Introducing Virtual Audio Attendances

If you follow our blog regularly, you know we believe most software companies in our industry have started serving themselves more than their customers, leading them to turn their customers into inventory they sell on their marketplace, as they work to drive down the price of your offerings, generating a race to the bottom.

We believe yoga studios are the marketplace, that they need a software company that honors their place in the ecosystem and is constantly creating tools to help them provide more value to their students, while providing them with modern technology tools to help them compete.

If Mindbody is a deals engine, Tula Software is a value engine.

I’m thrilled to announce today what I feel is the perfect expression of the beliefs above, with a new feature we’re calling Virtual Audio Attendances. This feature allows you to attach an audio recording to any event in your studio, allowing any of your students with unlimited credits to listen to the audio. The aim of this feature is to give your students another reason to become, and stay, members at your studio.

The idea of recording a class, in and of itself, of course isn’t all that innovative. Podcasts are everywhere and there’s no shortage of content being delivered over the internet, whether that be youtube videos, or other online video marketplaces.

What makes this feature unique is that it’s tied in directly with our credit system, allowing you to give only your members access to these files. And because the recordings are of you and teachers from your studio, the other thing that’s different is the intimacy it affords your students. This feature isn’t necessarily intended to help make your studio accessible to a global audience (though you could certainly use it for that). Instead, this feature is designed with your members in mind, allowing them to take their home studio with them when they go out of town for Thanksgiving.

A statement on the industry

As much as this feature is a statement on what we think is wrong with some of our competitors, it’s also an expression of our belief of what’s wrong with the industry. We believe filtered images, and moving images often lead to a product focused more around the teacher and how they look than the student and how they feel. An excellent yoga instructor can queue you with words alone. And when it comes to the delivery of yoga instruction, we feel the audio of an instructor from a student’s home studio provides a superior experience than video of someone they’ve never met.

Release phases

We are releasing this feature in two distinct phases:

Beta release: In our alpha release customers can upload audio files to any event, and any logged in student can listen to the recording of that event from the online calendar. Once an event is over, if it has an audio file attached to it, a “listen” link will appear where the registration link normally appears.

Public Release: Once we’ve been in beta for a few weeks we’ll make things public at which point the listen capabilities will be tied to the credits system, allowing only students with unlimited credits to access the voice files.

From there, we’ll observe usage patterns of our customers and enhance the feature like we do with everything else we build. Our intention is to eventually tie the listening of audio files fully into the credits system, allowing you to charge a half credit for example, to listen to the audio and log a virtual attendance. For now however, this feature is intended to be a direct way of providing your members with additional value.

Fast, Powerful and Easy to use

Like everything else we build, this feature is powerful while being super easy to use. Once enabled on your account, you’ll see a new audio icon on each event page. Clicking the audio icon allows you to upload a file to that event.

 Click the audio icon

Click the audio icon

 Upload your audio

Upload your audio

 Done

Done

Once you’ve uploaded your audio file, students who are logged in will be able to listen to the class audio from your calendar. As a reminder, with our initial release any logged in student will be able to listen to the files, but shortly this will be locked down to students with unlimited credits.

 Click

Click

 Listen

Listen

Because everything is browser based, your students don’t need to download an app, create a new account or do anything different. All they need to do is visit your calendar and search through past events for any that have a listen link associated with them. When we come out of beta we’ll also be providing you with a new widget so you can easily pull only your classes with audio attached to them.

Studio empowerment

The Tula system empowers studios in ways that no other company is doing. We’re excited about the release of this new feature and look forward to sharing and hearing tips about how to create quality audio recordings. Speaking of, we want to extend a special thanks to Rhiannon Kirby, Studio Manager and Resident Yoga Instructor at Tula Yoga Studio, who has been working with us to play around with recordings, do different audio tests, etc. We look forward to sharing what we’ve learned about recording audio in the days and weeks ahead, and in the meantime if you’d like an invite to our beta release of this feature please email us at help@tulasoftware.com.

More coming soon!

New and Improved Student On-boarding and Waiver Signing

Over the past couple months, we’ve announced a number of significant improvements to our electronic waivers system. We’re happy to announce yet another update to our waivers system that now eliminates the need for an iPad.

For years students have been able to add themselves and sign waivers while in the studio by way of our native iOS apps. The problem for some of our customers though, was that this required having an iPad.

I’m happy to say that today we now have a browser based version of our student on-boarding page, allowing our customers to onboard new students and gain waiver acceptance quickly and easily using any device, whether it’s an iPad, Android table, laptop or desktop.

Accessing the Onboard Page

You’ll see now when you click the “add” icon that you can either add a new person yourself as always, or “Accept Waiver”. When you choose this option, we’ll pop open a new page with fields for your students to fill out, your waiver, and an acceptance checkbox.

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We’re thrilled with this update we’re able to make the waivers functionality to everyone, regardless of what type of hardware you choose to use for your studio.

As always we’re already busy working on even more updates and enhancements and look forward to sharing a number of exciting updates in the weeks and months ahead.

September 2018 Updates

On the heels of our big updates to the electronic waivers functionality, we took some time in September to push out a handful of small updates that make some nice improvements to Tula, as well as fixed a handful of bugs. Check them out below!

