Fast-growing travel franchise makes magazine’s Franchise 500 list of top opportunities. Here’s why.
Entrepreneur magazine has released its annual list of top franchise opportunities, and Expedia CruiseShipCenters® once again made the cut. The Franchise 500 list serves as a guide for entrepreneurs studying franchise opportunities, and our travel franchise ranked No. 221 on this year’s list. Our ranking comes on the heels of strong growth in 2014. The Expedia® brand is known far and wide — we have about 200 travel franchise locations stretching across the United States and Canada, and our retail locations increase visibility as well as provide a place for our consultants to gather and share knowledge and work together.
With more than $34 billion in annual gross travel bookings, Expedia CruiseShipCenters enjoys the competitive advantage of massive buying power and of being a leading brand. We have more than 4,000 vacation consultants who have achieved annual sales growth of 20 percent for 25 years.
“We are thrilled to be included in Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list,” says Michael Eichhorst, President of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. “It speaks volumes as to the success of our travel franchise locations in their communities.”
Travel franchise taps into worldwide brand to empower agents
Expedia CruiseShipCenters is one of the biggest cruise sellers in the world, and as a result, cruise lines and other travel agencies clamor to work with us and our agents. We sell more cruises per location than any other retailer in North America, which means cruise lines are always coming to us with competitive offers and promotions.
Our leadership team and more than 90 corporate support employees provide franchisees programs and support in sales and marketing, training, information technology and business development.
Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchisees are able to tap into the collective knowledge of Expedia, our corporate staff, and other CruiseShipCenters franchisees and travel agents, which helps them create insightful custom travel plans for customers. While internet travel booking is impersonal, we offer high-touch personal service and the opportunity for customers to build face-to-face relationships with trusted travel advisors.
“The value we add is in being thoughtful,” says Mary Beth Casey, owner of an Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “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 ask anything from the simplest questions to the most outlandish. When our customers get off the boat, we do a follow-up: Did we meet their expectations? Where are they going to go next?”
We also provide resort and other land vacation options, including air, car, hotel and travel insurance. This allows us to serve all of our customers’ travel needs, leading to a high rate of repeat travel, as well as increased spending as customers learn that they can get more enjoyment by venturing beyond cookie-cutter travel options.