The luxury travel company, Premium Europe AG, has a large clientele of predominantly wealthy travelers, many of whom are Muslim. They aim to provide exceptional service and to ensure that their customers’ needs were being met. They undertook a survey regarding the services at several hotels with whom they work with across Europe.
The company spoke to 163 customers from GCC countries, mainly Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, all of whom are devout Muslims. They are all regular travelers who had used the services of Premium Europe AG when they required hotel bookings, private clinic appointments, spa and wellness reservations, as well as travel tours to various European destinations.
The company asked for suggestions from their clientele on how hotels could improve their services and amenities to allow them to go about their religious and cultural practices during their travels. Customers were asked to mention times when they had received outstanding service as well as any innovative product offers which appealed to them.
The feedback from clientele included suggestions for facilities which allow them to practice their religion, such as having access to the Quran, prayer mats, and notice of prayer times in that time zone.
Other suggestions among travelers included halal food, a pork-free kitchen and alcohol-free minibars in their suites. Some went on to suggest having bidets in their hotel bathrooms, and even Middle Eastern menus and Arabic TV channels.
Requests from female travelers included the need for female-only areas in hotel spas, separate swimming times, female room staff and female spa therapists. Additional requests were made for items such as Muslim swimwear, the ‘burkini,’ to be made available for travelers to purchase on their holiday.
To what extent hotels supplied the suggested amenities and services, was determined when the company held a wide-range survey.
Switzerland came out tops, as many 5 star hotels could meet most of the clientele suggestions. Muslim-owned hotels and other hotels in Swiss cities, renowned for their excellent service, had already gone to considerable efforts to include some or all of the suggested amenities and services. Other hotels were able to organize clients’ specific needs upon request, although they would not usually offer such services.
Hotels in London and Paris surpassed Swiss hotels regarding these specific amenities and services, which is not surprising, as they attract a large international clientele. The hotels in Italy were not likely to respond to such requests with few of the services and amenities available. Although Germany can offer the amenities requested by Muslim clientele, they are only available in the cities and require bookings well in advance.