Matthew Eichhorst, speaks candidly about his role overseeing one of the largest retail travel agency franchises, and the business advice he would give to a younger version of himself
This story appeared in the January 2018 edition of USA Weekly.
Starting a business is a big achievement for many entrepreneurs, but maintaining one is the larger challenge. There are many standard challenges that face every business whether they are large or small. It is not easy running a company, especially in a fast-paced, ever-changing business world. Technology advances, new hiring strategies, and now, political changes coming with the new administration, all add to the existing business challenges that entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives have to deal with.
Maximizing profits, minimizing expenses and finding talented staff to keep things moving seem to be top challenges for both SMBs and large corporations. We have been interviewing companies from around the world to discover what challenges they are facing in their businesses. We also asked each company to share business advice they would give to a younger version of themselves.
What does your company do?
Expedia CruiseShipCenters is a retail travel agency franchise with over 30 years of success specializing in cruise vacations. Our more than 250 independently owned locations across North America and our network of over 5,000 sellers of travel serve their local communities by navigating spectacular vacation experiences. Although we are the experts in cruise, we are a full-service agency that sells all travel-related products associated with a cruise or standalone non-cruise vacations. As a Franchiser, we provide a proven, turn key system to execute industry leading marketing on a common technology platform backed by our parent company, Expedia Group. We’re recognized as a top-ranked franchise each year as a result of our continued success and the support we provide to our franchise owners.
What is your role? What do you enjoy most about your role?
I am the Global Leader for the cruise line of business for all Expedia companies, and the President of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. In my role, I provide day-to-day and long-term strategy to grow our overall business and the success of our individual franchisees. I love being an integral part of this fast-paced and exciting industry for a few reasons. Being in the cruise business, it’s incredibly rewarding being able to bring Expedia CruiseShipCenters to new communities and inspiring others to explore our world. And, with the cruise industry constantly growing and evolving, I’m presented with lots of opportunities to think creatively, act innovatively, and to grow and evolve myself.
What are the biggest challenges in your business right now?
The current challenge is really focusing on the vast opportunities that lie ahead for the cruise industry in the next several years. With over 94 ships on order, the market is growing at an unprecedented rate and we truly are entering the Golden Age of Cruising. Our goal is to grow three times faster than the industry, and given how much the industry is accelerating, this could be a true challenge. We aim to do this by investing in our technology, digital marketing, and the operational efficiency of our distribution channel.
If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?
If I could go back in time and give my younger self a piece of business advice, it would have been to be more open to taking risks. Although being very calculated with our decisions, there were many indicators that showed the cruise business was going to accelerate and become more mainstream. Taking risks allows for various learning opportunities and personal growth and development. The lessons one learns from taking risks helps them evolve into a leadership position.
Continue Learning About Expedia CruiseShipCenters
For in-depth details about owning a business with Expedia CruiseShipCenters, download our free franchise report by filling out the form below. You can also learn more by reading the essentials about our retail travel agency franchise opportunity here.