The new hotel standard you should know about

by Sophia Soltani | Published 5 years ago

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Faeez Fadhlillah, the founder of the world’s first hotel reference tool for Muslim travellers, Salam Standard, explains why more properties in the Middle East should get on board.

Salam Standard logos

Muslim travellers spent more than $142 billion on tourism in 2014, according to 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,” says Faeez Fadhlillah, who has created the world’s first online hotel reference tool dedicated to the Muslim travel community, Salam Standard.

The standard simply enables travellers to pop online and browse Muslim-friendly accommodation that adheres to their Islamic principles.

Hotels signed up to Salam Standard are divided into three main categories – Bronze, Silver and Gold – according to the range of amenities and services they offer 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 HHalal food certified by a recognised certification body.

More than 10,000 properties worldwide have already joined the Salam Standard with major international hotel chains on board including UAE-headquartered Rotana Hotels & Resorts, as well as AccorHotels, Mövenpick 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 high-profile Salam Standard partners.

“Salam Standard is based on the feedback of 50,000 Muslim travellers from around the world,” says Fadhlillah, who is also the CEO and co-founder of one of Asia Pacific’s leading travel and tourism companies, Lagisatu Travel Sdn Bhd.

“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.”

Fadhlillah says his aim is to encourage hotel operators to offer more facilities for Muslim travellers, “ensuring they experience their holiday of a lifetime”.

Here he tells Hotel News ME why properties across the Middle East should become Salam Standard accredited.

Why did you decide to launch Salam Standard?

There is a growing demand for information on travel destinations and hotel facilities for Muslim travellers. We wanted to provide this information on a global scale, encouraging Muslims to travel and ensuring their needs were met. The Muslim travel market is currently growing at 4.79%, outpacing general travel market growth of 3.8%. In fact, the global Muslim market is worth around $126 billion, surpassing the travel spend of the United States and Germany. Our initiative plays a key role in catering to this group of influential travellers.

How do hotels become Salam Standard accredited?

Hotels can submit information on the Muslim-focused facilities and services they offer online via Once this information is validated from our side, the hotel can become part of the Salam Standard initiative. We present this information in a concise manner to the public according to the three Salam Standard categories – Bronze, Silver and Gold.

What is the essential criteria hotels must meet to be part of the Salam Standard?

Firstly, they must offer amenities for Muslim travellers and secondly, they must be willing to provide information on those facilities and services.

What are the key benefits for hotels who are part of this standard?

Salam Standard hotels are promoted to the thousands of travel agents and NTOs that are also part of the initiative. It therefore increases the direct conversion rate of hotels in key participating markets such as Malaysia, Indonesia, the Middle East and Turkey, etc. The properties will also 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, Salam Standard is a highly targeted branding and marketing initiative for hotels and it contributes to building an ecosystem for Muslim travel consumers and suppliers.

How many Salam Standard hotels are in the Middle East?

The majority of hotels listed are located in MENA, Asia and Europe. Participating properties from the Middle East belong to large hotel chains such as Rotana Hotels, Rixos Hotels, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts, Anantara Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Villas, Ayla Hotels & Resorts and Ramada Hotels.

What is the potential to get more hotels signed up to the Salam Standard?

Demand is strong, particularly from the Middle East, and we hope to substantially increase the number of participating properties and NTOs from the region.

Which hotels and groups are you targeting in the Middle East and why?

We are open to any hotel or group that wants to become part of the Salam Standard initiative. We want to be as inclusive as possible, encouraging more hotels regionally and globally to offer facilities for Muslim travellers to make them feel at home, no matter where in the world they go.

Salam Standard – do you qualify?

Bronze status

  • Prayer mats available
  • Quiblah direction in room or can be obtained

Silver status

  • Prayer mats available
  • Quiblah direction in room or can be obtained
  • List of Halal restaurants in the vicinity available
  • No alcohol in hotel room mini bar

Gold status

  • Prayer mats available
  • Quiblah direction in room or can be obtained
  • List of Halal restaurants in the vicinity available
  • No alcohol in hotel room mini bar
  • The hotel offers Halal-certified food (certified by a recognised body)

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