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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
More coming soon!