Photo: Zulkifly Said, director general of Malaysia's Ministry of Tourism's Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) (left) watches Malaysia minister of tourism and culture Dato' Seri Mohamed Nazri bin Tan Sri Abdul Aziz sign the launch of Salam Standard Premium on April 24, 2017 at Arabian Travel Market in Dubai, UAE
(Updates that Salam Standard charges for platinum premium rating)
Halal hospitality rating system Salam Standard has launched a fourth tier Platinum rating for Muslim-friendly accommodation, adding to its original three levels of Bronze, Silver, and Gold.
Properties and hotel groups will be subject to checks to ensure they meet the required criteria, with audits conducted by a committee of Islamic tourism experts, including Salam Standard representatives.
“There will be a formal auditing process of the hotels, so that you have a proper verification of what is available at a specific establishment,” Malaysia-based Salam Standard co-founder and CEO Faeez Fadhlillah told Salaam Gateway.
“We will work with the relevant bodies for halal certifications and we have our own people on the ground. We will have a standard of operations that they will follow,” he added.
HOW IT WORKS
At the bottom end, rooms in all bronze-rated properties have basic Muslim-friendly facilities: shower and toilet, or bathtub and toilet, a prayer mat and the qibla, or the prayer direction towards the Kaaba.
Premium platinum-rated accommodation offers additional benefits including halal food certified by a recognised body, while the entire premises is alcohol-free.
The new category is reserved for completely halal hotels such as Adya Hotel in Langkawi, Malaysia, as well as other establishments in countries such as Turkey and Indonesia, where the premises are “entirely dry”, according to Fadhlillah.
Any licensed accommodation provider can apply online for Salam Standard Premium Hotel Classification, said Fadhlillah.
Salam Standard charges for premium ratings but applications for other tiers are still free, according to Fadhlillah.
Once their application is reviewed and accepted, a committee would conduct an audit of the property. The committee will reserve the right to reject applications if they do not meet the minimum criteria.
“One of the criteria is that these establishments provide halal food by a kitchen certified as halal by a local religious council. This council should be endorsed and certified by Jakim, the Malaysian Islamic Development Department,” Zulkifly Said, director general of Malaysia’s Ministry of Tourism’s Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) told Salaam Gateway.
The ITC supports Salam Standard but has not entered into any partnership or collaboration with it.
PLUG INTO MAINSTREAM SITES
Salam Standard has also launched an Application Programming Interface (API) to facilitate its use on mainstream travel sites.
“Through this API, we want to work with other travel sites so that they can attract more Muslim travelers to their sites and approach their target markets. We want to plug in our site into their websites,” said Fadhlillah.
“For example, if you go to your favorite hotel website you’ll be able to find out which hotel has which facilities. We will announce more details towards the third quarter of 2017,” he added.
Major hospitality brands whose properties are Salam Standard rated include AccorHotels, Movenpick Hotels & Resorts and Indonesia’s biggest hospitality firm, the Archipelago Hotel Group.
“The industry has always been supportive,” said Fadhlillah. “We have hotels from Russia which I thought would be not that friendly but they were very interested in making their properties Muslim-friendly because it’s a huge market and one that you cannot neglect.”
Salam Standard was first launched in October 2015 and more than 55,000 hotels are currently indexed on the platform. The four-tier rating system for Muslim-friendly accommodation is currently only used online with sister company Tripfez, which features 200,000 properties worldwide.
Salam Standard competes with CrescentRating in the same halal or Muslim-friendly hotels rating sector.
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