“What so great about halal ha!” That was the response that I got when I suggested to an owner of an eatery to get halal certified. I only suggested that with the intention to help, because businesses have been known to increase their sale by 400% after they got halal certified. Unfortunately, to him, it was an insult as if I am asking him to commit treason.
You still get the same response when you book a tour with some travel operators, there are still travel operators (although they are an endangered species now) who frowned when you asked them for halal food while on a trip.
We can understand this ignorance since the Halal Travel Market only represents around %10 f the global travel market. It is relatively largely an untapped market. That is soon to change as reported by CrescentRating in its Muslim Millennial Travel Report 2017
Muslim Millennials are not budget travellers
Also, we had initially anticipated that a significant section of Muslim millennials would opt for more affordable accommodation options such as apartments or shared housing, but surprisingly 63% of the responses prefer hotels instead.
In the past travel, decisions are made by the older generation, they go to the tour operators book the tour and pay the cost. Yet today it is the Muslim millennials and even the Gen Z, who are becoming hugely influential as decision-makers during travel planning.
This change is possible with the increase in accessibility to online information and ease of purchase. Yet one thing remains the same, even when children are coordinating the travel plans, they still use their parent’s credit cards. Kids will be kids. What’s theirs is theirs what’s yours is also theirs.
How big is it going to grow?
Around 60% of the one 1 billion Muslim population is under 30 old and in the next few years, they will represent a considerable bulk of Muslim travelers. By 2026 the halal travel market is expected to be worth USD 300 billion.
It is estimated that more than 36% of Muslim Travelers in 2016 were Millennials; with another 33% being Gen Z. Based on the estimated 121 Million Muslim International visitors in 2016, this will mean that more than 80 Million Muslim travelers were either Millennials or Gen Z.
It is projected that Muslim Millennial travelers’ expenditure will surpass US$ 100 billion by 2026.
How to win over the Muslim traveller?
It’s not about creating new facilities. It is more about knowing the needs of Muslims. It’s just simple things like what do Muslims need to perform their five daily prayers.It would be good if they don’t have to perform acrobatics by putting their feet into the sink because there are no proper facilities to do it. And If you own a hotel start by installing a bidet in all your toilets, it goes a long way. Then you won’t need signs like this.
This is definitely not the way, there are no proper facilities for ablution
If you really want a piece of the pie you have to boost your online presence and positioning. It is all about getting discovered and having an online presence during the trip planning stages.
Basically, you just need two things, you need to embrace technology and awareness of what are the requirements of the Muslim Millennial travelers need. You need to better understand the behavior and travel planning process of various traveler profiles, including family travelers, young couples, and Muslim millennials.
What the future looks like?
The needs of Muslim travelers is set to driver innovation already we have seen apps for in-flight prayer times, nearby halal food joint and the rest of technology that help Muslims live a halal lifestyle flourish. Muslim travelers will travel to wherever they feel safe and don’t feel like they have to hide their identity. In a nutshell, all you need to know is that for a Muslim there is no off day. We don’t take a break from being a Muslim even on vacation. We are proud of our identity.
Shahfizal Musa is the Founder and Managing Editor of Halalop. He graduated with a Law degree from Thames Valley University London. He is an award-winning journalist covering topics such as human trafficking, Muslim research discoveries, and exceptional Muslims.