Interview with Ms. Anne Biging, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Healing Hotels of the World
Healing Hotels of the World is an outstanding global brand of carefully vetted luxury hotels and resorts with a focus on holistic health and wellbeing. With more than 100 partner hotels worldwide, Healing Hotels of the World is an authentic and trusted source for holistic health in the hospitality field. Member hotels and resorts offer individual consultation for those who want to improve their health and lifestyle during a quality health vacation in beautiful surroundings. Each property is located in a natural environment, incorporating sustainability into their operation, is socially sensitive and embraces holistic health – meaning to understand the body/mind relationship with respect to health and healing.
This wonderful treasure for health-seekers today was originated from a lady’s vision of helping people change their lives for the better. Ms. Anne Biging, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Healing Hotels of the World, grew up in post-war Germany and thus developed from early on a strong sense that healing can indeed happen and that life should not be filled with fear and depression. Anne learned about health and well-being through the study of yoga, meditation, ancient Indian scriptures and several healing techniques. After traveling the world as a journalist and author, she successfully established her career in international tourism destination marketing and hotel consulting and then co-founded the Healing Hotels of the World. SpaChina interviewed Anne, a wise and joyful lady. She tells us more about the mysterious Healing Hotels and why people need healing experiences.
What made you decide to establish “Healing Hotels of the World”? What is the philosophy and aim of it?
Many years of traveling as a journalist and author opened my eyes to the need of places that give you space to relax, learn, recharge and help you to get back in touch with your natural self. When I visited one of the first destination spas fully dedicated to healing, the Ananda in the Himalayas in India, I realized the value of these kind of hotels for the individual as well as change-makers for a new holistic lifestyle. This is when I decided to create Healing Hotels of the World, to promote this kind of hotels and to set quality standards.
The philosophy of Healing Hotels of the World is to stand for a true holistic lifestyle, which encompasses the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual aspect as well as our relation to the outer world. This includes social and environmental aspects. We let the world know that there are hotels and resorts where you can improve your life through holistic services, we set quality standards for these places and help them to enable the ultimate transformative journey for the guest.
It is our aim to reach as many people as possible to help them change their lives for the better and thus be a change agent for the betterment of the world. We know that Healing Hotels of the World and its partner hotels will become more and more necessary in the future, to counterbalance our modern lifestyle. As the only global brand for hotels and resorts with holistic services, we are the hub for this development. We also want to ensure the highest quality and continuous development in the services of these hotels.
What kinds of hotels are qualified to become members of “Healing Hotels of the World”? What are your selection criteria?
Hotels and resorts that offer holistic personalized guest journeys to improve their health and wellbeing are qualified to become a member of Healing Hotels of the World. The membership is by invitation only. It is subject to an evaluation process. All applications have to be assessed by our team in the German headquarters.
A Healing Hotel is not only a hotel with a spa or healing center – everything about the hotel is completely healing. Our criteria encompass all aspects of the hotel, guest rooms, services, nutrition, healing offerings, hotel management, its engagement for the community and the environment etc.
Do you offer any support to your partner hotel members in the aspects of operating, marketing, training and etc. in order to deliver better healing experience to guests and help the hotels achieve more revenue as well?
We offer consultancy to our partner hotels or hotels that want to become a member in Healing Hotels of the World. Quality is a key factor in offering a successful transformational stay for the guest. We consult in all areas of the hotel/resort. As we have a unique global expertise, we know what is important and where the challenges are. A well-functioning Healing Hotel will always be successful as it brings the right results to the guests. With our Healing Hotels of the World brand, the hotels get a worldwide exposure and positioning so that they are recognized as high quality Healing Hotels.
What are the differences between European/U.S. and Chinese guests when selecting healing hotels?
Of course there are many differences because of the cultural roots. Usually people are seeking something in other countries because they cannot find it at home. Interestingly, young people seem to have adopted a global culture so that they are the ones leading the new healing markets. Finding purpose in life plays a big role for them; they are looking for spirituality, meditation, yoga and also learning. For them, healthy nutrition is already part of their lifestyle.
Naturally, there is a difference in expectations regarding the culture of the guest. Chinese people and Americans have a shy approach to any wet areas, while Europeans hop around naked from sauna to sauna. Chinese guests are seeking their own spiritual roots but are rather quiet about it versus any Californian who meditates every day and loves to talk about it. In terms of alternative medicine, I think that most people from all countries are curious to find out more about it. And the fitness trend is a global one of course…
What kinds of healing hotels do you expect to see in China?
I think that China will merge into a primary market for healing globally in the future. For thousands of years, healing has always been deeply rooted in their culture and now it is coming back to the forefront. They understand healing in such a beautiful natural way and work earnestly on the depth and authenticity of the programs. They are very courageous in offering healing programs to the MICE market and also private guests.
What is your views on the developing potential of healing resorts and hotels? Do you think people today and in the future will show more preference for them instead of luxury or other themed ones?
The tourism for health and healing is growing twice as fast as normal tourism. The need for a healing vacation experience and learning how to lead a holistic lifestyle will grow in the same amplitude as our world gets digitalized, since it is the necessary counterbalance to our modern lifestyle. The true new luxury is to find health, wellbeing, happiness and a deeper purpose in life. This is what a Healing Hotel can offer.
Are you so far satisfied with what “Healing Hotels of the World” have done concerning a true improvement of individual’s physical and mental well-being, and maybe more importantly, their awareness and establishment of a long-term holistic healthy lifestyle?
We are completely satisfied with the feedback of guests who have visited partner hotels of Healing Hotels of the World. This feedback reaches from “you have saved my life”, and “you have changed my life for the better” to “I will come again and again”. It is a continuous process to establish a long-term holistic lifestyle. To foster this learning we have established an annual conference for the leaders of this progressive new lifestyle, the HEALING SUMMIT, and we educate the growing number of people, who are interested in a healing lifestyle, through our online magazine “JUST BREATHE MAG”.
As a leader of the global healing campaign, how do you personally live a holistic wellbeing life?
I have always been a seeker of the truth and have tried many things in my life that I thought would lead me to a greater understanding of life. For the past 25 years I live a life of daily meditation and yoga, healthy nutrition, focus on sleep and on becoming a better person myself. Kindness, joy, treating others with love and respect and tons of gratitude are my best friends!