In the News: Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® Newest Center in Atlanta, GA

We are excited to announce Ayten Mauk opening the doors of our newest Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Atlanta, GA.

Ayten’s Center is located at 4505 Ashford Dunwoody Rd. Unit 12A, Atlanta, GA 30346

This is Ayten’s first of three Expedia CruiseShipCenters to open!

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

In the News: Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® Newest Center in London, ON

We are excited to announce Jim, Norma, and Malcolm Ferguson opening the doors of our newest Expedia CruiseShipCenters in London , ON. The Ferguson’s new Center is located at 3074 Wonderland Road South, London, ON N6L1A6.

This is their 3rd Expedia CruiseShipCenters location!

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

In the News: Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® Newest Center in Beverly, MA

We are excited to announce Mark Dawson opening the doors of our newest Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Beverly, MA. Mark’s Center is located at 47 Enon Street Unit #7 Beverly, MA 01915

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

In the News: Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® Newest Center in Palm Desert, CA

We are excited to announce Gary Kelb and Flavius Garmacea on opening the doors of our newest Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Palm Desert, CA.

Gary and Flavius’s Center is located at 73-091 Country Club Dr Suite A8, Palm Desert, CA

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

In the News: Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® Rides Growth Wave in 2019

Cruise Industry Leader Celebrates 2018 Milestones; Looks to Build on Innovation and Growth in 2019

The article was published in March 2019 in FranchiseHarbor.

BELLEVUE, Wash., March 13, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The top cruise travel agency franchise in North America, Expedia CruiseShipCenters, announced a milestone-heavy year for the growing brand. In 2018, the brick and mortar travel agency awarded its 100th franchise in the U.S., signed its first multi-unit deal, and exhibited 17 percent year-over-year growth. Riding this wave of momentum in 2019, the company expects another high performing year with 35 new franchise locations projected to open.

Adding to the several notable growth achievements over the past year, Expedia CruiseShipCenters awarded 26 new franchises and achieved over $790 million in gross bookings in 2018. The brand also received industry recognition, winning Carnival Cruise Line’s Retail Partner of the Year Award, Holland America Line’s Franchise Agency Network Award, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Canadian Retail Partner of the Year, among several others. Most notable, Expedia CruiseShipCenters was ranked on 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.

“2018 was a strong year for the brand, as we achieved some new milestones, won a series of supplier awards, and continued to build on the success from last year,” said Matthew Eichhorst, President of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. “We hope to keep this momentum going in 2019, and with our continued focus on agent recruitment and retention, and our plan to incorporate technology and data to drive our consumer outreach, I believe this will be another incredible year for us.”

In 2019, Expedia CruiseShipCenters has eyes set on key markets throughout the U.S. for development including Florida, Texas and California, Georgia, Illinois, and Washington.

With the cruise travel industry expected to continue its rise throughout 2019, Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ growth is in part driven by this continued demand. According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) report, more than 30M passengers are expected to cruise in 2019 – a 34percent increase from five years prior. Additionally, 24 new ocean, river and specialty ships are scheduled to debut this year, with more than 125 new ships coming online between now and 2027.

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

In the News: Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® Newest Center in Louisville KY

We are happy to announce Linda Caso has opened the doors of our newest Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Louisville KY.
Linda’s Center is located at 4110 Summit Plaza Dr.

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

In the News: Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® Inks First-Ever Multi-Unit Franchise Agreement

The article was published in February 2019 in PRNewswire.

ATLANTA, Feb. 19, 2019/PRNewswire The top cruise travel agency franchise in North America, Expedia CruiseShipCenters, has just announced the signing of its first multi-unit franchise agreement. The multi-unit agreement will bring three new locations to Georgia over the next several years. Folded into an overall growth vision for the brand, the new multi-unit franchise opportunity provides motivated entrepreneurs an opportunity for aggressive business expansion. As Expedia CruiseShipCenters continues to expand its presence in North America, the company is on track to reach its goal of opening 500 North American locations in both Canada and the United States over the next five years.

The Georgia multi-unit agreement is spearheaded by husband and wife team, Wil and Ayten Mauk. The long-time residents of Atlanta will debut three new locations throughout the state by 2023. The first location is currently in development in the Dunwoody area and is slated to open April 2019. The new locations will join five existing Expedia CruiseShipCenters locations throughout Georgia in Alpharetta, Lakeland, Lawrenceville, Roswell and Sugar Hill.

“We could not be more excited to open our new locations throughout our home state. We wanted a career that combined our love for travel with the challenge of taking on an entrepreneurial role,” said Ayten. “With a well-known brand like Expedia Group, paired with the value of having a storefront to interact with our customers, we feel well-positioned to help our community plan their perfect vacation.”

Expedia CruiseShipCenters opened 22 new franchise locations and welcomed over 2,000 new Vacation Consultants in 2018. Riding this wave of success, Expedia CruiseShipCenters plans to open even more locations this year with a particular focus on the southeast.

“It is an exciting time to join the Expedia CruiseShipCenters family. After more than 30 years, our proven system has evolved to suit franchise partners interested in building an empire with our multi-unit franchise opportunity. As the cruise industry continues to surge, our Centers are able to meet the demand in the market,” said Matthew Eichhorst, President of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. “We are continuing our expansion into more communities across the country, and we are seeking both single and multi-unit owners like the Mauk’s who want to pursue entrepreneurship in a retail business that they are passionate about.”

With the cruise travel industry expected to continue its rise throughout 2019, Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ growth is in part driven by this continued demand. According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) report, more than 30M passengers are expected to cruise in 2019- a 34% increase from five years prior. Additionally, 24 new ocean, river and specialty ships are scheduled to debut this year, with more than 125 new ships coming online between now and 2027.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why an Expedia CruiseShipCenters Franchise?

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

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

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

How do you find your customers?

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

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

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

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

What aspects of this business do you enjoy the most?

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

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

How would you describe the culture at your center?

Kyle and his team celebrating 1million in sales

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

 

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

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

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

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

Kyle and his wife Tammy – Korto hike

 

 

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

Expedia CruiseShipCenters Veteran Franchisee Feature: Francis James

Open your own Expedia franchise and be your own boss

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

Francis James – Santa Clarita, CA

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

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

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

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

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

The article was published September 2018 in FranchiseHarbor and FranchiseFarm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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