at Discovery Day. It’s the last step in the process and arguably the most important stage before making the decision to proceed with owning and operating your own Expedia CruiseShipCenters location. Attending Discovery Day is the culmination of your education on the Expedia franchise opportunity and it marks the final step in your due diligence. By the end of the day you’ll
have a complete understanding of our franchise
opportunity and whether it’s the right match
for your business ownership goals.

Why Attend Discovery Day?

While in Vancouver you’ll meet our dedicated 125+ member corporate support team who are committed to providing the best tools and systems for our Franchise Partners to lead and develop their team of Vacation Consultants with so that they can best serve their customers. We strive for Discovery Day to be an interactive day and encourage you to ask those burning questions throughout the day to ensure that we’ve filled any gaps in your due diligence so that you have all the information needed to make an informed decision. During the day we’ll also have an opportunity to learn more about your background and also learn more about what motivates you in your quest to build a profitable and valuable business.

What to Expect When Attending Discovery Day

Attending Discovery Day is an important step in your due diligence.

When you join us for Discovery Day, we’ll spend a full day together with presentations from our President, Matthew Eichhorst, members of our Leadership Team as well as Subject Matter Experts. This informative day is designed to be interactive and affirm everything you’ve learned so far and allow us to dive deeper into our proven system. Another important element of Discovery Day is meeting with you in the form of a break out meeting and discussing your interest in Expedia CruiseShipCenters in greater detail along with your aspirations as a Franchise Partner. At the end of the day, we like to end our time together with an in-house social with members from the corporate team and fellow attendees for a complete introduction to our Stronger.Together® culture at Expedia CruiseShipCenters.

How to Prepare for Discovery Day

1. Complete your research – Completing all six steps in our education process prior to attending Discovery Day will ensure you have a strong foundation and understanding of the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity.

2. Make a trip out of it – With our head office based in Vancouver, Canada, it’s a great excuse to extend your stay following Discovery Day and enjoy all the incredible sights our world-class city has to offer. Perhaps a cruise is in your future?

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Corporate Office is located in beautiful Vancouver, Canada

3. Ask the question – We encourage attendees to ask questions throughout the day (even the tough ones!). Discovery Day is the perfect opportunity to ask the expert in person and get the answers you need to make you confident in your final decision.

Learn More

Choosing the right franchise is all about fit and meeting the team in person that you’ll be joining forces with as a Franchise owner is hugely important. Each month, our team looks forward to meeting potential franchisees at our Discovery Day and putting a face to your name and voice. At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we’re committed to helping our franchise owners achieve their goals as successful business owners and strong leaders serving their community by navigating spectacular vacation experiences.

If you’re ready to begin the Expedia CruiseShipCenters discovery process and attend Discovery Day in the coming months, download our free franchise report. You can also learn more through this six step overview of our retail travel agency franchise opportunity here.

In the News: Expedia CruiseShipCenters Announces Expansion Plans for Texas

Leading Travel Franchise Seeks to have 23 Texas Locations Open by 2023

Expedia CruiseShipCenters plans to have 23 Locations open in Texas by 2023

TEXAS – PRNewswire, the top cruise retail travel agency franchise in North America, has announced targeted expansion plans to bring additional travel franchise locations to Texas. Joining four locations already open, and an additional seven under development, the leading travel franchise brand plans to have a total of 23 locations open and operating in Texas over the next three to five years.

Folded into an overall growth vision for the brand, the new Texas development efforts are key to Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ goal to reach its 500-location milestone in North America over the next five years. In addition to the four locations already in operation throughout Texas, Expedia CruiseShipCenters has seven locations currently in development in Dallas, McKinney, Houston, San Antonio and Waco, which are all projected to open over the next three to nine months.

“The strength and rapid growth of our brand is influenced by the increased popularity of the cruise industry which has continued to rise over the last decade,” said Bob Tipple, Senior Director of Franchising. “As the third largest state for cruise embarkations, Texas provides enormous potential for cruise vacation sales and is the perfect market for Expedia CruiseShipsCenters to continue its growth.”

According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), over one million cruisers originated from the Lone Star State in 2016 accounting for nearly 10 percent of all North American cruise passengers. As driving distance to port is a key decision-making factor for cruisers, Expedia CruiseShipCenters has identified the state of Texas as a prime market for its retail travel franchise opportunity due to its significant source of cruisers and cruise port in Galveston.

