Travel

Online booking site launches ‘halal’ hotel search option

April 13, 2013

Muslim travellers spend an estimated RM390 billion annually.—Picture by erwinovaMuslim travellers spend an estimated RM390 billion annually.—Picture by erwinovaKUALA LUMPUR, April 13 — A Malaysia-based online travel site has launched a booking option that aims to help Muslim travellers find “halal-friendly” accommodations.

LagiSatu.com says it's launched the world’s first meta search engine that will help Muslim travellers identify halal hotels — accommodations which are rated based on their capacity to meet Muslim needs. The site is partnered with major sites such as Expedia, Hotels.com, Venere.com and Booking.com.

It is the latest development in a niche but ever-growing market — that of affluent Muslim travellers — that is twice the size of China’s and bigger than that of the US.

Muslim holiday-makers are estimated to spend more than US$126 billion (RM390 billion) annually on tourism.

For the “halal” hotel search engine, LagiSatu.com has partnered with HalalStars.com, a directory of 20,000 properties around the world which have been listed and rated based on the services and facilities which meet Muslim needs.

To look for a “halal” hotel, users need only check off the HalalStars box. Aside from meeting dietary requirements, catering to Muslim travel needs could range from offering prayer rooms, prayer rugs, pre-sunrise breakfast services during Ramadan, family-friendly, alcohol-free hotels with separate wellness areas for women.

Meanwhile, forward-thinking tourism offices and hotel chains have already started to cater to their Muslim visitors and guests, by offering listings of “halal” hotels and restaurants or offering special Muslim-oriented travel products.

Queensland Tourism in Australia, for instance, set up a special website dedicated to halal travel, while Surfers Paradise Marriott Courtyard, also in Queensland, sets up a Ramadan Lounge where Muslim guests can break their fast with dates, snack and coffee.

HalalTrip.com offers a similar service for finding Muslim-friendly accommodations, while Crescenttours.com also positions itself as a “halal” tourism specialist. — AFP/Relaxnews