Photo courtesy of Jon Harvill.
Expedia CruiseShipCenters 2014
Expedia CruiseShipCenters can handle every aspect of any vacation.
Jon Harvill was in Vancouver, British Columbia, looking for a reason to walk away and say, “No, this isn’t for me.”
He had pursued owning a franchise of Expedia CruiseShipCenters through webinars and conference calls, and up until then, he hadn’t been able to find a reason to stop.
“I couldn’t find it,” Harvill said. “I fell in love with the concept. I fell in love with the opportunity because [of] the Expedia name, the technology and the storefront, which has always been a dream of mine.”
His first job out of college was with a travel agency in Mobile, but times were changing. Airlines were deregulating, and the Internet was coming in, which made travel agencies look like a thing of the past.
His next 15 years were spent in the pharmaceutical industry, but every time he and his wife traveled, he was reminded of his love for the travel industry.
“I would tell my wife on any trip we were on, ‘I have to find a way to get back into this somehow,’” he said.
In January, he signed for his franchise and knew exactly where he wanted to put it. Harvill said he had always had his eye on his current location at the Village at Lee Branch even when it was a jewelry store. He said people will see it when they walk into Publix, Moe’s, Five Guys and the UPS Store, making it a prime location.
Now, owning his own business and traveling have created the perfect job for him.
Travel agent versus computer
Expedia CruiseShipCenters offers a variety of services that includes anything related to travel. It not only plans cruises but also creates itineraries for land travel, tours, all-inclusive reservations, air, hotel and car rentals for groups or individuals.
Harvill said they can basically book anything related to travel, and it costs nothing to have them handle it for you. The cruise centers, hotels and other booking agencies pay the agents individually on commission.
“I hear time and time again of people who are just overwhelmed at all the possibilities and all the things they have to consider,” Harvill said. “They really don’t want to do, certainly, complicated itineraries themselves.”
When you book with Expedia, you also get its top 2,000 list, which gets you the best prices or deals that are pre-negotiated by Expedia’s department in Vancouver. This provides deeper discounts for customers.
Those services also come with Expedia security. If you book online and you have a problem, you can’t turn to anyone, but Expedia is there to resolve problems.
Harvill said he booked a hotel room in Paris for a client, but when they got there the room wasn’t what it should have been. Harvill called the hotel in Paris and got his client a free upgrade and breakfast every morning.
Harvill suggests taking the time to create the vacation you want. He said you have to balance being value-minded and getting the trip you envision.
Pick your location and the non-negotiable things you have to see, where you have to stay, and how you have to travel. Then actually take the time to have that trip. Even if it takes longer to afford the trip, make it as memorable as possible.
“The fun is in the planning and leading up to it, so give yourself enough time to create the trip that is according to your dream,” Harvill said.
Jon Harvill’s favorite vacations
Cruises: An Alaskan cruise where you can take excursions such as a salmon bake, a sea plane ride to a glacier lake, and a whale-watching tour where you can actually feel the mist from the whales.
Countries: Turkey and Austria
For the winter: Europe in the winter is beautiful, snow isn’t an issue, and everything is cheaper.