“Texas is the second most populated state in America—and with over 28 million residents residing there, we have room to add over 100 new Centers,” said Tipple. “Our current franchise development plan hones in on the next three years as we look to add 12 more Centers in the greater Dallas-Fort Worth area, as well as in several other growth markets.”

Additional target markets for Expedia CruiseShipsCenters’ franchise development in Texas includes the greater Houston area, San Antonio, Austin, El Paso, Corpus Christi, and several markets in between.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ growth is in part driven by the continued expansion of the cruising industry. As noted in the recent CLIA report, cruise travel is expected to rise in 2018, boosting the global economy. An estimated 27.2M passengers are expected to cruise (demand has increased 20.5 percent in last five years). Additionally, 27 new ocean, river and specialty ships are scheduled to debut. After years of stagnant performance, the cruise industry is coming back with a vengeance, contributing more than $126B in total output worldwide.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters provides exceptional value and expert advice for travelers booking cruises and vacations through its network of over 250 retail travel agency franchises. As part of the Expedia group family of brands, the company’s more than 5,000 Vacation Consultants sell a wide range of vacation products including cruises, flights, hotels, vacation packages, tours, excursions and more. The company has been navigating spectacular vacation experiences for customers across North America for 30 years.

With plans to open 23 Texas locations in the next 5 years, Expedia CrusieShipCenters continues to provide business opportunities for driven team leaders who want to build income, equity and a great lifestyle with a retail business they are passionate about.

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

Reliable Support along your Franchise Ownership Journey

 How we provide exceptional support for our #1 customer

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters our programs and support systems are designed to ensure that our #1 customer, our Franchise Partners, can focus on their #1 priority, growing and developing their team of Vacation Consultants serving their community with spectacular vacation experiences.

We are dedicated to providing the best tools, proven systems and top tier support for our Franchise Partners and help them achieve their business ownership goals. When you join forces with Expedia CruiseShipCenters you’ll complete our intensive Franchise Partner onboarding prior to opening your Center but the support doesn’t end there. One of the many ways we provide ongoing support to our Franchise Partners after completing their intensive onboarding is access to our dedicated Technical Support team available to help guide owners through any and all kinds of questions. Here’s a glimpse into the incredible team ready to support you as an Expedia franchise owner.

Accessible Support When You Need it

One of the many benefits of franchise ownership is knowing that you have support when you need it. Imagine having an entire team to call on when you need help navigating anything from a simple question on the day to day operation of your Center to where to find one of the great tools available to set your team of Vacation Consultants up for success.

Our more than 250 Expedia CruiseShipCenters locations are in communities across North America and our Technical Support team is available all hours of the business day. Accessibility is key and that’s why our Technical Support team can be reached in whichever format is best for you whether it be via web form, email or live chat – we’re here to help. They’re prompt to respond back with the average wait time being just 30 minutes. Our Technical Support team will direct you with the appropriate resource or tools and when necessary connect you with the Program Manager who can assist with providing additional support when needed.

The Best of the Best

Thank you for the feedback! – Expedia CruiseShipCenters Technical Support team

Our Franchise Partner satisfaction is top of mind and our dedicated Technical Support team strives to continuously provide prompt and exceptional service. Our team is committed to responding quickly and efficiently, when it comes to resolving more than 100 different inquiries on average each day. To keep our finger on the pulse, a Customer Satisfaction Survey is deployed following each inquiry to receive feedback on the recent support experience to provide us insight into our Franchise Partner’s needs. Our Technical Support team are not only great communicators and pleasant to interact with, they also consistently provide solutions for our Franchise Partners and Vacation Consultants with an impressive 99% satisfaction rating! This dedicated team continues to serve Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise Partners and Consultants and aim to achieve a 100% satisfaction rating.

Feedback from our #1 Customer

We’re always looking for opportunities to improve our processes and support our Franchise Partners smarter and better. Don’t just take our word for it! Read  some of the feedback we’ve received from Franchise Partners and Vacation Consultants regarding their first-hand experience working with our fantastic Technical Support team.

“Excellent support – completely understood what I needed and provided clear explanation – very quick service, friendly and knowledgeable – could not have been better – thank you!!!!”

“Excellent service, very familiar with the answers that are needed. Pleasure to work with.”

“I’m always thankful that the Technical Support team never says “you know, you could read how to do that yourself. Here’s the link” they just answer my questions like it’s the first time it’s been asked!”

“Phoned quickly and clearly answered to my satisfaction. When asked an additional question put on hold and got the answer.”

“It was great and really loved the follow up to make sure things were working properly.”

“I love working with this team.”

