Smooth Sailing for Expedia Cruises

The article was published on March 18, 2024 in Franchise Wire by Jill Abrahamsen

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Expedia Cruises is moving full steam ahead in 2024. While the Expedia Cruises franchise certainly faced some big challenges due to the pandemic, it has completely rebounded, with business better than ever, says John Mast, Sr. Director of Marketing and Franchise Development for Expedia Cruises. 

Research by the Cruise Lines International Association backs him up. The trade organization reports that 85% of cruisers say they will cruise again, which is 6% higher than pre-pandemic, and 70% of cruisers work with a traditional travel agent such as Expedia Cruises to book their trips. In addition, the global cruise capacity is projected to grow 19% by 2028, adding more than 746,000 beds, according to the cruise association.

Cruises Appeal to All Ages

All of this means massive opportunities today and in the future for franchisees, Mast says, with “strong bookings and pricing.” The cruise industry is predicting it will expand to a wide-ranging demographic of travelers. “Boomers, who are now all in retirement age, continue to cruise heavily and have more disposable income than ever before. Gen-X are hitting their mid-50s and increasingly embracing cruises. This has now made them a core target market for premium cruise lines. While boomers and Gen-X grew up on traditional media, they have embraced the internet and social media, which has been helpful in attracting an interest in cruising.

“On the other hand, millennials are in their 30s and 40s, so they’ve embraced cruising with their younger families. Customers of these ages respond well to social and digital campaigns but also value traditional media like magazines and brochures. Contemporary brands like Royal Caribbean and Disney are specifically targeting customers with shorter product offerings that cater to younger, busier lives.” 

Mast also sees “a huge trend” toward multigenerational cruising. The grandparents, who are boomers, host their Gen X and millennial offspring and their children – the grandkids – on trips. “Expedia Cruises’ award-winning Customers for Life strategy is comprised of social, digital, email, direct mail and local events, all designed to attract customers from all three target generations and keep them coming back for years as they embrace all that cruising has to offer,” he says.

What Expedia Cruises Franchisees Do

Expedia Cruises franchisees offer turnkey vacations of virtually any type. “Our franchisees and their dedicated vacation consultants are experts in booking cruises, all-inclusive resorts, coach and rail tours, vacation packages, homes and villas, travel insurance, flights, hotels, cars, and excursions or other activities. Whether a customer is looking to add a pre- or post-trip to their cruise or is seeking a traditional land vacation, our strong supplier relationships with preferred air and land partners have allowed Expedia Cruises to be the go-to travel agency for every customer’s vacation needs.”

An Expedia Cruises franchise operates this way: Franchisees develop a team of vacation consultants who do the actual bookings; during their first year of operation, franchisees should recruit 30 vacation consultants. Franchisees need a 1,000-square-foot office; their vacation consultants can be fully remote. Franchisees and vacation consultants share commissions from selling vacations and travel insurance. They recruit customers through email marketing, social media and referrals from the company website and happy customers.

Successful Expedia Cruises franchisees hail from myriad professional backgrounds, but they should be “fully committed to being a strong daily presence in their business,” Mast says. “We look for people who enjoy being a leader and a coach, as they will need to be just that for their vacation consultants. We’ve seen great success with duo partnerships such as siblings or husband-wife teams, as well as those who previously worked as educators or were first responders.” 

Support for Expedia Cruises Franchisees

Franchisees enjoy phenomenal support from the brand’s headquarters, Mast says, including:

  • An Expedia Cruises franchise corporate staff of 100-plus employees who are highly committed to supporting every franchise owner. 
  • Proprietary CruiseDesk technology, which seamlessly integrates industry-leading booking tools, a robust CRM/customer relationship management system, and a comprehensive reporting and lead-management system. Other technology simplifies searches and booking to save time.
  • Promotional deals secured by the corporate staff increase franchisees’ profitability.
  • Assistance with site selection, lease negotiation, recruiting, training sessions and coaching. During build-out, franchisees will have a weeklong intensive training course at the Expedia Cruises franchise headquarters in Vancouver, B.C. And through Expedia Cruises’ sales training program, franchises learn how to teach their vacation consultants to sell travel. A franchise performance coach will be on-site during the launch and will stay in touch. (It takes about six to nine months from signing the franchise agreement until the franchisee opens the door.)
  • Facilitating networking among franchisees, including annual conferences.

Expedia Cruises’ parent company is Expedia Group, which is also the parent of The Expedia Cruises franchise has over 260 locations in 46 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Many territories are still available, and the brand’s franchise model is scalable. For more information about opportunities with the Expedia Cruises franchise, visit