Fazal Bahardeen, CEO of CrescentRating, had a chat with Burhan Culculoglu - the Director of Food & Beverages of Fairmont Singapore Hotel about how the hotel is serving the growing segment of Muslim travelers.
Fairmont Singapore was one of the first hotels to join CrescentRating - back in September 2009 - and received a Crescent Rating of 3, based on the facilities it offered back then. Since then, Fairmont Singapore has upgraded its facilities and services and now possesses a Muslim-friendly rating of 5.
Fazal: I still remember the first time we met - the Singapore Tourism Board organized a workshop for us to talk to the travel industry here about the potential of Halal-friendly travel and what the industry could do to attract this market segment. A lot has changed since then. You have taken a lot of things that we discussed and have put it into practice at the hotel. Share with us your experience.
Burhan: We wanted to be able to provide our hotel guests a real home-away-from-home environment. We had about eight food and beverage outlets in our hotel and we felt there was an opportunity for us to convert one of them into a Halal-friendly outlet in terms of food and beverage.
Fazal: When you converted this restaurant into a Halal restaurant, what were your expectations?
Burhan: We were expecting around 3-6 months of pick-up time with the business but we were lucky enough that it did not take 3 months. We were really happy with the results actually. Right after we received the certification and after the opening - almost immediately - business was great for us.
Fazal: Apart from restaurants - which is a very important service to attract Muslims to a hotel - I understand that you are going beyond that, in terms of providing the right facilities for Muslims?
Burhan: For us, what was important when Muslim travelers come to our hotel, is that we give them the comfort of their home. To do this, we have included 24 hour Halal food and beverage offerings in our in-room dining and room service menus. We have also provided prayer rooms for our hotel guests next to the Asian Market Café. Separate prayer rooms are available for male and female guests.