Announcing targeted expansion, Expedia CruiseShipCenters unveiled a plan to bring additional travel franchise locations to Florida. Joining 10 locations already operating in the state, the leading travel franchise brand plans to add at least 10 more locations throughout Fort Lauderdale, Miami, greater Orlando and the Tampa Bay area over the next three to five years.
Folded into an overall growth vision for the brand, the new Florida locations are key to Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ goal to reach the 500 location milestone in North America over the next five years. Florida’s expansion is building off of the success and efforts of local franchisees like Jennifer and Kevin White in Imperial Point. Expedia CruiseShipCenters is working towards its five year growth plan by targeting areas with thriving travel industries to develop its strong network of franchise owners. The brand’s target expansion plans include five locations in the Miami metropolitan area, three locations in the greater Orlando area and three in the Tampa Bay area, in addition to an opening in Boca Raton later this year.
“Florida has been a great market for Expedia CruiseShipCenters and has shown our franchisees a lot of success. Within the next few years, we plan to double our presence in the state by working with local entrepreneurs to bring our growing brand to their communities,” said Matthew Eichhorst, president of Expedia CruiseShipCenters. “We strongly believe that Florida’s thriving cruise market combined with passionate franchisees has great potential to bring continued success to our growing brand.”
The Sunshine State is home to two of the nations busiest cruise ports, Fort Lauderdale and Miami, as well as three other terminals. With nearly 80 ships and 8.6 million cruisers being processed in Fort Lauderdale and Miami each year, Florida is a hub of travel lovers and consumers creating ideal demographics for Expedia CruiseShipCenters.
Cruises are becoming increasingly popular because they offer comfort and convenience while making it easy for people to visit several exotic locations on a single trip. According to Cruise Lines International Association, an organization that conducts continual analysis of the industry, the demand for cruising has increased 68 percent in the last ten years. The association also points out that the U.S. economic impact of the cruise industry is larger than ever - at $42 billion annually. Cruise lines have responded to that growth by commissioning the construction of more than 65 new ships that are on pace to set sail over the next five years.
With over 225 retail locations already open or under development, the Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ franchise network is rapidly expanding. The Whites are key examples of the varied backgrounds the brand’s franchisees come from. Prior to opening an Expedia CruiseShipCenters location, Jennifer taught special education in Broward County for 13 years, while Kevin worked in sales at a charter airline, Miami Air. They attribute their success to building relationships with local travelers and creating ‘Customers For Life.’
“We wanted a career change that combined our love for travel with the challenge of taking on an entrepreneurial role. We came across Expedia CruiseShipCenters while looking for a new business opportunities and loved the support we receive from corporate,” said Imperial Point, Florida franchisee Jennifer White. “With a well-known brand like Expedia, we appreciated the business and marketing plans that were already in place as well as the fact that we are not a dot-com. Having a store front and customer service is a big advantage when people don’t have time to sift through the internet to plan a vacation-especially if they are looking for something that is tailored to them.”