How Vivid Tours pairs online bookings with their wine touring business

By Erick Tomaliwan

Operator HighlightsOperator Highlights

Woman pouring wine on Vivid Wine Tour

What is Vivid Tours

Living in Kelowna has its perks. Proximity to the lake, rolling hills and scenic vineyards surrounding the cityscape —this is where Vivid Tours shines. A wine touring company built by Kevlynn Loubier, Vivid Tours welcomes wine aficionados to the sunny paradise in search of thrilling flights and flavours.  

As a seasonal business, Vivid Tours’ season typically runs from May to September, giving the team approximately five months to tour guests around the local vineyards.

But life wasn’t always as balmy. For this young company, just as they were getting up and running, COVID-19 hit.

After establishing the business in early 2020, they had to cope with a near shutdown of tours in the region. Kevlynn shares how “when we started, we had one van, where we could accommodate 12 guests on individual wine tours.”

Two years later, Kevlynn admits that the operation looks drastically different. They now have 12 X’d their capacity and find themselves one of the busiest companies in the region. 

“We just did our biggest month ever with over $230k in Sales. To put this in perspective, around this time last year (2021), we were doing $20-$30k per month. 

– Kevlynn Loubier, Vivid Wine Tours

Checkfront helped them scale quickly by going from one to 12 vans (in under two years, and through a pandemic, no less).

Kevlynn’s family previously ran a Fishing Lodge and used Checkfront for that business, so this is their second business with Checkfront.

Checkfront online booking workflow

As the administrator on the account, Kevlynn can make changes to individual accounts. She also has a reservation team of four staff members coordinating bookings for guests and managing requests. 

The tour guides that run the wine tours don’t need to be experts in Checkfront, but, they rely on features like the platform’s Daily Manifest to know what’s happening as they prepare to guide each tour. Through it, they are able to access and view bookings at a glance to know who is coming on each tour, their payment status, any additional guest details and if they have signed their waiver.

Growing your business amid a pandemic

Naturally, growing a business is not without its challenges. And COVID-19 was a big one for Kevlynn and her team. Kelowna has plenty of wine tour operators and there seems to be enough business to go around.

Kevlynn’s team was faced with weathering the uncertainties that come with a pandemic on top of looking for ways to boost existing activities while getting creative with new offerings. She credits having Checkfront as key for their momentum and scalability through this period.

Going from one tour operating van to 12 in just over two years meant being able to rely on the fundamental capabilities of their booking system while learning to leverage the bonus features available to them.

Flexible solutions that drive new revenue opportunities

On any given day, Vivid’s 12 tour guides can easily pull up their daily bookings through Checkfront’s mobile app. Kevlynn credits this as a huge advantage of not having to individually pull up each day’s worth of bookings on a desktop computer. 

She also comments on the ability to have one-off Item Events as being valuable to their business. This resource gives them additional revenue in the off-season especially. Around the holidays, Kevlynn and her team create a one-off event that doesn’t impact the existing pricing slated for their tours on their website. 

To create an Item Event, they choose a select date and set the designated price for the unique event. They then push it out to thousands of customers via their newsletter and social media campaigns. They now like to run big Sales events twice per year, and Checkfront gives them the tools to make this happen. 

Scaling with solutions that work

For Kevlynn and her team, Checkfront has been key for the business and a vital part of their ability to scale so quickly. As a seasonal business, Vivid Tours is no stranger to getting creative with their offerings. What began as a wine tours has morphed into rentals, shuttles and a variety of other tours.

For them, Checkfront’s booking tools and display options have been a massive time-saver. Add to that features that increase the flexibility of their offerings without impacting the guest experience and it’s no wonder why they’ve remained loyal Checkfront patrons for the past eight years.

To be able to turn off our phones and drive all bookings through our website. That’s been a real game-changer.

– Kevlynn Loubier, Vivid Wine Tours

Final Thoughts 

Any tour business with the desire to scale needs a reliable booking system. Not only does this alleviate much of the administrative burden many tour operators face, but it increases the ease of booking for guests. 

Having a booking widget on your website makes it easy and simple for guests to book when they want, freeing you up to focus on providing a top notch guest experience and ultimately, growing your business. 

Curious to give it a try and see if Checkfront works for your experience-based business?

Take your business to the next level

Online bookings. Flexible pricing. Outstanding support.