Additional Support Resources for our Franchise Partners

Embarking on a new chapter as a first-time business owner can be overwhelming, that’s why joining a proven system like Expedia CruiseShipCenters with a dedicated team in place to support you every step of the way means that you can go into business for yourself and not by yourself! In addition to our Technical Support team, we have a wealth of resources and articles accessible through our industry-leading technology, CruiseDesk®, where Franchise Partners can review materials from their initial onboarding if they ever need a refresher. In the event step by step assistance is needed, our Technical Support team and 125+ corporate team is ready to help with any aspect of your business.

Ready to Learn More?

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

In the News: Expedia CruiseShipCenters Rides Innovation Wave, Projects Significant 2018 Growth in Franchises

This story appeared in the February 2018 edition of PRNewswire.

BELLEVUE, Wash., Feb. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The top cruise travel agency franchise in North America, Expedia CruiseShipCenters, announced today a milestone-heavy year for the growing brand. The brick and mortar travel agency achieved 20 percent year-over-year growth, opened 25 new franchise locations and welcomed a record-breaking 1,773 new Vacation Consultants to its network. Looking forward to 2018, the brand expects another high performing year with 35 new franchise openings projected.

Adding to the several notable growth achievements over the past year, Expedia CruiseShipCenters broke into Entrepreneur Magazine’s annual Franchise 500 ranking. The prestigious ranking is a testament to the brand’s ability to grow its footprint across North America while continuing to provide unparalleled franchisee support and customer service. Riding this wave of success, the leading travel company has announced plans to develop new and established markets across the United States in 2018, with particular focus on Florida, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Washington and Arizona.

“2017 was a terrific year, and it has provided us with insight on what we’ll be capable of achieving in 2018,” said Matthew Eichhorst, President of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. “As the industry continues to thrive, with fleets expanding and new lines being introduced to the waters, we’re eager to play an integral part of this booming business while continuing to welcome new Franchise Partners and Vacation Consultants to our expanding network.”

Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ growth is in part driven by the continued expansion of the cruising industry. As noted in the recent Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) report, cruise travel is expected to rise in 2018, boosting the global economy. An estimated 27.2M passengers are expected to cruise (demand has increased 20.5 percent in last five years). Additionally, 27 new ocean, river and specialty ships are scheduled to debut. After years of stagnant performance, the cruise industry is coming back with a vengeance, contributing more than $126B in total output worldwide.

In addition to stimulating growth of the brand’s internal assets and franchise development, Expedia CruiseShipCenters was recognized by several industry leaders, receiving the President’s Award for Overall Achievement from Royal Caribbean International, Chairman’s Award from Carnival Cruise Line, 2017 Canadian Retail Partner of the Year from MSC Cruises, Travel Agency Partner West (awarded to Expedia CruiseShipCenters Port Coquitlam) and Travel Agency Partner Quebec (awarded to Expedia CruiseShipCenters Quebec) from Norwegian Cruise Lines and the Canada Region Strategic Market Account of the Year from Celebrity Cruises (Awarded to Expedia CruiseShipCenters Oakville South). Each honor provided further example of how Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ franchisees set the industry standard in quality and service, pushing the brand forward as a top competitor in the travel agency space.

Click here to read this article on


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.

Travel Franchise Review: Q&A with Reid and Christy Trego of Expedia CruiseShipCenters

Franchise owners Christy and Reid at their Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Roswell, GA.

Partners in life and business, Reid and Christy Trego share their experience in their first year of owning their Center, and how they feel like they couldn’t have done it without their team, or each other.

Here’s Reid and Christy’s story:

What were you doing before becoming Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise partners?

Reid: We both worked for corporate America when we were newly married. We then owned a franchise tutoring business for 11 years. After we sold the tutoring business, we spent some time relaxing, and it gave us a lot of opportunities to travel and have fun. We started looking for something that we could do together, and that’s how we stumbled into the Expedia CruiseShipCenters opportunity.

Having previously owned a franchise, why did you decide that a travel franchise was best for you both?

Christy: The flexibility of being a business owner allowed us to travel more as a family. When we began thinking about our next chapter, and what kind of business we wanted, we liked the idea of owning a business in an industry that we love. We believe that travelling with friends and family is what bonds people together, and to have a business in that vein was really appealing to both of us.

Trego Family Vacation in St.Maarten

How has working together as partners served you as you navigate this new industry together? What is your working dynamic like?

