One of the biggest sellers of cruises in North America uses the power of its brand to benefit Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owners
Our Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owners are thriving with the growth of the cruise industry — which is getting bigger every year. According to Cruise Lines International Association, an organization that conducts continual analysis of the industry, cruisers spent $20 billion on their vacations in 2013.
Expedia is one of the biggest travel companies in the world — with $39 billion in annual sales — and Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchises sell more cruises per location than any other retailer in North America. Because cruisers prefer to book their vacations with an agent, we’ve grown an average of 20% over the last two decades. Our dominance as a travel franchise has nurtured symbiotic relationships with all of the major cruise lines, who clamor for us to pitch their competitive offers and promotions to our travel clients.
“The major cruise lines view our brand as an asset,” says Matthew Eichhorst, CEO of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. “Because Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise businesses have been so successful, we are able to work closely with cruise lines and other large travel companies to develop promotional deals that will resonate with customers. This benefits our CruiseShipCenters franchise owners because they can pass these savings on to their clients.”
Cruise line representatives often compete to welcome new Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owners into the industry. In fact, major cruise lines help subsidize our marketing expenses by helping to write our promotional campaigns. Thanks to our buying power, we are also are able to secure blocks of desirable rooms for popular ships and destinations, locking in low prices and great rooms for travelers.
Why brick-and-mortar centers?
It might surprise some people that a retail travel agency franchise is thriving in the internet age, but booking cruises is complicated. Guests rely on us to walk them through the process of planning their dream vacations.
“Shopping for travel online isn’t very fun,” says Jennifer White, who owns an Expedia CruiseShipCenters location in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with her husband, Kevin. “It’s choice overload and option overload, and a lot of people don’t have time to sift through it all, especially if they are looking for something that is tailored to them. Our customer service is a big advantage.”
With more than nearly 200 locations open or under development in the United States and Canada, brick-and-mortar centers are a proven aspect of our business model. While many travel businesses are operated out of people’s homes, our centers promote visibility for our Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owners in their communities and serve as their center of operations for their team of consultants.
Our support is second to none
Because Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owners come from diverse backgrounds, we have developed an intensive training program. We teach our owners 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 their business.
“The level of support is amazing,” Jennifer says. “You go through a week of intensive training at corporate office in Vancouver. But, both before and after, you get amazing support through calls and internet meetings. Also, the International Cruise Academy can take someone without prior knowledge all the way through the program and have them ready to start selling. It helps people get up to speed.”
We provide our franchisees with startup coaches as they prepare to open the doors to their businesses. After you’re up and running, we have have a team of franchise business consultants to work with you throughout your career with us, checking in regularly to see if you are having challenges and helping you look for ways to optimize your performance.
“I think they’re just terrific,” says Mary Beth Casey, owner of an Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise location in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “They know me, and they know what my goals are. They listen, they’re supportive, and they encourage. Their strategic planning and marketing has been terrific, and I trust them.”