Growing travel franchise ramps up for rapid expansion into the Big Apple
The American cruising boom is exploding into New York City, as Expedia® CruiseShipCenters® announces plans to open 30 travel franchise locations in America’s most populated and most dynamic city over the next five to seven years. The Big Apple is poised for growth, with territories available in the Boroughs, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, and the Bronx.
New York City is on one of America’s largest harbors — New York Harbor — which serves both the populations of New York and New Jersey. That positions the 30 new Expedia CruiseShipCenters for success. Several of the world’s largest cruise lines launch from New York City, making it easy for the city’s enormous population of 8.3 million people to escape from the city that never sleeps and embark on their dream vacations.
Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ ambitious plan to win an outsized share of the New York City cruising market was recently highlighted in an article in Staten Island Business Trends, a business journal serving the Staten Island community. Staten Island has been selected as the first of the many planned Expedia CruiseShipCenters travel locations in New York City:
“The industry’s boom has led to a sharp increase in visibility for cruising, and companies such as Expedia are flocking to the area,” the article states. “The company recently announced it will be opening more than 30 city locations for its CruiseShipCenters brand, with one of the first to open in Staten Island.”
The article also quotes Matthew Eichhorst, President of Expedia CruiseShipCenters, who has presided over our decades of double-digit sales growth:
“Given the density of the market and the increasing number of cruisers departing from the city’s two terminals, it makes sense for us to focus on New York as a growth region for new franchise locations,” Matthew says in the article. “Our promise is to navigate spectacular vacation experiences for cruisers — wherever they live — and we see enormous potential to reach those customers by bringing our franchise model to New York.”
Expedia CruiseShipCenters travel franchises are expanding in markets across North America
Expedia CruiseShipCenters has nearly 200 travel franchise locations open or under development in North America, and has plans to open 150 more travel franchise locations over the next three years.
“Our vision is to be the largest cruise retail network in North America and a trusted brand in our communities,” Matthew says. “In the year 2020, I see 500 Expedia CruiseShipCenters, with 300 of those stores in the United States.”
With our course charted for explosive growth, Expedia CruiseShipCenters will continue to be a leader in a thriving, vibrant industry. According to Cruise Lines International Association, an organization that conducts continual analysis of the industry, 23 million people are expected to cruise in 2015. As large as the cruising industry has become, Expedia CruiseShipCenters has grown at three times the rate of the cruise industry overall, enjoying an average sales growth of 20% annually since we launched our brand more than two decades ago.
Our business model is behind our success
Expedia CruiseShipCenters generates 10 times the average sales of competing franchise Cruise Planners, and 15 times more average sales (sales per unit) than Cruise One, according to the 2015 Power List in Travel Weekly. There are a lot of reasons for those figures, but perhaps the biggest is our business model — Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchisees sign up to become travel sales leaders, not travel agents.
Because Expedia CruiseShipCenters is one of the top sellers of cruises worldwide, major cruise lines clamor to offer us competitive deals and promotions. The travel franchise then leverages those deals by creating marketing campaigns — some of which are largely underwritten by the cruise lines themselves. For instance, we are able to send out gorgeous fliers at little cost to targeted customers on behalf of our franchisees.
“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,” Matthew says. “Also, Expedia has about 500,000 hotels in their system and access to a ton of air travel. We bolt that supply and data into a traditional travel agency franchise, and it provides a huge advantage.”
The Expedia CruiseShipCenters mission statement is to “empower our franchisees with a proven system to grow a profitable and valuable business.” This is why our franchise owners operate out of brick-and mortar-retail locations rather than their homes. Our retail locations give us increased visibility with our customers and also provide an office environment where we can host events — and where our independent Vacation Consultants can share knowledge and work together. Given that 70% of customers prefer to book their cruises with a travel agent, according to Cruise Lines International Association, it is of added importance that our customers can trust our brand because we are a visible part of their communities.