Christy: Overall, we have a very good personal and working relationship. We have defined roles that play to our individual strengths. Reid likes to say that I am a “rows and columns” kind of person, and he’s more “squiggly lines”. Reid is in charge of advertising, marketing, and building relationships with suppliers. He’s great at that! Where I’m more interested in managing our customer’s bookings, and understanding all of the ins and outs of the different cruise lines so that I can spend time training our consultants.

We are fortunate enough to be life partners as well as business partners living happily together.

What has your experience been like recruiting and leading a team of Vacation Consultants?

Reid: We have high quality people on our team, and I really enjoy working with them. It’s fun to see our consultants come in and dive right into the work. It’s much easier to steer them in the right direction as long as they’re moving forward. We discuss what their individual goals are and we work together to help them achieve them and in turn we achieve our Center goals as a team.

How would you describe the culture at your Center?

Reid: We knew that having a really positive and fun environment was critical to both of us when creating our team. We try really hard to create a personal relationship with each person, so each of them feel like they have a unique relationship with us. It keeps our consultants loyal, encouraged, and vested in the success of the Center.

Christy: We talk about being part of the “ECSC Roswell Rock Star Team” and how important it is to be supportive of one another all the time. We emphasize how important it is to take care of each customer when greeting them at the door or on the phone – even if they’re someone else’s client. Everyone is willing to pitch in. We have a good balance of motivation and cooperation in our Center.

Franchise owners, Reid and Christy Celebrating $1M in sales with their team.

Why is your community ideal for an Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise?

Christy: Roswell, GA is a pretty affluent area. There are a number of neighborhoods around us that have the means and time to travel. It’s also nice that we can drive to a lot of ports. It’s an easy drive for a family who wants to go somewhere exotic without having to book plane tickets.

Reid: Our location is nice because we have a mix of mature and young families in the community. We also used our contacts from our previous business, and community activities, who refer their friends to us. Plus, we coach our travel consultants, to build their book of business by leveraging their own personal and social networks.

You’ve mentioned walk-ins and referrals, but how else do you find your customers?

Reid: We host several events a year in our area and we advertise upcoming promotions in local newspapers and magazines. Having a promotional calendar that is created for us by the corporate team is critical. Those promotions make it easier to talk to prospective customers. You’re not just calling and asking out of the blue to see if they want to book a vacation, but you can use an upcoming promotion as a lead-in to the conversation.

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

Christy: At least in our area, there isn’t any other travel agency option that combines a retail location and big brand recognition like Expedia. As much as people like to use the Internet to do their research and read reviews, it’s rare that a person will look at a $2000-$4000 price tag online and simply click “buy now”. That’s a scary thing to do.  Having a local retail business, and a trusted travel professional nearby is comforting to our customers.

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

Reid: Our experience with the corporate office has exceeded our expectations.  They are incredibly encouraging and responsive to our questions and concerns.  We came into this venture with a solid business background, but we had no travel industry experience, and in under two years, Christy has become a true travel professional and we’ve got a team of professionals who can offer advice that our clients can trust.

Christy: Just as we view our consultants as our clients, I feel that corporate views their Franchise Partners as their clients. When I have an issue or a problem, they are very responsive, helpful, and nice.

What aspects of this business do you enjoy the most?

Christy: I love when I have a client who is excited about a trip, and I can help bring their dream vacation to life. It’s really fun to partner with them and build an amazing vacation experience.

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

Reid: We’re still new but I want to exceed benchmarks year after year. The future looks great for us and I hope we’ll generate enough sales activity where we can hire an office manager. The Expedia CruiseShipCenters will be a household name in Atlanta and the top place to speak with rock star travel consultants in the city.

Christy: Over the next couple of years, I want to continue to develop skills and capabilities of our team members.  I’ve spent the first couple years learning the industry for myself, so I want to get to the point where I can fully dedicate myself to training and supporting our consultants so that each of them is the best travel resource to their own clients and prospects.

What do you love about cruising? Any memorable trips you have taken?

Christy: I think it’s a great way to see a lot of places with minimal effort. Plus, cruising is a great way to travel with a group of friends or family. When you have a large multi-generational family, everyone has different interests but each person can still have their own version of a fun vacation, and still experience it together. My favorite so far was last spring break when we cruised the western Caribbean with our family.

Reid: I love cruising for the same reasons Christy does, but I’m really excited to experience different ships. My favorite trip was one we took to Italy with our kids. It was great trip and we made so many memories with the family.

The Trego family enjoying the Silent Disco on their cruise vacation!

Learn More

For in-depth details about the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity, 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.

