Instead of one big feature to announce today we wanted to bring you an update on some of the small changes we’ve introduced recently.
Previously with bookings you’ve been able to have your users to choose from a range of predefined uses to let the yard and others know what they’ll be doing in that booking slot.
You can now add additional questions to the predefined uses you’ve setup for a facility. This can be used for whatever information you need e.g. to ask people when they’re making a booking for a riding lesson to list which instructor they’ll be using.
Facility policies allow you to control how far in advance your customers can book a facility for. This is great for enforcing yard policy and cutting down on missed bookings.
With this said there are cases where you want to allow people to book further ahead than your standard policy allows. For example when they want to book the school to correspond with a riding lesson with an external instructor.
To support this we’ve added a new type of Facility Policy - Open With Restricted Use. This allows the facility to be open for bookings for longer than your base policy but then restrict these bookings to only the uses you want to allow (e.g. a riding lesson).
Composite bookings are great for encapsulating the multiple individual bookings required for a complex service (e.g when an instructor, school and everything must be available to order the service).
These by default take into account the ‘Facility Exceptions’ on each dependant facility. This is in general a good thing but there are cases when it might not be wanted. To help with this you can now set the parent facility/service to ignore facility exceptions on the dependent facilities. This is set in the admin panel for the facility/service.
As time has passed and At The Yard has grown the Control Panel has evolved. As such after consultation with our yards we have renamed it to dashboard. We believe this better reflects the content contained within and will make it clearer to the users going forward.
We have just released two updates to the Booking system in At The Yard. The first, exclusive bookings which brings the ability for you and your users to exclusively book a facility for a horse. The second, multi slot bookings to make it quicker and easier for users to book extended sessions in a facility.
To make the most of the facilities you provide many yards allow multiple horses to use a facility at the same time. At The Yard’s social features means your customers cam see what others are doing with their horse, letting them decide if it’s a suitable time to join in or if the need to wait for another slot.
However there are times when a horse must have the facility to itself, an exclusive booking. The most common example of this being a riding lesson with an external instructor which typically requires the entire school so not to interrupt the lesson.
There are two different ways to set up exclusive bookings. The first is to simply allow users to choose when they want to make one. This can be done by going to the facility in the admin panel and checking the ‘Allow users to book exclusively’ checkbox.
Once setup the users will see a new option (shown above/to the side) when booking that will allow them to make it an exclusive booking.
The second way of setting up exclusive bookings allows you as a yard owner/manager a bit more control. It works by integrating with the defined uses for a facility. A new option called Exclusive Booking? is now present when making/editing a defined use. By checking this option it will make any booking for that specific defined use automatically an exclusive booking, all without any extra user interaction.
This allows you to offer the facility exclusively when required whilst stopping users from just choosing to have exclusive use of a facility either excessively or unnecessarily.
The second new feature called Multi Slot Bookings allows for bookings to be easily made which span multiple booking slots. The maximum length of these bookings is defined by the Maximum allowed bookings in a row value set for the facility in the admin panel.
When a multi slot booking is available to a user they’ll see an Extend Booking button whilst making a booking, When clicked it extends the length of the booking by one slot length. It automatically checks the availability before offering the extension and if it’s possible it’ll allow to user to extend the booking more than once (up to the allowed number of bookings in a row).
This is also available for members of staff when making bookings on behalf of the users and will be coming to the kiosk view soon.
Making At The Yard easy to use is something we’re always working to improve. Today’s update represents a huge improvement to the experience of our new customers setting up At The Yard for the first time.
We’re announcing our new Yard Setup Wizard. This new feature will help get new yards up and running in At The Yard in record time. It allows you to setup the following in a matter of minutes:
Take a look at the video below to see just how easy it can be to get At The Yard up and running for your yard.
If recent events have taught us anything, its that being able to quickly and easily distribute information to your customers is highly important. To help with this we’ve developed our latest new feature, called simply Notices.
Simple but effective, we’ve built Notices to cover a wide range of scenarios at your yard. These include:
For each notice you publish you’ll be able to decide who will see the notice, optionally include a checkbox to get their response and even mandate that they have to agree before proceeding (great for T&Cs updates).
Then, as a yard owner, you’ll receive insights for each notice you publish. Meaning it’s quick and easy to keep track of who’s yet to get the latest update about the yard.
By design we’ve made Notices incredibly simple for your customers. Whenever they visit the control panel, if a new notice has been published, they will automatically see a simple popup (shown below).
In this popup they’ll see all the latest notices that they’ve yet to acknowledge. Each notice will be displayed on it’s own row and depending on the choices you’ve made they may also see a checkbox allowing them to choose their response.
When they’re ready they just click on Acknowledge. That’s all there is to it.
Actually creating the notices is nearly as easy as it is for the users to read and acknowledge them. To start, go to the Notices menu item under the Admin menu section.
You’ll see an outline of the notices you’ve created and the option to create a new one. The new notice form is shown below to the right.
You’ll be able to name the notice and fill in the content that makes up the notice itself. Once you’ve filled that in there are a few other options for you to choose from.
Reports are the end product of the notice system. They allow you to see an overview of how your customers have responded.
The report is broken down into two parts. Part 1 shows the users who have acknowledged (filled in) the notice and part 2 shows those who haven’t.
Within the Filled section you’ll see all the users who’ve filled it in along with other details such as their response and the time at which they responded. You can also filter by the value of the response.
On their own the reports allow you to keep track on the responses from your customers. However to extend their utility we’ve built an Export to CSV feature. With this the possibilities are endless, from doing your own analysis in other software (such as a spreadsheeting tool) through to exporting data to a 3rd party system (e.g marketing platforms) you can use the data however you need and take it to wherever it’s needed.
Notices is an example of a feature that we’ve built in part to support yards should the worst happen and some version of ‘lock down’ returns. We’ve got more ideas in the pipeline which we believe will help, but we’re also open to recommendations. If you have any suggestions please feel free to get in touch with us via our contact page. We’re open to considering any ideas you may have to help yards in these difficult times.
This blog has been very quiet since our last update back in March. Since then due to Covid-19 the world has changed for all of us! And so, it seemed appropriate to issue a general update here on the blog. To begin with we are all thankfully safe and well. The majority of the work that makes up At The Yard can be done remotely. Apart from now mostly talking to customers on the phone or via video conference instead of meeting you in person, the day to day work has remained mostly the same.
As you’d expect we’ve been speaking to yards who have had to make difficult choices to maintain the safety of their staff, liveries and customers. They’ve taken all sorts of actions from highly strict yard visiting schedules through to the yards who have had to make the incredibly difficult choice to restrict access completely during the worst part of the pandemic. This has been hard for them on both a personal level and as a business.
It is, in part, for this reason we’ve not been updating the blog. We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes helping our existing customers as well as some of the new yards who have got in contact with us during the pandemic. We made the choice to prioritise product development and customer support over any blog posts or social media - a choice we’ve been happy with but we’d be lying if we didn’t say we were excited to get back to it!
Thankfully the world has begun to return to the ‘new normal’. And happily with the new normal came the return of riding, teaching lessons and other equine activities (all be it with some restrictions).
It has been incredibly gratifying to see how the product we’ve built over the years has been able to help during these difficult times. Like all of you we don’t know what will happen in the world over the coming months and so we are going to continue to develop features that will be of use should the worst happen and some version of ‘lock down’ returns.
We’ll be announcing these along with other features in the next few weeks.
Until then keep safe,
Managing Director of With A Dot Ltd
Makers of At The Yard