How Our Travel Franchise Owners Are Leveraging Our Strong Cruise Industry Relationships to Build Their Business
Expedia CruiseShipCenters had an incredible year in 2016, adding 33 new travel agency franchises and welcoming more than 1,300 new Vacation Consultants to our growing network! All of that translated into more spectacular vacation experiences delivered across North America.
After a record-setting year, we’re thrilled to have been recognized by our preferred cruise line partners with three of their most coveted awards. Royal Caribbean International recently named Expedia CruiseShipCenters as their National Partner of the Year, while Celebrity Cruises awarded us as their North America Partner of the Year, and Norwegian Cruise Line recognized us as their Franchise Partner of the Year. We couldn’t be more honored to be recognized among the top sellers of cruises around the world.
For more than two decades, our sales have grown more than 11% a year on average — three times the rate of the cruise industry overall — and we have become a sought-after partner for cruise lines worldwide. In fact, we are a top-selling travel company with every major cruise line. That creates several advantages for our franchisees.
Here are 4 ways our franchisees benefit from our industry partnerships:
1. Booking Incentives For Your Customers
Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ product team works directly with cruise lines to reserve huge blocks of rooms for cruises headed to popular destinations on desirable dates. That buying power allows us to negotiate for group rates and added perks that we call Expedia® Extras. For example, a customer who books through Expedia CruiseShipCenters may receive a generous onboard cash credit to spend on the ship, a free wine package, or a complimentary stateroom upgrade. Those added perks give our franchisees and their Vacation Consultants a competitive advantage to help them secure more bookings and ensure customers return to them again and again.
“There is so much added value you get from working with a Vacation Consultant,” says Linda Messina, Director of Product and Promotions for Expedia CruiseShipCenters. For instance, “as a cruise fills up, sometimes the room rates will increase. We maintain the lower rates because we put our own cash down to hold the rooms for a while.” That inventory of rooms allows our franchisees to sell vacations at rates that others can no longer match. An independent agency that isn’t tied to a larger sales volume simply can’t compete with the value that Expedia CruiseShipCenters provides.
Expedia Extras and competitive prices are of course in addition to the ultimate perk — getting to work with a knowledgeable travel consultant who can help travelers plan a truly spectacular a vacation experience!
2. Top-Tier Commissions For Your Agents
Building a sales team of high performing travel agents is the main role of our franchise owners, so we want to make the opportunity to join your team as a Vacation Consultant as appealing as possible! When we can say that we’ve negotiated some of the highest agent commission rates in the industry because of our sales volume and status in the industry, that helps a lot. Not only do top-tier commissions make the prospect of joining your team more attractive, they also impact your bottom line since of course your earnings are based on your Consultant’s commissions.
Our top franchisees understand that team building is the key to becoming a successful Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchise owner. The larger and more successful your team is, the more profitable your business will be.
3. Subsidized Local Marketing
Cruise Lines International Association reports that 82% of cruisers tend to book through a travel agent, which means cruise lines need the support of industry leading travel franchises like Expedia CruiseShipCenters to fill the growing number of ships at sea. Since our customers are among the most loyal in the industry, our cruise line partners line up to advertise in our bi-annual customer magazine, Dream Voyages, and in our monthly Vacation Specials flyers that are sent out to targeted cruise customers and prospects on your behalf. The end result? The cruise lines subsidize much of your marketing expense, allowing you to send our gorgeous print pieces at less than half the cost. They know that every cruise vacation you sell is great news for them, too!
4. Dedicated Training & Support
Because we are such a large company and valuable partner for cruise lines, they seek our franchisees out. When a new Expedia CruiseShipCenters comes to town, cruise lines are clamoring to get to know the owner. Local cruise line representatives will gladly come to your franchise location to help educate your Vacation Consultants and customers alike about the newest ships in their fleet and the latest destinations and excursions available. Cruise lines will also often co-sponsor local marketing events with Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchisees — picking up part or all of the cost to host a destination themed cruise night for your clients to get them excited about booking their next trip with you.
Build Your Success On Ours
In addition to our powerful brand, the strong industry partnerships we’ve been building with cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian since 1987 is a huge competitive advantage for Expedia CruiseShipCenters franchisees in their local communities. And the best part? Franchise Owners start reaping the rewards of these partnerships on day one – before they’ve even sold a single cruise. The collective buying power of our more than 230 franchise locations is a key benefit of joining Expedia CruiseShipCenters, and the most recognized brand in travel.
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.