Learning and Mastering Our Proven System

 Our training and onboarding for new Franchise Partners is robust

CMA Attendees

CMA attendees from Orange Beach, AL; Chilliwack, BC; Kingston, ON; Santa Clarita, CA.

When you join forces with Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we set you up for success to hit the ground running before you’ve even opened your doors for business. Continue reading to learn more about what you can expect along the way.

Going into business for yourself can be overwhelming but a huge benefit of joining forces with a proven franchise system like Expedia CruiseShipCenters is that the guess work is eliminated for you! We’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure you’re confident in operating every aspect of your own Center. The capstone of your New Franchise Partner training and onboarding is attending Cruise Management Academy (CMA) before opening your doors. This multi-day training is held at our corporate headquarters in beautiful Vancouver, Canada. CMA is designed to teach and train Franchise Partners, through a hands-on training experience providing the steps and guides needed for success. At Cruise Management Academy you’ll take a deep dive into successfully operating the Expedia CruiseShipCenters system but before attending CMA we’ll build your foundation together.

Your Path to Opening

To begin your path to opening you’ll be introduced to key members of our Franchise Start Up and Onboarding teams after signing your franchise agreement. They’ll guide you through everything, from finding and building out the perfect location in your community to teaching you how to run your business using our industry leading technology, CruiseDesk. We empower our Franchise Partners with the tools and resources to successfully recruit, coach and motivate a large team of Vacation Consultants. Our 125+ person corporate team is here to support you and you can call us at any time.

Cruise Management Academy in a nutshell

About a month before you open your doors for business you’ll attend our week-long intensive training, CMA, with fellow Franchise Partners close to opening. Over the course of the week, you’ll be introduced to key members of our corporate team. Each member and their team will support you throughout your journey as an Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owner. CMA is a classroom setting encouraging collaboration amongst fellow franchisees and a space to master your training. The week will consist of informative presentations, engaging workshops and role playing. By the end of the week you’ll be confident in all areas of operating your own Expedia CruiseShipCenters and how you’ll utilize the tools and technology exclusively available to our Franchise Partners.

CMA attendees from Lakeland, GA; Saint John, NB; Courtice, ON.

We’ll cover a lot of territory and topics at CMA. An area of focus is recruitment, our experts will guide you through the process of hosting recruitment events and training and tips for managing your team of Vacation Consultants. We’ll supply tools such as training presentations and promotion education sessions that you can conduct with your team. You’ll use these seminars are to grow your Vacation Consultants’ knowledge, keep them engaged, and motivate them to continue generating more sales for themselves and in turn your Center overall.

You can expect a robust and engaging agenda everyday while attending CMA. By the end of the week you’ll be an expert in planning for your business, all types of travel products, how to best leverage public relations and effective ways to lead your team. All the tools and resources that you’ll use to grow a valuable and profitable business will be covered.

Counting Down to your Center Opening

The training doesn’t end when you leave our corporate office. Your Onboarding Manager will still support you to insure you and your Center is set up for opening day and all of your training is complete. When you are near your official opening you’ll be assigned an Franchise Performance Coach (FPC). Your FPC will be a dedicated coach delivering individualized and enhanced coaching specific to you and your Center on an ongoing basis. The role of your FPC is to serve as your business advisor providing insights into your Center performance through regular phone call check ins and in-Center visits.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Grand Opening in Bellevue, WA

We’re dedicated to providing in depth training and onboarding to help you build a successful business applying our proven system. CMA is an opportunity for you to build relationships with our subject matter experts and connect with your fellow Franchise Partners at the same stage in the opening journey. Many Franchise Partners remain in regular contact after attending CMA together. It’s another positive take away from the week, having someone else in your position who you can exchange experiences and best practices with.

Learn more about Expedia CruiseShipCenters

This is a just a glimpse into the extensive support we provide our Franchise Partners as they navigate the path to opening. If you’re ready to learn more about the Expedia Franchise Opportunity, complete the form below to receive of free franchise report and one of our Franchise Advisors will reach out shortly! You can also learn more by reading the essentials about our retail travel agency franchise opportunity here.

In the News: Interview with Matthew Eichhorst, President at Expedia CruiseShipCenters

Matthew Eichhorst, speaks candidly about his role overseeing one of the largest retail travel agency franchises, and the business advice he would give to a younger version of himself

This story appeared in the January 2018 edition of USA Weekly.

Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.

Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.

