My first experience travelling to Ireland was in 1994 with my friend John, who was just about to enter medical school. We had a great time while we were there, renting and staying in bed and breakfasts (B&Bs) throughout the country. I have returned a few times since then, most recently by cruise ship, and I always look forward to going back.
I was fortune enough early in my career to take a 25-day cruise from Singapore to Greece, sailing across the Indian Ocean and crossing the Suez Canal. It was amazing to experience so many different countries and cities in such a short period. I could have flown between cities and stayed in hotels, but it would have cost more and taken up a lot of time. I think some parts of the world were meant to be experienced by sea.
There are still a lot of places I have yet to visit. Even though I work in travel, I need to be mindful to make recreational travel a priority and take advantage of opportunities to see the world.
Sailing into the future
I was recently on a Princess Cruise ship and it reminded me that, like so many other people, my first exposure to the world of cruise vacations came from watching The Love Boat on television. When you sail on Princess today, you can still watch old episodes and I admit I am drawn to them and enjoy seeing again what we imagined cruising was like back then. I then think about where the industry is today and consider how fortunate I am to be a part of it.
Even though I have been in this industry for 25 years, I am only 43, so I do not see myself retiring soon. That is one of the advantages of starting young. Over the years, I have seen more than a few franchisees join the industry and eventually sell their business to someone else, quite successfully. All of the support we receive from the franchisor allows us to build an asset that can be sold. At the end of the day, that is part of the objective in starting and building a business, to create something you can actually sell in the future at a greater value than what you paid for it.
Our focus right now is to continue growing our business because there is still so much untapped potential for each one of our stores. Even after so many years, I still really enjoy what I do.
Sean Flynn is a franchisee for Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Montreal. He can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
Date of first franchise: 1987
Franchise/corporate units in Canada: 137
Investment range: $102,600 – $179,995
Initial franchise fee: $29,000