Having disposed of Torquay in the semi-finals, the Robins walked out at Wembley for a League Two final which they lost 2-0 to Crewe.
And Yates hopes that will stand them in good stead this time around as they prepare for a semi-final first leg against Northampton at Sixfields on Thursday night.
"Last year's experience will hopefully have done us some good," he said. "We can prepare and plan properly for this and draw on our experience from that but it's essentially a different group, a different team, against different opposition.
"It's just how you handle it. People say it's a lottery but we're in there with a chance and we're not looking beyond Thursday at this moment in time."
Cheltenham won both league meetings against the Cobblers this season, 3-2 at home and 1-0 at Whaddon Road, but Yates admits they will count for nothing ahead of their play-off encounters.
"We had two positive results against them and they were very tough games that could have gone either way, but we deserved to win both games," he said.
"But nothing in the past will influence Thursday night or Sunday. It will just be about making sure we turn up and perform well."