What does your company do?
Expedia CruiseShipCenters is a retail travel agency franchise with over 30 years of success specializing in cruise vacations. Our more than 240 independently owned locations across North America and our network of over 5,300 sellers of travel serve their local communities by navigating spectacular vacation experiences. Although we are the experts in cruise, we are a full-service agency that sells all travel-related products associated with a cruise or standalone non-cruise vacations. As a Franchisor, we provide a proven, turn key system to execute industry leading marketing on a common technology platform backed by our parent company, Expedia Inc. We’re recognized as a top-ranked franchise each year as a result of our continued success and the support we provide to our franchise owners.

What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I am the Global Leader for the cruise line of business for all Expedia companies, and the President of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. In my role, I provide day-to-day and long-term strategy to grow our overall business and the success of our individual franchisees. I love being an integral part of this fast-paced and exciting industry for a few reasons. Being in the cruise business, it’s incredibly rewarding being able to bring Expedia CruiseShipCenters to new communities and inspiring others to explore our world. And, with the cruise industry constantly growing and evolving, I’m presented with lots of opportunities to think creatively, act innovatively, and to grow and evolve myself.

What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
The current challenge is really focusing on the vast opportunities that lie ahead for the cruise industry in the next several years. With over 94 ships on order, the market is growing at an unprecedented rate and we truly are entering the Golden Age of Cruising. Our goal is to grow three times faster than the industry, and given how much the industry is accelerating, this could be a true challenge. We aim to do this by investing in our technology, digital marketing, and the operational efficiency of our distribution channel.

If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
If I could go back in time and give my younger self a piece of business advice, it would have been to be more open to taking risks. Although being very calculated with our decisions, there were many indicators that showed the cruise business was going to accelerate and become more mainstream. Taking risks allows for various learning opportunities and personal growth and development. The lessons one learns from taking risks helps them evolve into a leadership position.

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.

3 Reasons to Become Your Own Boss in 2018

With a passion for travel, business savvy and a proven model, travel agency franchise owners are finding success in entrepreneurship

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Travel Franchise Owner

In 2017 Expedia CruiseShipCenters awarded 25 new retail travel agency franchises awarded across North America.

The decision to leave a full-time career for a new life as an entrepreneurial business owner doesn’t have to be a scary one. The benefit of joining a proven franchise system is that the blueprint for success has been established for you based on the years of experience brought by franchise owners before you.

That’s why Expedia CruiseShipCenters travel franchise owners come from a wide range of backgrounds: from former executives in high-profile ad agencies, to former upper-level managers in the energy industry, to former newspaper editors. What unites our travel franchise owners is their love of travel, their desire to lead a team, and their ability to leverage our proven business model to connect with cruisers in their communities.

Here are three reasons why 2018 is a great year to fulfill your dream of being your own boss in the booming cruise industry:

Turn Your Passion into Profit

Whether you love trying new cuisines, working with animals, or exploring the world, starting your own business gives you the chance to pursue your passion while building a career you love. Franchising provides endless industries and opportunities to choose from so you can find the perfect fit for you and build a business doing something you’ll enjoy every

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, our travel franchise owners are passionate travelers, but more importantly, they are passionate about sharing in the vacation experiences of travelers in their local community. Each of our travel agency franchises is not simply a store selling travel, they are navigators of spectacular vacation experiences! From the time a customer begins their research, to the time they return home from their trip, our travel franchises are the one-stop-shop for expert vacation advice, personalized service and Expedia value.

That means our travel franchise owners are also passionate about providing exceptional customer service.

“The value we add is in being thoughtful,” Mary Beth says. “We have to know what this vacation will bring to them and their families. There’s a lot of patience and hand-holding from our side. Our customers can, and do, ask us anything. Then when our customers get off the ship, we do a follow-up: Did we meet their expectations? Where are they going to go next?”

This passion and dedication is why the majority of cruisers still want to consult with a real person before purchasing their vacations. In fact, Cruise Lines International Association reports that 82% of cruisers tend to book their vacations through a travel agent, and that number is likely to rise as the options for cruise vacations continue to expand.

Take on a New Challenge

Building a thriving business from nothing can be incredibly challenging. It’s also incredibly rewarding when you succeed. Nothing is more exhilarating than overcoming your fears and fulfilling a life-long dream. Many people who turn to franchising come from corporate backgrounds or vastly different industries because they want to experience the challenge and satisfaction that comes with building their own business from the ground up.

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we don’t have any trouble finding people who love to travel. The biggest challenge our travel franchise owners face is their daily task of recruiting, coaching and motivating a large team of Vacation Consultants. Many of our franchisees have no experience managing a sales team, but with the training and coaching tools we provide, they can become exceptional team leaders if they love to work with people. Our most successful franchise owners approach this challenge head on and make team leadership their top priority every day. They know that the larger and more successful their Consultants are, the more successful and profitable their franchise will be.

