Franchise Development

By Susan Hern, The Woodhouse Day Spa

The consumer trends that are set to bolster the wellness industry’s upcoming growth.

Shift Towards Health-Conscious Consumer Habits

The pandemic caused us all to reflect on our health as individuals and as a collective, pushing consumers towards a more health-conscious mindset in their purchases. Consumers are more willing to invest in their health after seeing the effects that isolation and unbalanced lifestyles had on many of us this past year. As a result, the demand for day spas and their treatment options to replenish and nourish one’s health has grown and will continue to grow as customers ease back into their pre-pandemic habits and grow more comfortable with in-person services. As of October 2020, and according to Mind Body Online, only 27 percent of Americans had not received a beauty or grooming service since the pandemic began, and due to the vaccine rollout, bookings have surged in 2021. After more than a year of being restricted in the ways in which we were able to care for and treat our bodies and minds, consumers are eager to return to these services.

One trend to keep in mind as we work to meet this demand in the most efficient and seamless way possible is consumers’ attention to hygiene and cleanliness standards. Unsurprisingly, awareness of safety protocols is at an all-time high and has now become a top priority for most customers when making their decisions, with Mind Body

…27 percent of Americans had not received a beauty or grooming service since the pandemic began…”

Online reporting 36 percent of customers planning to go to the professional with the safest environment, whether or not it was their original pre-pandemic business. Therefore, it is imperative that professionals in the spa and wellness space not only continue to maintain high standards for cleanliness, but also strengthen their communications of these protocols to their customers in order to ensure the measures being taken and facilitate a comfortable return to their spa habits. We continue to make sanitation our highest priority and have taken the comfort of our customers into consideration with our mask-friendly policy that offers our guests the choice to wear a mask. Because relaxation is the goal, we prioritize communication of these policies and cleaning standards in order to ensure that our customers have no doubts or fears about their wellness in our facilities.

Heightened Awareness of Chronic Health Disorders and Mental Health Care

According to The Global Wellness Institute, the size of the mental wellness market now outweighs the spa industry. As a result, spas are turning their attention to providing guests with more than just a day of relaxation and now offering the ultimate wellness experience. Some spas are adding more wellness features to their services, as well as immunity boosters, in an effort to cater to this growing concern for mental and internal health. The growing awareness of mental health and chronic health disorders that began even before the pandemic has only been further fueled by the learnings of the COVID health crisis and customers and brands alike are no longer willing to ignore or neglect underlying mental health issues and their impact. Wellness and spa brands will benefit from leaning into this already existing call for self-care services.

This echoes one of our core principles at The Woodhouse Day Spa, which is to provide what we call “affordable luxury” to all of our customers. This is an all-encompassing experience that helps our customers maintain a routine that benefits their mental health by visiting the spa on a regular basis, rather than seeing a spa treatment as an unattainable special occasion. Framing spa visits as an essential part of self-care for mental and physical health maintenance is key in continuing to grow and encourage these habits and attract customers.

Increase in Wellness-Centric Offerings Across the Industry

Consumers are looking to address their health and wellness concerns head-on and benefit from the ability to receive both their spa treatments and their aesthetic services within one location. With that in mind, we recently opened a location in The Bottleworks Hotel in Indianapolis that is our brand’s first location in the country with a halotherapy salt room. This room has a unique microclimate that is known to provide skin and respiratory benefits, while rejuvenating in a calming zen atmosphere. These kinds of treatments will continue to grow in popularity as consumers are increasingly interested in cultivating their internal and mental health, as opposed to simply treating their physical and external self.

In such an everchanging and innovative industry such as the spa and wellness industry, it’s important to keep an eye on growing trends and new technologies. We’re always looking for new ways to treat our guests and remain at the forefront of the industry and considering additional technologies and procedures such as cryotherapy, infrared saunas, microchanneling, and other treatments that we see as a fit for our guest profile. Leaders in this industry are those who do not shy away from change and are always looking for ways to better the experience of their customers and employees.

Customer Demand Trends

Numbers from 2021 so far reported by Gloss Genius have shown that not only are consumers booking more services, but that they’re also booking multiple services at once and trying services they’ve never used before. This research overall shows an increased willingness to try new technologies and offerings. Demand has increased in general and is causing an expansion of new technologies as consumers are eager to catch up on all the innovations they were missing during the pandemic. After isolation, many are looking to broaden their knowledge of health and wellness options available to them. The return in demand is inevitable, and now the task at hand is keeping up with the innovation that consumers crave.

As a franchise system, we have planned well in advance for this boost in numbers in order for our franchise owners to be able to lean on our system for support. One of our goals for this year is to be better at 100 spas than we were at 30, as we continue to expand. For franchise systems that experience strong growth, it’s important to ensure that there are systems in place to support stability throughout that growth. To achieve this goal, we have added Field Marketing Manager and Regional Support Managers strategically located across the country.

The return in demand is inevitable, and now the task at hand is keeping up with the innovation that consumers crave.”

Our network is a family of truly dedicated franchise partners who have a desire to make a difference in the lives of their guests each and every day, by providing them an exceptional spa experience, and post-pandemic, this passion is no different. Our owners have learned so much from withstanding the hardships of last year, and with those learnings our system is now stronger than ever going forward to meet this renewed demand.


Susan Hern is COO of The Woodhouse Day Spa. Susan is leading the company through its next phase of innovation and growth, with a focus on franchise development, spa services, operations, marketing, communications, and learning and development. For more information and franchise opportunities for International Franchise Association (IFA) franchisor member The Woodhouse Day Spa, visit franchise.org/franchise-opportunities/the-woodhouse-day-spa