The Business Year

Robert Hall

General Manager, Doha Festival City

Sean Kelly

Project Director, Place Vêndome

The changing face of retail and tourism has meant that malls are constantly updating their offerings and marketing to continue to engage with their customers.
What is the mall’s strategy to inspire the trust and loyalty of local and international clients?

ROBERT HALL We consider ourselves a genuine brand, and we are passionate about what we do. We have a great deal of belief in our business. Retail is still relevant. And in that context, we have created a close harmony and forged a close relationship with our consumers. We understand that consumers are all different, which means different things and different expectations. Our aim is to be constantly relevant and to adapt to change.

Can you tell us about the international brands Place Vêndome has attracted to Qatar?

SEAN KELLY We have 40 of the world’s leading luxury brands already underway on site such as Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Gucci, and Yves Saint Laurent, to name a few. Part of our attraction is the design, and brands can see how they fit within our environment. They are extremely pleased with the project thus far. The other part is our ownership, which has a history with all of those brands. Both parties respect the commitment that has been made and the previous track records.

Can you tell us about Festival Cares and the contribution of the mall to the community?

RH “Festival Cares” is the language that came out of COVID-19; it was a language that became clear to us based on our correspondence with customers through social media. We know that when people return to shopping malls, they would gather in those areas. The design of Festival City is extremely modern in terms of the heights of the ceilings, the width of the corridors, and the quality of the air conditioning systems within the mall. We have over 127 stations where guests can use hand sanitizers. There are checks at all entrances as well. We spend over QAR1 million every month on the sanitization of the mall. The response from our customers has been positive, because our footfall increased in many markets that we deal with. Trade increased in many areas within the mall. We continue to maintain that level of attention to cleanliness. We have also done more work to develop relationships with numerous charities and organizations in Qatar. We have improved our sustainability measures by working hard at recycling what we can, though it still needs to be developed further in Qatar. Today, food is composted onsite, water is recycled onsite, and energy use is controlled through various air-conditioning systems while keeping a clean air quality and balance. We are advancing on cardboard recycling and are working with glass and plastics recycling as well.

What will be Place Vêndome’s relationship with tourism be like?

SK About one year ago, the leadership of this country decided the national tourism body needed to be revamped and change its approach to be more integrated with business. We have worked with the Qatar National Tourism Council to understand how we can be an attractive element and part of Qatar’s tourism infrastructure. For example, a delegate representing the Chinese market wanted to know if we had an application for the mall and hotels and if that would include a Chinese-language option. We are seeing huge positives. At the moment, we are looking to the future and planning for a great deal of potential international tourism. While the bigger plan includes attracting tourism from Russia and China, the targeted countries are those around us that have easy access to Qatar. We want to be a part of the tourism infrastructure. To that end, all our communications are for local, interregional tourists as well as broader international tourists. The infrastructure and level of service is the same for all. The integration of the hotels with the mall and combining those both with our entertainment facility will be a key hook to attract more people. The integration of all our assets will create that one-size-suits-all destination. Meanwhile, the FIFA tournament will be the first compact World Cup, meaning a team can stay in one hotel and only travel up to 50 minutes for each game. Typically, there is more travel between matches to different hotels, which can be a logistical nightmare. The same idea is true for our tourists, who do not need to change hotels in order to see everything Qatar has to offer.



You may also be interested in...

View All interviews