At Expedia CruiseShipCenters, our primary product is cruise vacations, but we are also able to look after our customers in related areas, from airline tickets to hotels, shore excursions and packages before and after cruises, as well as non-cruise vacation packages.
A big part of taking a cruise vacation is knowing about the places you are going to visit. We have expertise to help people figure out where they should go and how to get there once they arrive. We provide tips on how they can take better advantage of cruise ship amenities. We also provide information about taking smaller ships to get closer to where you want to visit.
Since most people enjoy talking about travel destinations and vacations they have gone on, it is quite easy to engage someone in talking about cruises and destinations they would still like to visit. We are in an industry that has a strong repeat factor, so once people take a cruise, they are likely to come back to us and want to go on another. It is important to keep in touch with customers who have booked with you in the past, since repeat business and their referrals are what keep us afloat.
Although we have been a part of the CruiseShipCenters franchise system almost since the very beginning, Kelly and I felt the time was right last June to get back to basics and take part in the Cruise Management Academy (CMA). It is an introduction to Expedia CruiseShipCenters’ culture, systems and operations, which we found beneficial in reexamining all aspects of our business. Since there is always something new to learn and we are opening a new location, we want to be sure we do it right.
In 2013, Expedia CruiseShipCenters introduced a new sales skills training program to help our cruise consultants become more efficient and provide an even higher level of service than before. We call it the navigator’s approach and, in our centres, we saw positive results right away. This also makes it even easier to introduce new staff to our organization, whether or not they have sales experience.
The reason someone joins a franchise organization is because it offers a structure and level of support. If you find a system that appeals to you, you will be very happy working there. The greatest reward for us is going to come from building a team of like-minded individuals who want to provide fantastic vacation experiences for our customers.
Mixing business with pleasure
One of the perks of working with Expedia CruiseShipCenters is the opportunity to travel, although the majority of the time it is business-related. When you own your business, it is not always easy to take a break. Even when I am on a ship, I am thinking about my business.
Five years ago, my parents wanted to travel to Barbados, a place they first visited in 1974. We found a condominium to rent for several weeks and have been doing that each winter ever since. I look forward to those two weeks in February, as it is an opportunity to really get away.
My fiancée and I are planning to get married in the next year and we want the ceremony somewhere memorable. When we first met, we were both surprised to discover we had similar ideas about where that should be: on a cliff in Ireland.