Faeez Fadhlillah, the brainchild behind Salam Standard, explains how the online hotel reference tool for Muslim travellers caters to a lucrative tourism sector that’s growing at an exponential rate.
Salam Standard is the first online hotel reference tool dedicated to Muslim travellers.
Launched last week, the unique standard, which provides information on Muslim-friendly amenities and services available at hotels and resorts around the globe, caters to the specific accommodation requirements of Muslim travellers, who spent more than US$142 billion on tourism in 2014, according to recent Thomson Reuters research.
“With this figure set to rise to more than $233 billion in 2020, which accounts for 25% of total global travel expenditure, there is a need to provide this influential group of travellers with tourism products that make them feel at home,” said Salam Standard creator Faeez Fadhlillah, the CEO and co-founder of one of Asia Pacific’s leading travel and tourism companies, Lagisatu Travel Sdn Bhd.
“Salam Standard provides Muslim travellers with a one-of-a-kind reference tool, enabling them to choose Muslim-friendly accommodation that adheres to their Islamic principles.”
The standard is divided into three main categories – Bronze, Silver and Gold – according to the range of amenities and services each property offers Muslim guests.
For example, Bronze-standard properties must have Muslim prayer mats available and Kibblat directions (signs pointing to Mecca) in the room or be made available; Silver-rated properties must also provide a list of halal restaurants nearby and there must be no alcohol in guestroom mini bars; while accommodation with Gold status must also offer halal food certified by a recognised certification body.
Salam Standard is based on the feedback of 50,000 Muslim travellers from around the world,” revealed Fadhlillah.
“We conducted an extensive global campaign asking those surveyed what services and amenities were most important to them when travelling. The Salam Standard helps them select hotels according to this Muslim-focused criteria – no other review portal provides such comprehensive information.”
He was speaking at last week’s inaugural World Halal Travel Summit & Exhibition (WHTS15) in Abu Dhabi where he launched Salam Standard to an audience of more than 6,000 halal travel professionals who attended the event.
Here, Fadhlillah outlines his plan for Salam Standard to Travel Daily.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Salam Standard?
A: The value of the international travel market has surpassed the one-trillion-dollar mark and the Muslim travel sector accounts for more than $142 billion of this. Continued growth is anticipated with the Muslim community set to spend more than $233 billion on travel by 2020. We recognised the growing demand for information on travel destinations and hotel facilities
that cater to Muslim travellers and decided to offer this service on a global scale.
Q: Why does the travel industry need an initiative like this?
A: The travel industry needs solutions to meet current trends. The Muslim travel market is the fastest growing travel market in the world with an average growth rate of 4.79%, surpassing the world’s average growth rate of 3.8%. There are some great initiatives for Muslim travellers out there and we want to be part of this.
Q: What interest have you received in Salam Standard since it was launched?
A: The interest we have received has been overwhelming. More than 10,000 properties worldwide have already joined the Salam Standard with major international hotel chains on board including AccorHotels, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Rotana Hotels & Resorts, Anantara Hotels & Resorts, and Rixos Hotels. Indonesia’s biggest hospitality firm, the Archipelago Hotel Group, as well as Tauzia Hotel Management and Berjaya Hotels & Resorts, are also Salam Standard partners. We are very humbled by the support of the industry and travellers alike.
Q: What benefits do you offer hotels that are part of the Salam Standard?
A: Salam Standard hotels will be promoted to thousands of travel agents and NTOs who are also part of the initiative. It therefore increases the direct conversion rate of hotels that are part of the initiative in markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, the Middle East and Turkey, etc. In addition, the properties will be highlighted on a soon-to-be-launched consumer site where Muslim travellers can find important information on hotel facilities that cater to their needs. Ultimately, it is a
highly targeted branding and marketing initiative for hotels in order increase their conversion in specific markets.
Q: How will you market Salam Standard to get more consumers and hotels on board?
A: We are currently developing industry partnerships that help us to promote the standard to hotels and consumers. Once the consumer platform is available, we will focus on user-generated content and social media to get the message out directly to travellers.
Q: What potential is there to develop Salam Standard to include other travel products for Muslim travellers?
A: There is great potential to include other travel products in the future, since hotels are only one part (but a very important part) of the entire travel chain. Ultimately, we want to provide as much information to Muslim travellers as possible ensuring they feel home wherever they travel to.