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May 2016

Interview: Importance of Developing Halal Hospitality Management in Qatar and the Gulf Region

In our series of interviews, Fouzi Mohideen, the General Manager of Gulf Paradise Hotel, talks to CrescentRating about the importance of developing Halal hospitality management capabilities in the Gulf region.

 

CrescentRating: Tell us about your experience in the Halal hospitality management industry.

Being in the Hospitality Industry for over 30 years, I have observed in recent years that most “Muslim Travelers” globally are looking for hotels with “Halal Friendly” surroundings. This is especially true for hotels having restaurants serving “Halal” food as a priority.

With the increase in the number of travelers worldwide, “Muslim Travelers” particularly like to travel in families, especially in the Gulf Region. The industry views this as an important market segment and it is critical meet this market’s requirements in order for the hotels to increase occupancy and sales.

To capture this segment, it is important to obtain valuable feedback from the customers patronizing the hotel, as this would assist the hotel to be more aware of the customers’ experience and if their expectations were met. Based on the feedback received, it gives the hotel the opportunity to take appropriate action in exceeding or at least meeting the customers’ expectations.

 

CrescentRating: In the last couple of years you have been targeting the Muslim travel market, what changes have you witnessed in the industry?

In my experience in Qatar, I have observed that a reasonable share of the patronage of guests staying in the hotel are from the Gulf region itself. This includes travelers travelling within the Gulf countries for business and leisure.

With CresecentRating’s presence at major travel shows and exhibitions, hotels  rated by CrescentRating have assisted the Muslim Travelers for both the leisure and corporate sectors. There is an increase in awareness on the importance of Muslim-Friendly travel created by these Muslim travelers who look for hotels rated by CrescentRating to give them a peace of mind during their stay.

 

CrescentRating: What are initiates that you have taken during the last 12 months as a part of attracting the Muslim market to your hotel?

Qatar has many “Shariah Compliance” properties which cater to corporate and leisure travelers. Basically, for the convenience of a Muslim traveler in a Shariah compliance hotel, all basic Halal-friendly facilities are provided to guests. Most Hotels in Qatar offer basic facilities in addition to Halal food in its restaurants.

A high rating by CrecentRating would certainly help our hotel to be the preferred hotel for the Muslim travelers in this region. We are working on a promotions campaign to increase our share in this segment in the upcoming WHTS16 - The world’s leading Halal Tourism exhibition in Abu Dhabi in November 2016.

 

CrescentRating: How has your owner reacted to this initiative?

Our owners and the authorities have continuously extended their support in promoting Halal-friendly tourism. In brief, the hospitality industry in Qatar basically respects and aims to preservee the culture and tradition of the country, whilst giving the travelers a friendly environment with a unique experience.

In addition, the country has many places of interest for visitors  such as the Museum of Islamic Arts, Islamic Cultural Center, Souq Waqif and Katara Village - just to name a few. These all unique attractions whilst keeping the tradition and culture preserved.

 

CrescentRating: How have you approached the challenges that you have faced in rolling out this initiative for your property?

I have always had the desire and passion to serve people from my youth days. This was the reason I was keen to join the hospitality industry. In the hospitality industry you always look at opportunities and come up with innovative strategies to see how you could exceed the expectations of your guests in all aspects whether product or service.

Very interestingly when you have the passion, the challenges becomes easier. This is provided that you have the patience to be able to listen to every customer’s  opinion and feedback, and to look at them as opportunities to further improve your level of service.

 

CrescentRating: How has the MasterCard- CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2016 report helped you in developing this project?

It is indeed a commendable initiative by CrescentRating as the “MasterCard- CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index 2016 report” supports and improves the concept of improving our products and services. This would certainly create more awareness towards the Muslim Travelers and would certainly assist the travelers and the hotels too in this market.

 

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