Starting a family business can be tricky, but at Expedia CruiseShipCenters, we like to think that families who travel together can run a business together! There’s nothing like experiencing the rewarding highs and exhilarating unpredictability of travel together to prepare you for the adventure that is owning your own business.
Expedia Franchise Partners from Las Vegas, NV, Dan and Brenna Maurer, are the perfect example of how to start a family franchise. With five children and the drive to build a profitable business that serves their community, they have big dreams for their business. With two Expedia franchises already open and managed by their two talented sons, Morgan and Jaxson, they are well on their way to making that dream a reality. Watch the video below to hear what Dan and Brenna had to say about why they chose Expedia CruiseShipCenters to achieve their family business vision.
Q: What were you doing before you joined Expedia CruiseShipCenters?
Dan: Brenna and I started out as industrial contractors before moving into the hotel business as a more streamlined, more relaxed opportunity which we’ve enjoyed. We currently own two hotels in West Yellowstone, Montana near Yellowstone National Park which we’ll continue to keep operational. We felt we’d reached a pinnacle with our hotel properties and were looking for something else to get involved in when we found Expedia CruiseShipCenters.
Q: Why was Expedia CruiseShipCenters the right franchise for your family?
Dan: We looked at many different franchises – food franchises, service franchises – and we saw Expedia CruiseShipCenters. Travel is a passion of ours. We love to travel! Our whole family including all of our kids, Brenna and myself. So we thought why not? We thought it would be an awesome thing to go in every day and share people’s passion and guide them into great cruise vacations. It ranked highly in franchise success so after going through Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ franchise discovery process, we went with it!
Brenna: It really did have a shiny light for us because we love travel. I knew travel agents, but I’d never thought of being one, owning an agency, or wanting one. But the more we discovered, the more we said, that is us! We are travelers. We are passionate about it. We love telling other people and listening to stories about travel. It felt like a natural fit and we feel that when something isn’t forced it works well. This opportunity has flowed for us and not been a forced decision or process in any way.
Q: What’s the best thing about working with your family?
Brenna: There is no better partnership than with my husband of 35 years and our brilliant children. We all generally have the same end goal and same work ethic. There is trust and respect for each other. Our customers also appreciate working with a family business and we have had several positive comments that they enjoy the relationship with a family-run business.
It is also extremely rewarding to watch our sons Morgan and Jaxson manage every aspect of our franchises. They manage with care, intelligence, bravery, and are leaders at a young age. As they learn from the corporate training, both are able to bring the training to the Vacation Consultants in our two Centers with enthusiasm and professionalism. I am amazed and so proud of both of them and can imagine their ability to grow tremendously as business owners and examples to other young professionals.
Q: What are the advantages of buying a franchise vs. an independent business?
Brenna: We’ve been independent business owners for 20 years and I’ve worked together every day with my husband. We understand what it takes to build a business from the bottom up. Sometimes we rush into things which is why the franchise model has been good for us. It’s kept us on track and given us guidelines and a plan. As an independent business, you see the end goal, but you may waiver a bit because you’re trying too hard to do everything yourself. The support to help you get through it all as a franchisee makes it much easier to focus.
Dan: The success rate of franchise operators is very high, and the failure rate very low, of course. The franchisee support is awesome. It’s over the top! We don’t have to figure things out for ourselves. We’re going to achieve success more quickly than if we’d started some other type of business on our own.
Q: What do you love about being your own boss?
Dan: I love that you can set your goals and you can achieve them. And I think that’s especially true for Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchisees. Whatever you put into it, you’re going to get back a hundredfold when you follow the program. We’ve talked to many of the other Franchise Partners that have achieved success along the same lines of some of our goals so we know it’s possible. I think that’s the excitement of being a franchisee working for yourself as opposed to day-to-day in a capped salary – the sky’s the limit.
Q: What are the marketing tools like for your franchise?
Dan: With our hotels, we remodeled them, hung our open sign, and nobody came. We learned a hard lesson that you have to be on the Internet, you have to advertise! It’s a lot of work and it’s very expensive. At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, you get a ready-made kit for success.
Brenna: Knowing nothing about marketing when we first started our hotels, we were trying to figure out Google advertising, the Internet, a website. Everything was new to us and it was a struggle because it was so unfamiliar. Now it’s all here for us. It’s ready to go, it’s professionally done. Our website is beautiful. We’re so excited about it that it makes us want to go buy a cruise just looking at it!
Q: What is your family franchise vision?
Brenna: We have big dreams! We have optioned for two additional Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise locations in the Las Vegas area and do plan to grow beyond that. We know the assistance from our family will help us achieve our goals. Once we’ve achieved the revenue and gross sales benchmarks for our first location, we feel we’ll be ready to move on to our second Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise. If we follow the plan and the plan is successful – as we know it will be – we’re confident that we can carry on with our second and third locations.
Q: What are you most excited about for the future of your family business?
Brenna: I’m mostly looking forward to watching our children succeed so that Dan and I can cruise! As entrepreneurs, of course we want the monetary value – money is a motivator for us – but also the freedom to cruise and travel and experience the product. We want to come back and share our experience with our customers and be able to say we’ve been there, we’ve stayed at this hotel, we’ve done that shore excursion. We’re so excited to share our experiences and motivate other travelers with our passion for the product.
Dan: We don’t see a retirement for ourselves really, we would just like some extended time to do more traveling. We have a great family, our kids and a very talented support team that are anxious to come aboard and partake in this business as well. This business is a fun business! People are excited and they’re wanting what you have. It’s a joy to see people smiling and satisfied.
At Expedia CruiseShipCentes, many of our Franchise Partners are couples, siblings, or parents and their children who started a family-run franchise together. It’s an amazing way to leverage the individual strengths of each family member to earn income in the short-term and build wealth for their future.
Whether you’re wanting to start a franchise with your family or looking for a solo opportunity, Expedia CruiseShipCenters has opportunities available across North America. For in-depth details about the Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise opportunity, download our free franchise report. You can also learn more by visiting our research pages.