More than 85% of those questioned were repeat customers of Premium Europe AG for services including hotel bookings, private clinic appointments, spa and wellness bookings and travel tours in Switzerland, France, Italy and elsewhere.
Premium Europe AG asked for suggestions of hotel services and amenities that would allow customers to maintain their religious or cultural practices while travelling outside their country. Customers were also asked to identify instances when they had encountered examples of excellent service or innovative product offers in this area.
SuggestionsThe suggestions included facilities that contributed to customer’s opportunity to observe religious practices, including the availability of the Quran, prayer mats, prayer times in the local time zone and the marking of the Qibla, the direction of prayer towards Mecca. Other common suggestions included the availability of halal food or guarantees of a pork-free kitchen and an alcohol-free minibar in hotel rooms.
Female travellers noted the importance for strict Muslim travellers of female-only areas in hotel spas, female-only swimming times, female room staff and the availability of female spa therapists. Extra amenities suggested included having Muslim swimwear – eg. the “burkini” – available for purchase.
Survey participants also suggested further amenities that are not required for strict adherence to Islamic religious requirements but were appreciated for cultural reasons. These included everything from the availability of bidets in hotel bathrooms to having Middle Eastern menus and Arabic TV channels, something that one survey participant noted could sway his choice of hotel.
Switzerland at the forefront of servicePremium Europe AG then consulted a wide-ranging survey of all the hotels it works with to ascertain the extent that hotels were able to supply amenities and services that meet these needs.
In Switzerland, most 5 star hotels were able to respond to the majority of these needs. Some specific hotels with Muslim ownership or those located in Swiss cities were generally found to have made a proactive effort to incorporate some or all of these amenities into their services already. Others could organise everything in advance or on request but do not offer these services as part of their normal menu of amenities.
Swiss hotels were only surpassed by London and Paris hotels in terms of the availability of amenities and services aimed at the Islamic travel market. This could be expected from the multicultural nature of these cities and the international clientele they attract.
Hotels in Germany could offer some Muslim-specific amenities, but this was usually confined to city hotels or advance request bookings.
In general, hotels in Italy were the least likely to respond to Muslim travelling requirements very few had services available to meet them without special provisions being made on the part of the guest well in advance.