Inspiring our Franchisees to be Top Performers

Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ Franchise Owner Recognition Program

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

The Presidents Circle Recognition Program

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

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

Join Forces with a Top Performing Brand

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

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

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

Learn More

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

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

The article was published September 2018 in FranchiseHarbor and FranchiseFarm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The video was published August 2018 on Entrepreneur

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The story appeared in the July 2018 edition of Entrepreneur

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

Be transparent with your priorities

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t suffer alone

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

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

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

Team up with your kids

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

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

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

Celebrate every victory

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

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

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

Click here to read this article on entrepreneur.com

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 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.

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 prnewswire.com

 

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: 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 250 independently owned locations across North America and our network of over 5,000 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 Franchiser, we provide a proven, turn key system to execute industry leading marketing on a common technology platform backed by our parent company, Expedia Group. 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.

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 Group, 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 Group 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 Group’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 Expedia.com, Hotels.com, 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.

Natural Leaders Make For Successful Franchise Owners

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.

veteran-franchise

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. Expedia CruiseShipCenters is proud to honor Veterans and First Responders with 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.
Learn more about our Veterans and First Responders Program