What is Our Franchise Startup Process?
Expedia Cruises franchise owners get a lot of help starting their businesses
Expedia Cruises provides extensive training and support to help franchisees learn how to sell travel packages, how to leverage the wealth of information that we bring to the table, and how to develop a team of travel agents to power the growth of your business. We have more than 100 people on our corporate team that are dedicated to supporting the success of our franchisees. Here’s a big picture look at the training and support we provide during the startup phase.
Getting started with training
Once you sign a franchise agreement, our startup coach will help you make sure your company structure, banking licensing, and other operational items are complete. Then your training begins. You’ll start by learning to become a Vacation Consultant. It won’t be your ultimate role in your business, but understanding this important sales role will make you a better team leader to the Consultants who will help you build your business. It’s a 12-week program, driven by online coursework that is designed to help you learn how to have great conversations with people about vacations, and to learn about customers and their preferences so that you can match the right person with the right ship and destination.
As you are completing your online training your startup coach will help you navigate the process of choosing a location, will help you work through the process of getting your business license and any needed certifications, and will help you follow a checklist to oversee the build-out of your location and get your equipment ordered at the right time. The startup coach will also help you schedule a visit to our Vancouver headquarters, for your next level of training.
Cruise Management Academy
New franchisees attend a week-long Cruise Management Academy at Expedia Cruises’ corporate office. During this training, you’ll learn about the tools, systems and support that are designed to help you manage your team and grow your business.
“It is amazing,” says Jennifer White, who owns an Expedia Cruises location in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with her husband, Kevin. “You go through a week of training at the corporate office in Vancouver, which is a lot of information. It’s like, ‘open mouth, insert firehose.'” It’s definitely a comprehensive introduction to the business. To help you digest the material, your startup coach will pair you up with a dedicated Franchise Performance Coach who will help you develop the structure of your business and establish best practices. We also have more than 100 people at our headquarters who are dedicated to answering your questions, and we’re very responsive. When you call with a question, expect to hear back within an hour or two with an answer. Often, responses are much, much faster.
The next step of your journey is team recruitment. Expedia Cruises franchisees are fortunate in that people who love to sell cruises are enthusiastic cruisers themselves. As we reach out into your community with marketing to attract customers, we also reach an audience of people who would love to be part of your team. Typically, we look for outgoing people with warm personalities who are the types who don’t just travel alone — they take eight friends with them. These pied piper types are perfect Vacation Consultants because they are passionate about travel and about sharing wonderful experiences since that’s what we’re in business to do!
Generally, you will have five or six Vacation Consultants when you first open your business, and that should quickly grow. As Consultants join the team, they will go through the 12-week consultant training program to learn how to sell travel, and you will help them improve their skills and gain confidence.
Once your business is open, your Franchise Performance Coach will work with you to plan a Grand Opening event at your office, which is a great opportunity to attract a crowd of customers, draw media attention, and win a lot of business. The Grand Opening event does not always happen immediately after your doors open. Instead, we like to time the event to coincide with one of our national promotions, which roll out every couple of months on a regular schedule. By tying your Grand Opening event to a heavily-promoted travel deal, you make a much bigger splash.
For more information about how we support you through the startup process, visit our franchise blog.
Continue Learning About Expedia CruiseShipCenters
For in-depth details about owning a business with Expedia Cruises, download our free franchise brochure by filling out the form below. You can also learn more by reading the essentials about our franchise opportunity here.