HIT the road, explore the new and never look back. How often do we wish it were that simple for a Muslim traveller.
Don’t get me wrong, globetrotters adapt and make the best out of the holiday destination but Muslims also seek options that guarantee prayer facilities and halal food.
Tripfez (www.tripfez.com) a homegrown online portal launched a little over a year ago, aims to aid Muslim travellers.
With one of the world’s largest databases of Muslim-friendly hotels across seven continents, it allows users to search for accommodation according to a range of criteria including price, star rating and hotel brand.
However, what sets the travel website apart from the rest is that it incorporates the Salam Standard tool — allowing users to also rate and review their experience — launched by the same outfit that brought us Tripfez.
“Salam Standard is our sister brand and a certification system developed to classify hotels according to their Muslim-friendly offerings depending on the facilities and services,” said Tripfez CEO and co-founder Faeez Fadhlillah.
“It has details such as whether a halal breakfast (if not, a list of halal restaurants within the hotel vicinity) and prayer mats and direction of the Qibla are available upon request for instance. Standards were identified based on a survey of 50,000 Muslim participants.”
The classification of a property into a particular Salam Standard category is carried out — upon application by the establishment, open to all hospitality properties — by a committee. Regular inspections and a system of ongoing self-assessment ensure quality. Standards include Green, Bronze, Silver and/or Gold depending on the criteria met.
Hotels including AccorHotels, Movenpick Hotels & Resorts and Archipelago Hotel Group (Indonesia’s biggest hospitality firm and earliest adopters of Salam Standard) have applied the certification to promote their properties better among the Muslim market.
“Interestingly, the acceptance by travel partners is better in non-Muslim majority countries. Many hospitality players are trying to serve their Muslim guests better.
“We believe that travelling is not difficult when standards are in place. In fact one of the company’s (Lagisatu Travel which runs Tripfez and Salam Standard) missions is to empower the global travel industry,” added Faeez.
NEXT GOLDEN INDUSTRY
Considered one of the fastest growing travel sectors, halal tourism “has evolved from being just a niche”.
“Based on Salam Standard’s Global Economic Impact of Muslim Tourism 2015/2016 report, global Muslim travel contributed US$139 billion (RM580.9 billion) to the world’s Gross Domestic Product, creating more than 4.5 million job opportunities. It has become the next golden industry since the economic boom in China,” said Faeez.
Recognising that the travel industry is a mature one — be it offline or online — Tripfez and Salam Standard hold out promise to potential partners.
“With the desire to create a holistic travel industry, which tries to cater to different cultures and people, we see ourselves as global advocates for the sector. Part of what we do — creating accessibility that effectively broadens and strengthens the Muslim travel network — is to get Salam Standard widely recognised by the global hospitality industry.”
Defined as e-commerce and technology that caters to the Muslim market, taqwa tech is catching up in the global front, said Faeez.
“Since we believe in promoting Muslim-friendly products and services, we start our initiative by going online. It’s one way to embrace the digital age.”
Technology enables the business to target better marketing goals.
“At the same time, it helps ensure that we scale our efforts towards a more focused, localised and demand-centric industry based on data.
“Although the travel industry is mature, it is one of the slowest industries to innovate.”
On plans to move the business forward, he noted: “One of our goals is to leverage on our application programme interface development.
“The result of working towards this effort will fully be in the fourth quarter of this year. Helping travel sites to guarantee optimum customer experience is in the pipeline.”