It is common for any frequent business traveler to spend a portion of their time in airports – and for the average Muslim business traveler, it is no different. However, the Muslim Business Traveler Insights 2016 (MBTI 2016) - a joint report by CrescentRating and Mastercard - has shown that the average Muslim business traveler will have different needs and requirements at airports, compared to other travelers.
The report states the following services at airports are very important to Muslim business travelers:
Prayer Facilities: The research shows that 78 percent of Muslim business travelers require more convenient prayer facilities – which might include prayer rooms or mosques located within the airport. It is important that prayer facilities are conveniently located and in good conditions too. Areas in some airports have been transformed into mosques to create room for more diversity - such as the JFK International Airport. In places like Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, mosques are built within the airport as well. Some airports have the facility of multi-faith rooms where Muslim travelers can also pray peacefully without being disturbed.
However, most restrooms or ablution areas are located away from the prayer rooms which can be tedious in a busy area, and airports that provide these facilities are considered more favourable. Most Muslim travelers feel that restrooms should be convenient to perform ablution or that prayer rooms with closer areas would be more favourable.
Halal Dining Options: Since it is important to be able to find Halal restaurants or cafés easily especially when traveling - having Halal dining options in an airport are considered important by 71 percent of Muslim business travelers. However, most Muslim travelers have chosen to select vegetarian or seafood options when they are unable to locate Halal dining options easily.
Wi-Fi Service: A good Wi-Fi service is very important to any person who is travelling for business. With keeping in touch with clients, sending e-mails, conference calls and more, a good WI-Fi connection and service is shown to be important to more than 60 percent of Muslim business travelers. Sometimes business travelers will have to spend a long time between transits and most of them would appreciate being able to work during travel.
Other Requirements: Traveling can be quite exhausting especially for those who are constantly on the move for business and occupational matters and a little more than 30 percent feel that a designated area for rest is important as well. The MBTI 2016 report also shows that 53 percent are willing to pay for transit hotels or day rooms including another 48 percent for lounge services and 33 percent also feel that shower facilities are important too. A small 29 percent feel that lockers or storage facilities would be necessary too.
Overall, just like regular business travelers - the average Muslim business traveler also seeks to have a comfortable and secure trip. Now with the rise of Halal tourism and other related industries there is an increase for Halal friendly amenities. Some airports have attempted to create a more Muslim-friendly environment by providing more Halal dining options and multi-faith rooms as well.