Chris Meyer, who owns an Expedia CruiseShipCenters location in Orange County, California, sums up our customer service hierarchy nicely:

“The corporate team’s mantra is that the franchisees are their customers. My mantra is that the Vacation Consultants are my customers, and the travelers are the Vacation Consultants’ customers,” he says. “I’m focused on helping others succeed, which helps me. Expedia CruiseShipCenters has the same attitude. They provide systems and support that give me the ability to be more successful.”

Control Your Own Destiny

Perhaps the most enticing aspect of entrepreneurial freedom is the ability to control your future success. The more effort you put into your business, the more you’ll get out of it. Unlike a corporate job where your next raise depends on someone else, being your own boss means you get to control your own destiny. Of course there are pros and cons that come with that kind of uncertainty, but in most cases of franchise ownership there’s a direct correlation between how hard you work, your ability to follow a system, and the rewards you’ll reap.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters travel franchise owners love what they do and their hard work is a huge part of why our company has enjoyed an average sales growth of 11% annually for more than two decades. Plus, our travel franchise model is built for scalability, which also allows our franchisees to continuously build their business over the course of many years.

Expedia-franchiseWe set our franchisees up with a system that’s designed for continuous growth over time. At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, there is no limit to how large you can grow your sales team of Vacation Consultants who sell travel on your behalf, which means the growth potential of a single franchise location is substantial. If you want to take your business to the next level, you increase the size of your team and continue training, motivating, and coaching them to set and exceed their own personal sales goals.

Opening multiple locations is another way to continue building equity in your travel franchise.

“My goal has always been to have 5 centers.,” Franchise Partner Tracey Codd says. “I love this industry and I would love to find key personnel who are as passionate about this business as I am. I would love to place them at 4 of my Centers where they can love it like it’s their own and let it be their own. Then I can work with them and develop them into leaders. The Expedia CruiseShipCenters system allows you to easily manage multiple locations remotely, so spreading our passion throughout multiple locations is fun!”

Ready to Be Your Own Boss?

There has never been a better time to start a business in the cruise industry. In 2017, Cruise Lines International Association estimates that 25.8 million people took a cruise — and they project that number will rise to 27.2 million in 2018.

As the industry races to keep up with the rapidly growing demand for cruise travel, significant investments are being made to further the popularity of the lifestyle. CLIA reports that more than 100 new ocean and river ships will come online between now and 2026 and demand for cruising has increased 20.5% in the last five years. The golden age of cruising is yet to come.

With more than 240 travel franchise locations open or under development and another great growth year in 2017 with 25 new franchise markets awarded, Expedia CruiseShipCenters is one of the largest sellers of cruise travel in North America, generating up to 15 times the average sales per location of competing franchises. There are a lot of reasons for those figures, but perhaps the biggest two are our business model and the strength of our brand name.

“You don’t have to explain who you are when Expedia is part of your name — our brand gives our travel franchise owners instant credibility,” says Matthew Eichhorst, President of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. “Our vision is to be the largest cruise retail network in North America and a trusted brand in our communities,” Matthew says.

Expedia CruiseShipCenters is actively seeking entrepreneurs who are passionate about travel, customer service, and team leadership. If that sounds like you, we’d love to have a conversation about how you can make 2018 the year you become your own boss.

Learn more 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.

Reflecting on Another Great Year

 2017 in review with Expedia CruiseShipCenters

Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Bellevue, WA Grand Opening

At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we continue to gain traction as the largest retail network across North America. Over the course of 2017 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 31st year in business we’re proud to share another year of records and even more excitement on the horizon.

Continued Growth Coast to Coast

Over the past year we opened 23 new retail travel agency locations in our expanding network and added a record 1,700 new Vacation Consultants at Centers across North America. We’re not even close to being finished growing throughout North America as we have major growth plans to open a further 30+ locations in the year ahead. In 2018, Expedia CruiseShipCenters will be coming to communities in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Texas 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, Arizona and Illinois as these states are home to more than half of North American cruisers.

Dropping ANCHOR in Vancouver

We held our Anchor meeting in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, home of Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ corporate headquarters and welcomed Franchise Partners from across the continent. It was a great success with more than 200 Franchise Partners in attendance for valuable seminars, engaging keynote presentations from industry leaders and the opportunity to network with fellow franchise owners. This year we had the pleasure of hosting the inspirational keynote speaker, Mark Okerstrom, CEO of Expedia Inc., he was later joined by Matthew Eichhorst, President of Expedia CruiseShipCenters to discuss the bright future of the cruise industry.

