Social media is a powerful marketing tool if utilised properly. More and more people are interested in learning and leveraging social media marketing. To accommodate this overwhelming interest in the Muslim-Friendly Tourism and Hospitality (MFTH) branding and Islamic Tourism space, Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) organised the Islamic Tourism Social Media Marketing Workshop on Sept 9, 2022, at Oakwood Hotel Kuala Lumpur.
ITC hoped the practical workshop would enable participants to understand how social media works, learn about the algorithms involved, how to write to the audience and how to promote their products and services. To facilitate the participants, ITC invited Azriel Azim Azelan, e-Usahawan Master Trainer certified by Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
“This workshop is special because ITC is organising it specifically for our tourism industry players who are part of the Islamic Tourism ecosystem that ITC is developing. This means you are either a hotel that has received the ITC Muslim-Friendly Accommodation Recognition or a certified Muslim-Friendly Tour Guide. Or you may be a Mosque Administrator, keen to develop your mosque in the growing Mosque Tourism space,” said ITC Director-General Dato’ Dr Mohmed Razip Hasan.
The growing Muslim tourist market
In his speech during the workshop, Razip highlighted that the MFTH branding was a powerful marketing tool that should not be ignored or wasted. As part of the Islamic Tourism ecosystem stakeholders, workshop participants were already aware of the Muslim tourist market potential.
“Islamic Tourism is a huge tourism sector that will continue to grow, fuelled by increasing demand for Muslim-Friendly tourism products,” he emphasised.
Currently, the number of Muslim consumers stands at 2.0 billion population worldwide. According to Razip, it is a market with strong purchasing power and is highly influential, primarily through its community word-of-mouth marketing.
“For them, knowing that your business caters to their faith-based needs is already a winning factor, and they will be more inclined to lean into your brand over others. As tourists, they are sophisticated; they wish to enjoy quality products and want to feel connected.
“They are also looking for interesting experiences that can enrich their lives. With international travel borders reopening, they are also beginning to travel, wanting to catch up and experience all they have missed before.”
Promotion and marketing through quality content
Razip stated that there was a need for the development on the demand side to be supported by the supply of tourism and hospitality products and services that meet Muslim tourists’ faith-based needs. Equally important is the quality of the content and promotional materials that promote this fact.
“Thoughtful and strategic communications is a golden opportunity to establish your brand values and persona, and align yourself to the type of Muslim clientele you wish to attract.
“As such, social media marketing, one of the communications platforms you will utilise, is a key channel where you portray your brand and identify your target audience. Everything published on your social media – the images, the words, the tone of voice, the language, the colour palette – reflects your organisation as a business entity and creates an impression on your audience.
“While Master Trainer Azriel will teach you all the technical aspects of social media marketing, ITC also hopes that you will develop awareness and good judgment of the powerful Muslim-Friendly branding and messages you will be communicating,” Razip elaborated.
In the past few years, ITC has been working hard to establish the importance of MFTH in Malaysia’s tourism landscape. Through training programmes, the establishment of guidelines, and other value-added services such as this workshop, the centre has helped many tourism industry players to view and understand the Muslim tourist market well.
“Penetrating this market is a strategy for business continuity and prosperity as we move beyond the pandemic. We hope to provide more value to you in the future.”