Positioning Islamic Hotel Tourism
A New Perspective
Nor Zafir MD Salleh, Abu Bakar A. Hamid, Noor Hazarina Hashim
Several factors contribute to the rapid development of tourism, such as strong economic growth. This result in more disposable income for travel, changing lifestyles and the expansion in transportation industry, which leads to cheaper travel costs and increased demand for tourism products and services is one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors in the world. The growing demand for products and services comply with Islamic law, or shariah law is obvious and substantial in financial, food and travelling industry. Many scholars have identified religion as a stable factors influencing consumer buying behavior resulting in more demand for religious related product and services. In hospitality industry, scholars have highlighted the growing demand on Islamic Friendly Hotel (IFH) by Muslim tourists causing high commitment in developing such industry. This study found organizational factors including innovation champion, organizational context, and tangible resources and marketing strategy and environmental factors such as demand of Islamic hospitality, government ruling and incentives and competitors strategy were the key drivers to the implementation. These key drivers of implementation provides guidelines for hotels that intend to implement new services, reduced the learning time and promote innovative activities within hotels in Malaysia. Nonetheless, IFH implementation was challenged with high cost to maintain Halal certification, capacity management and international chain hotel status issues. Hotels intend to implement IFH should pay careful attention to the initial consequences such as decreasing non-Muslim customers thus resulting in decrease income at the early stage of introduction. This study has contributed on the development of IFH literature specifically Malaysia by providing popular and unpopular attributes of IFH in Malaysia. Therefore, if Malaysian hotels are to succeed and achieve competitive advantage, being able to address growing Muslim tourists’ needs are essential priorities.