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. 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

• Royal Caribbean International:National Partner of the Year

• MSC: Canadian Consortium Partner of the Year

Carnival Cruises: Chairman’s Award

2018 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 27.2 million passengers to cruise in 2018! Over 100 new ships are scheduled to debut between now and 2026. The demand for cruising has steadily increased 62% over the last ten years and as more travelers will be seeking the expert advice of a trusted travel agent 100 million more people are expected to cruise in the next 4 years. According to CLIA the demand for cruising has increased 20.5% in the last five years.

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 over 30 years, we’ve been dedicated to navigating spectacular vacation experiences from our 235+ franchise locations. We look forward to further growing our team in 2018 and serving communities as 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.

In the News: Expedia CFO, Mark Okerstrom Featured in Business In Vancouver

Expedia Inc. CEO Mark Okerstrom addresses his company’s annual conference in Las Vegas earlier this month | Expedia

Expedia makes Vancouver the hub for all cruise sales

Travel giant consolidates platforms to be ‘a more strategic partner for the cruise lines’

This story appeared in the December 2017 edition of Business In Vancouver.

Expedia Inc.’s move to consolidate the cruise-sales side of its business highlights Vancouver’s growing role within the global travel-industry conglomerate.

The Bellevue, Washington-based owner (Nasdaq:EXPE) of brands such as,, Trivago, Travelocity, Orbitz and Ebookers, among other online travel sites, is starting to do for the cruise industry what it has already done for the hotel sector, CEO Mark Okerstrom told Business in Vancouver earlier this month at Expedia’s annual partner conference in Las Vegas.

“In the hotel business we’re very differentiated from a lot of other players in the market,” he said.

“We have one team that goes out. With one conversation, one contract, you get access to distribution on the whole Expedia portfolio…. That’s where we’re going to be going with cruise.”

Cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE:RCL), previously had to deal separately with various Expedia teams whenever they wanted to merchandise a cruise package on multiple Expedia brands.

There was no one-stop shop where, for example, the cruise line could promote its Vancouver-to-Alaska route on all Expedia properties.

Substantial investments in technology during the past year have changed this situation, with the result being that all of Expedia’s cruise business is run out of Vancouver.

The city has been the headquarters for Expedia Cruise-ShipCenters since 2007, when Expedia bought Vancouver’s CruiseShipCenters International Inc. for an undisclosed amount, rebranded and started to rapidly increase the division’s number of franchised cruise-oriented travel agencies.

That part of Expedia now has 247 franchises, which each have owners who have paid tens of thousands of dollars in one-time fees and pay ongoing royalties to Expedia for the right to operate an Expedia CruiseShipCenters operation in a territory.

Steady growth prompted Expedia CruiseShipCenters two years ago to move its headquarters to a 28,000-square-foot office in the Oceanic Plaza building at 1066 West Hastings Street, nearly triple the 10,000 square feet that it had occupied at the Guinness Tower across the street.

The division is increasing its staff count and has about 180 employees, up from 143 workers two years ago.

The Vancouver-based president of Expedia CruiseShipCenters, Matthew Eichhorst, has been promoted to supervise all cruise operations within Expedia.

“The transition is great for cruise ship lines such as Royal Caribbean,” said Eichhorst, who is a past BIV Forty Under 40 winner.

“It’s also great for Expedia because of the volume of our brands collectively. We’ve become a more strategic partner for the cruise lines,” Eichhorst said.

Matthew Eichhorst, president of Expedia CruiseShipCenters.

BIV asked Okerstrom why Expedia has waited many years to to integrate all of its cruise operations for suppliers.

“I’d rather do fewer things better and faster than lots of things in parallel but not so well,” said Bellevue-based Okerstrom, 44, who grew up in Coquitlam and has degrees from both Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia.

“We started our innovation, really, in the hotel business. We’ve expanded that out into air and car and activities and now cruise. We can’t do everything all at once – even with US$1.3 billion in [annual] technology spending.”

Okerstrom became Expedia’s CEO in August, when former CEO Dara Khosrowshahi left Expedia to become CEO of Uber. Khosrowshahi also has ties to Vancouver. His uncle, Future Shop founder, Persis Holdings Ltd. owner and billionaire Hassan Khosrowshahi, lives in the region. •

Click here to read this article on Business in Vancouver

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.