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UAE, UAE, ABU DHABI - Tourism

David Robinson

CEO, Al Maryah Retail Company (The Galleria Al Maryah Island)

Bio

David Robinson is the CEO of Al Maryah Retail Company, operator of The Galleria Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi’s leading shopping and lifestyle destination. With over 30 years of experience in the retail industry and 18 of those in the UAE, he is a seasoned retail professional and industry leader, having held senior positions with some of the UAE’s largest and most reputable holding and property development and asset management companies.

"It is critically important that we give back and that we are aware of what drives our success."
The Galleria continues to grow from strength to strength, with the launch and development of the destination’s second phase and the achievement of record-breaking footfall and sales over consecutive years.
What was the inspiration behind The Galleria Al Maryah Island, and how does it engage with its visitors?

The initial vision for The Galleria was to develop an immersive, mixed-use lifestyle destination that reflects the energy, vitality and culture of this vibrant city and nation, and caters to both our community here in Abu Dhabi and visitors to the capital. On Al Maryah Island, we have one of the world’s leading medical facilities, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi; two five-star hotels, Rosewood and Four Season; a community sports hub, ACTIVE; as well as four world-class business towers circling Abu Dhabi Global Market. This interconnected ecosystem provides us with the foundation to attract and retain the world’s best brands. Additionally, approximately 41% of the population of Abu Dhabi lives within a 20-minute drive of the location. This means guests can visit easily, conveniently and frequently if they are presented with an attractive offering that is relevant to their wants and needs. The future of great urban environments lies in multifaceted destinations designed for the community and delivered at the highest levels, and in this regard our vision has come to life, developing and operating one of the leading destinations in the region and beyond. We have got a solid foundation upon which to build the future of engagement for our guests.

What is The Galleria’s strategy to ensure the loyalty of local and international clients?

Trust and loyalty are difficult to gain and can be so easily lost. This reality demands a framework of continuous improvement. For us, loyalty is based around doing the basics right, ensuring that every touch point is as frictionless as possible. If these experiences are enjoyable, convenient, accomplished with ease, and have minimal friction, guests are more likely to perceive the destination positively. For example, our strategy is to provide exceptional and elevated experiences throughout the entire process. Approximately 55% of our trade demographic comprises married people with children. So, the family element is critically important for us to build on. Families may prefer to visit somewhere with an abundance of private family rooms, large elevators, or entertainment destinations catering to multiple age groups. Aspects such as these delivered consistently build trust in the destination, encourage repeat visitation and ultimately help develop guest loyalty. We also constantly refine our offering and experiences to deliver what the market and our guests require. Retail is detail and our details are heavily influenced by a guest-centric mentality founded on fact-based research. When implemented to market-leading standards and combined with exclusive brands, entertainment and dining, guests will return again and again because they know and trust that the destination will deliver the experience they want.

The Galleria Al Maryah Island launched the Let’s Walk! And yoga community fitness programs. How important is it for the mall to give back to the community while promoting a healthy environment?

It is critically important that we give back and that we are aware of what drives our success. We are in a privileged position to be able to enhance the lives of the local community, whether they live nearby, work on Al Maryah Island, or are visiting the city. Ultimately, we serve the community and offering great initiatives that the team is out there delivering enhances the experience. That is a critical success factor; taking global best practices and executing them locally with initiatives. The community is our greatest determinant of success, and the positive reaction is evident in the fact that we continue to grow year on year. 2022 was our strongest year on record with over 34 million guests, a 10% increase YoY. Sales were also up 17% during the same period, and so far in 2023, we are up 40% in terms of footfall compared to the same period of 2022. By providing enjoyable experiences for the community, guests visit more often, spending more time when they come and discovering more of what’s on offer.

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