PANAMA - Tourism
General Manager, AltaPlaza Mall
With a degree in business studies from Barcelona and a master’s in real estate business management, Albert Montaner has been directing real estate and retail companies for 25 years. An entrepreneur specialized in the commercial branch and the launch of new projects, he has not always been professionally involved in the hospitality sector.
We have increased our traffic by around 16%, which is positive for a new shopping center in its third year. Additionally, sales in our stores are increasing, as our goal in 2018 was to have a sustainable increase in sales per square meter. We had a consolidation of our mix of tenants and occupancy and maintained a 91% occupancy rate. For 2019, our main objective for the combination of tenants is to increase our offerings of services in the shopping center with more banks and services, combined with clothing, restaurants, and entertainment.
We align our increase in traffic with the increase in sales, a broader strategy aimed more at local customers than tourists. We must get the local families that visit us to consume in our stores, eat in our restaurants, and have fun in our entertainment areas. Therefore, our strategies are designed primarily for local families with children, although we note that people are saving more than in previous years, but they will continue to enjoy the experience we offer them and visit us more. In addition, the increase in services at the mall is a direct response to the demands of our consumers, and we must provide them with additional services when requested at the mall.
During the event, we had 14,000 people traveling by bus from the interior of the country. It was a wonderful experience to have young people from so many countries. Everyone’s performance at the mall has been excellent.
The first step is to offer our best service to the standards that tourists expect in terms of cleanliness, spoken languages, and opening hours, among others. The cruise segment attracts people interested in seeing what is offered locally. Therefore, we include ourselves in their local tours, which include tours of the city, the Panama Canal, and shopping, since not all tourists come to Panama exclusively to go shopping. In addition, we seek to secure international brands that other shopping centers do not carry.
Our strategy is to organize events throughout the year for all ages and demographics. We have developed a calendar where we have included the days that are celebrated locally, but also times when we know locals are looking for alternatives to enjoy as a family. We focus on several pillars to generate alliances and offer innovative and quality events that make us a reference in the industry, always highlighting our stores, gastronomy, and entertainment.