Defaulting to a pass when only one pass is available.

One of our most beloved features are the custom payment forms; they allow you to quickly and easily take payments for any kind of service, are fast and easy to use, and help you generate revenue. There was only one problem with them: if you made a payment form for only one pass, students still had to select the pass on the form, which is really an unnecessary step when there’s only one pass to begin with. So now when you make a custom payment form with only one pass, we’ll just default to that pass.

Updating Special Event Registration Logic

We had a bug that was in some cases preventing students with valid uses on special events from being able to register for their desired special event. After we investigated we learned that we were counting the pending registrations incorrectly, falsely inflating the pending registration count, which was preventing people from proceeding. This has been fixed!

Retention Center Email Creation was buggy on mobile, particularly Android

When trying to send an email via the retention center on a mobile browser, the text input was unstable and difficult to use. We updated Trix, the wonderful editor we use open sourced by the fine people at Basecamp, and all is well again.

More coming soon!

We’re always working to improve Tula, and we’ll have a bunch more announcements for you soon!

Tula Software Launches GoFund Me Campaign to raise money for Bridges Through Yoga

                      www.bridges.yoga

                    www.bridges.yoga

I'm excited to announce today that Tula Software has launched a GoFund Me campaign to support Bridges Through Yoga, an organization based in Minneapolis, MN that brings yoga to people of color, and that uses yoga as a catalyst to facilitate conversations about race. 

This campaign will run for 30 days from September 6th through October 5th. 

We're asking friends, customers, vendors, and yoga instructors we've worked with to consider helping us support Bridges Through Yoga by making donations, sharing the fundraiser with your networks, hosting donation classes, and anything else you may feel inspired to do.

This is the second fundraiser we've worked to help organize, and as I've written in the past, we hope to make fundraisers a part of our DNA - allowing us to gather as a community and make a significant, positive impact for an organization. 

I've had the pleasure of working with James Orione, the founder of Bridges Through Yoga, through producing the Minneapolis Yoga Conference. I can say with certainty that the funds we raise through this campaign will help make a positive impact in our collective community, and that they will be used well. Read more about the use of funds on the GoFund Me page

Ideas and Inspiration for Participating

To help you, and in particular our customers, find some inspiration I wanted to outline the ways in which Maile and I plan to participate in this fundraiser:

  1. We'll be making donations throughout the campaign.
  2. Maile is hosting a "donation day" on the 7th Anniversary of Tula Yoga Studio. On October 1, all classes at Tula will be donation classes, and all proceeds will go towards the GoFund Me supporting Bridges Through Yoga.
  3. We're releasing 50 heavily discounted full weekend passes to the 2019 Minneapolis Yoga Conference for $295. 15% of all sales ($45) from these passes sold will go directly to the GoFund Me.
  4. And lastly, we'll be working with Bryant Lamont and Robert Clark, the two artists who participated in the 2018MYC creating the artwork, to host an event/auction to sell the artwork they created, and here again with all proceeds going towards the GoFund Me campaign.

We're asking for your help. We need your help!

We learned a lot after we did our first fundraiser in 2016, and we hope by choosing the GoFund Me platform and making the campaign last for 30 days, that many of our customers will find a way to organize their own communities for a class, a day, or whatever is right for them, to help with this fundraiser. 

Please read more about Bridges Through Yoga and consider making a donation at https://www.gofundme.com/bridges-through-yoga

Thank you for your help and support!

 

Enhanced Waivers Functionality Now Available!

Update: 9/6/18

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This feature is no longer in beta, and can be activated at any time on the waivers settings page.

 


I'm excited to announce a big update to our Electronic Waivers functionality, which now allows your students to sign waivers in the browser when registering for classes and when purchasing passes.

On-line Acceptance

Historically, our waivers system was designed in such a way to mirror the paper and pencil process: students would sign waivers on an iPad or iPhone apps when they came into the studio for the first time. And of course, this still operates and functions in exactly the same way. 

Understandably though, many of our customers also wanted students to be able agree to their liability waivers when making payments or registering for classes. Now, our customers can optionally turn on "online acceptance". When enabled, Tula will present your students with a checkbox next to a link taking them to your electronic waiver, which they'll have to agree to before proceeding. 

 When registering...

When registering...

 When purchasing...

When purchasing...

In addition, when online acceptance is activated, we'll also require acceptance when creating an account or setting a password for the first time. And of course, we'll only present this checkbox to people when we should. Students will see the checkbox when they're logged out, or when they're logged in and they don't already have a waiver on file. Students that are logged in and already have a waiver on file won't be presented with the checkbox as they will have already agreed to your policies.

New Design

We also used this as an opportunity to enhance the design of the signed waiver PDF files themselves, adding more information about the student as well as the document id.

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Beta Period Now Open

We've decided to release this initial round of updates in a closed beta - if you'd like to begin taking advantage of this new functionality just shoot us a quick note through the in-app support channel, or send us an email and we'll activate online signatures for you.

We have a number of other enhancements around the waiver system following this one, and we look forward to showing you more updates in the weeks ahead!