LAS VEGAS, Dec. 5 — Expedia, Inc. and CruiseShipCenters International, Inc., a leading North American cruise vacation specialist, unveiled their new combined brand Expedia CruiseShipCenters today at the Home-Based Travel Agent Expo and Conference in Las Vegas.
The announcement included plans for expansion into the United States, with the first co-branded Expedia CruiseShipCenters store opening at the Crossroads Shopping Center in Bellevue, Wash. Additional franchise opportunities will be available in Washington and Oregon, initially, in the first quarter of 2008. Home-based agents in the U.S. who sign up as independent contractors can begin selling Expedia CruiseShipCenters offerings in January.
"Since Expedia first invested in CruiseShipCenters in March 2007, we have recognized the benefit of leveraging the two brands to benefit our home based agents, our Franchise Partners and our consumers," said Michael Drever, president and CEO of CruiseShipCenters. "With the combined power of the Expedia and CruiseShipCenters brands and backed with our propriety CruiseDesk technology, our agents are better equipped to grow their business." This alliance enables home-based agents to leverage the expertise and leadership of the Expedia brand and further serve travelers by accessing the breadth of Expedia non-cruise offerings. The new Expedia CruiseShipCenters logo and supporting materials will be available to new and existing franchisees and home-based agents in the first quarter of 2008. All of the more than 100 retail locations and more than 1,500 cruise sales consultants throughout North America are expected to integrate the new co-brand.
"As the world's leading online travel company, Expedia is pleased to combine the power of our brand with the proven technology and leading service offerings of CruiseShipCenters to create an alliance that franchisees and home-based agents can leverage, and that travelers can trust," said Paul Brown, president of Expedia North America and Expedia Partner Services Group.
Expedia announced a strategic investment in CruiseShipCenters in March 2007 in a move to broaden its exposure to offline distribution channels. CruiseShipCenters has built a solid reputation as a market leader in North America's cruise vacation industry, booking more than 20 percent of all cruises sold in Canada. Twice receiving the Canadian Franchise Association's Award of Excellence, the company delivers outstanding customer service and value through its proprietary, industry-leading CruiseDesk' platform. A one-of-a-kind application, the CruiseDesk system is a fully integrated Enterprise Customer Relationship Management system incorporating booking, back-office, marketing and other business management tools at the agent level.
About Expedia, Inc.
Expedia, Inc. is the world's leading online travel company, empowering business and leisure travelers with the tools and information they need to easily research, plan, book and experience travel. Expedia, Inc. also provides wholesale travel to offline retail travel agents and in-destination concierge service and activity desks for travelers. The Expedia, Inc. portfolio of brands includes: Expedia.com, hotels.com', Hotwire, Expedia Corporate Travel, TripAdvisor, Expedia Local Expert, Classic Vacations and eLong. Expedia, Inc.'s companies operate more than 50 global points of sale with sites in North America, South America, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Expedia, Inc. was recently added to the S&P 500 index. For more information, visit http://www.expediainc.com/ (NASDAQ: EXPE).
About Expedia CruiseShipCenters
Established in 1987, CruiseShipCenters International Inc. is one of North America's leading cruise vacation specialists. Rebranded Expedia' CruiseShipCenters' in 2007, the company delivers outstanding customer service and value through its network of 100 retail locations, a team of 1,500 professionally-trained cruise consultants, and a searchable online database of more than 10,000 cruise vacations. In 2006 and 2007, the company was the winner of the Canadian Franchise Association's Award of Excellence which recognizes the top franchise system in the country. For more information, please visit http://www.cruiseshipcenters.ca/. Expedia and Expedia.com are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Expedia, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. Classic Vacations is either a trademark or registered trademark of Classic Vacations, LLC in the U.S. and/or other countries. hotels.com is either a trademark or registered trademark of hotels.com, L.P., a subsidiary of hotels.com in the U.S. and/or other countries. Hotwire is either a trademark or registered trademark of Hotwire, Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries. TripAdvisor is either a trademark or registered trademark of TripAdvisor, LLC in the U.S. and/or other countries. Other logos or product and company names mentioned herein may be the property of their respective owners.