Case Study: Boundary Ranch Enjoys The Ease of Online Bookings

By Breanna Lawlor

Operator HighlightsOperator Highlights

Picture yourself nestled in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, exploring a vast, unspoiled wilderness – on horseback. With its towering peaks, alpine lakes and unspoiled meadows, this is where Boundary Ranch calls home. 

As an adventure horseback riding operation, Boundary Ranch offers guests trail rides and backcountry multi-day adventures.

For over 80 years, Boundary Ranch has specialized in pack trips throughout Kananaskis Country. With online bookings for horseback tours, 1-2 hour trail rides, surf and saddle adventures, canoe trail rides and even white-water rafting, there’s an activity for everybody. The mountain peaks and picturesque views surrounding the property attract visitors from all over the world.

In the 1930s, Haylie’s grandpa, Alvin Guinn, gathered wild horses in the Kananaskis Range of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Their first summer had them living in and managing the business from trapper tents and teepees with just 15 horses.

Guinn Family History of Horseback Adventures

Today, guests enjoy a taste of the remote wilderness with ease by taking care of the way-finding, food sourcing and four-hoofed transportation. Boundary Ranch inspires opportunities for guests to re-connect with family and friends with a digital detox of sorts. And, the team shares a strong connection to history and tradition while continuing to foster warm, western-inspired hospitality among visitors.

Additionally, Boundary Ranch has hosted some popular film actors and several of their horses have starred in films. In fact, both the Revenant and Inception were filmed in the area. And, in 2003, they hosted the G8 Summit with media staying on location and political leaders visiting the property. 

We caught up with Haylie Guinn, fourth-generation owner and General Manager of Boundary Ranch. She shares how they’ve seen an increase in online bookings with Checkfront and how an online booking system has helped them continue to grow.

Young Girl with Horse at Boundary Ranch

“It’s just a beautiful place in the world. It’s quiet. People can come to enjoy the mountains and get out on horseback and see it from a different side.

When you’re on the horse, you get to enjoy it all as you go. I find that they just really get to enjoy the backcountry and being in the mountains.”

Haylie Guinn, Owner, Boundary Ranch
Horseback Trail Ride

Taking bookings by hand

Before finding an online booking solution, you might say Boundary Ranch was doing things by the book – literally. Prior to using Checkfront, they were taking bookings with pen and paper. So, one of their biggest hurdles was the lack of having an accurate way to view their multiple bookings and guests. 

Since they already had a website, people could call and speak with staff to secure their trip. However, when it came to booking a trail ride or backcountry adventure, it took a lot of time and effort with guests on the telephone. Staff found this especially tough when, in the middle of they became super busy, the booking process was slow and made it challenging for the team to calculate upcoming bookings. 

Before we had Checkfront, we ended up having to do all the bookings, manually – by hand in a book.

Nothing was on the computer or anything like that. And, you know, we had a paper copy and that was it

Haylie Guinn, General Manager, Boundary Ranch

Haylie recalls even counting the number of horses to gauge whether they had enough for booked guests. And, with approximately 100 head of horses; a small herd of buffalo; one donkey, Iggy and one mule, named Idget – that’s a lot of animals to keep track of manually! 

Horseback Wagon Ride in Kananaskis Country

Finding the best booking system for their business 

With a variety of trips, tours and guided adventures, it was important to be able to easily manage bookings. Thankfully, Haylie and her team didn’t have to look too far when it came to choosing an online booking system before deciding on Checkfront.

Through their partnership with Adventure Hub – a group of activity providers in the area – already using Checkfront for their online bookings, it made sense for Backcountry Ranch to saddle up, too. What made it attractive, was having the ability for Checkfront to integrate directly on their website, without sending guests somewhere else.

Plus, with more customers willing and even preferring to book online, this freed up her team up to assist guests who needed assistance over the phone.

So, whether guests book on Adventure Hub or direct, staff would still receive the booking information instantly. An added benefit for guests booking online through Checkfront is seeing a snapshot of all the activities available to book in the Kananaskis Valley. 

Online bookings with Adventure Hub, couple on horseback

For Haylie, one perk of having Checkfront as their online booking system is with the easy-to-use tracking system. Since they receive commissions based on those bookings hosted on the Adventure Hub website, it simplifies the process on the backend. Additionally, if the team had any questions, they could reach out to Checkfront’s support team for help.

“The [Checkfront] staff really helped us understand how, how to utilize it and how to set it up. The system itself is just easy to follow. There’s a lot of helpful things you can just click on which helps you set it up pretty easily.”

Haylie Guinn, General Manager, Boundary Ranch

The benefit of Checkfront for online bookings 

Once they had online bookings set up, they noticed an immediate increase in bookings along with improved efficiency by taking bookings and payments online. They also love how guests can booking at any time and can plan their trips on mobile, too.

A major perk of having Checkfront as their booking system is how it helps them to stay organized and keep track of available horses. With having an ability to manage inventory, Checkfront allows Boundary Ranch to track bookings, which means they’re not overselling. In addition, it supports their partnership with Adventure Hub and frees up time previously spent booking guests over the phone.

So, as Boundary Ranch welcomes new visitors year after year, they continue the tradition of guiding pack trips and outfitting guests seeking the beauty of Kananaskis Country. For a family-run business, having Checkfront as their online booking system gives them the opportunity to provide every guest with an incredible experience.

Adventure Hub Bookings with Checkfront

So, what’s the impact been for Haylie and her team at Boundary Ranch now that they offer online bookings?

As a family-run operation, they’ve benefited from their partnership with Adventure Hub and growing their market. Checkfront also helps by simplifying the commission process for them by making bookings easily visible.

Now that we have Checkfront, it’s opened up a huge possibility. Bookings are so much easier. It just works a lot better for our guests as well. And, everybody can quickly do a booking online themselves now.

Haylie Guinn, General Manager, Boundary Ranch
3 Riders on Horseback at Sunset

Having welcomed her first daughter in 2019, Haylie says she hopes to run the ranch for more years to come. Haylie feels a sense of pride, as one of the half a dozen female-led businesses in the area, knowing how more larger-scale ranch operations are being run by women. This, she credits the importance of online bookings with for their continued growth.

For a business that thrives in guiding people by horseback in the outdoors, Checkfront has allowed them to boost their bookings, enhance the guest experience and minimize their workload. 

This video interview was captured in August of 2019 on location at Boundary Ranch and was created by Shannon P.

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