The hospitality industry in Malaysia is in growing demand for Muslim travellers, both domestic and foreign. These travellers often are looking for a comfortable stay that is dedicated for Muslim units. The move by online accommodation companies such as Airbnb is part of its global initiative to make business travel easier for Muslims.
Muslim-friendly accommodation is becoming more popular among travellers who are looking for a more comfortable stay while travelling. Muslim hosts have been providing this option in countries such as Malaysia and Turkey, but it seems the trend has made its way to Indonesia too.
What is a 'Muslim friendly' homestay
Muslims are very cautious about choosing the right place to stay that suits their religious requirements. They don't eat pork or drink alcohol, and they need halal food. Halal means ‘permissible’ in Arabic, which means food that's allowed under Islamic law. Foods like chicken, fish, and meat must be prepared according to specific rules laid down by Islamic scholars over centuries of study.
So, how to make your units Muslim-Friendly?
Provide prayer mats
Muslims use the mat to ensure cleanliness and to pray in a private setting. A prayer rug provides both of these benefits and has thus become one of the most cherished items in any Muslim household. Cotton, wool, and silk are common materials used to make prayer rugs. Some prayer mats are woven from hemp and jute twine. There is no specific material that must be used to create a prayer mat.
Place the qibla direction sign
Qibla direction is the direction towards the Kaaba in the Sacred Mosque in Mecca. Muslims face this direction when they perform prayers. Qibla direction can be determined by using compass or Qibla finder apps. It would be helpful for the Muslims if the homestay or Airbnb host placed a qibla direction sign sticker on the ceiling so the Qibla arrows help Muslim guests easily orient themselves for prayer toward Mecca.
Provide prayer outfit
Telekung or prayer dress is a type of dress suitable for the methods that can be preferred by women who perform their prayers. Usually, it is loose, and it is easily to put on and taken off. Placing one set of prayer dress might give a higher rating from the Muslim customers because some of them might need it when they need to perform the prayer.
Alcohol and Drug-free zones
You might want to include the prohibition of alcohol and drugs as one of your requirements since they are illegal in many places. Despite the fact that these rules are halal-friendly, there should be no restrictions on renting out your property to non-Muslim guests. Keep in mind that you are reaching out to a new audience, so anyone is welcome as long as they follow and respect the rules of your units.
We do hope that this article can provide some guidance to Airbnb hosts who are interested in targeting Muslim travellers. There is a grow in demand, both domestic and foreign travellers, and it is relatively easy and cheap to implement such changes, perhaps hosts can consider allocating a few units for Muslim travellers.