Case Study: Woodhouse Day Spa

Dynamic Templates Save Time for Growing U.S. Franchisor

Woodhouse Day Spa Realizes Cost And Time Benefits

The south Texas town of Victoria is about 100 miles from a major market. Eighteen years ago, founder and CEO Jeni Garrett, then only 21 years old, started Woodhouse Day Spa’s flagship operation there. Two years later, Woodhouse had its first franchise in Pennsylvania.

Rapid Growth

  • From a single location in Victoria, TX, Woodhouse has grown to 63 locations
  • Ambitious expansion into competitive markets
  • Number of locations tripled in eight years, with more planned

Growing Pains

  • Distribution of marketing material was becoming very complex, expensive, and labor intensive
  • Difficulty controlling brand identity amid rapid growth

“We targeted secondary markets back then,” where spas might have been more difficult to find, says chief marketing officer Paul Erdelt. Today, its ambitious expansion plans are based on more sophisticated demographic research. “You’ll find us in major markets and suburbs now,” he explains: 63 of them, to be exact. Woodhouse’s spa locations have tripled in the past eight years, and the company plans to add another dozen franchised facilities in 2019.

Web-to-print (W2P) technology from Santa Cruz Software has helped Woodhouse Day Spa to cost-effectively control its brand identity amid such rapid growth. Prior to introducing BrandingUI, “we used a franchise-oriented distribution suite with a built-in W2P tool that was rather crude,” Erdelt recalls. “Fields had to be created  in database format, then our franchisees would have to look at a preview. There was a lot of manual labor – customizing posters, emails and web graphics — which could be frustrating and took a long time. Now, they can edit right on screen.”

Woodhouse was an early adopter of the BrandingUI technology. “In the beginning, we would set up and build [our] processes, then submit changes,” he notes. “We’ve developed a great relationship with [president] Mark Hilton and his team of coders.” For Erdelt, the system’s key feature is that it runs on Adobe’s InDesign page-layout platform. (Hilton is a former Adobe executive.) “Because we are working in InDesign, there are no [type] font or related issues,” he adds. The transition is seamless.

“Great Tool” Provides ROI

In addition to ensuring graphic-design consistency, Erdelt says that another of the web-based system software’s major benefits comes in the form of saving time, especially for collateral materials and other handouts. “Content only needs to be published one time,” he says. “Just load them all up! Then franchisees can select, edit, download and print. It’s clean and easy: WYSIWYG [What You See Is What You Get]. BrandingUI has been a great tool for our franchise,” Erdelt praises, adding that the return on investment (ROI) is a no-brainer for the monthly subscription they pay. “I wouldn’t want to be without it.” Woodhouse Day Spa corporate provides a centralized marketing program to its franchisees, which operate independently. “We support our franchisees like an in-house agency,” Erdelt explains, noting that the parent organizations changes campaigns approximately every other month (six times per year) and features other promotions as well. The digital and print marketing planner for campaign kickoff announcements typically includes eight components:

  • Graphics for social-media feeds
  • Gift-with-purchase promotions
  • Posters (16×20” with two to six variations)
  • Email templates (editable for each franchise’s contract, disclaimer, pricing, etc.)
  • Website graphics and guidance
  • Separate email text and graphics for “select” packages and/or seasonal service offerings
  • Event language and graphics (“Save the Date,” for example)

“We provide a set of graphics for each campaign and distribute them through our portal [web] site,” Erdelt says. “Some larger franchisees also may hire marketers,” he points out. How much of a workflow time-saver is BrandingUI? For Woodhouse, it’s the difference between a few days’ work versus a few hours for multiple people, according to Erdelt. “Without the BrandingUI editor, we’d need to hire more [corporate] staff. I’m not exaggerating,” he insists. BrandingUI’s intuitive design also is a side benefit when Woodhouse’s HQ team calls on prospective franchisees. “These typically are entrepreneurial people coming out of the corporate world or retiring out of an existing business, looking for opportunities,” Erdelt explains. “As part of our marketing presentation, we show them a demo of our creation/distribution platform, and I feel that BrandingUI gives us a distinct competitive advantage.” In this scenario, “simple is good,” he concludes.

“Without the BrandingUI editor, we’d need to hire more [corporate] staff. I’m not exaggerating”