During a recent visit to the Philippines touring local malls, Malaysia Shopping Malls Association, also known as Persatuan Pengurusan Kompleks (PPK Malaysia), expressed fascination over SM Supermalls’ facilities and operations. SM Megamall, SM Mall of Asia and SM Aura were included in the tour.
While this isn’t PPK Malaysia’s first visit to the Philippines, this year’s study tour introduces a new aspect of the trip, which is to focus more on mall operations apart from design and architecture, format, retail mix, marketing and promotions.
“The tour is about learning new concepts and new ways of mall management. We also get exposed on how cultures and other malls differ when it comes to mall designs, operations and marketing,” said Vincent Chong, PPK Malaysia assistant treasurer.
PPK Malaysia Executive Director Evelyn Lo said that members of the tour group were particularly impressed with SM Aura’s sky garden and SM’s overall security features.
“I think they were impressed and taken aback by SM Aura’s top floor—that it’s outdoor. We don’t do that in Malaysia. Malaysian malls are enclosed and air-conditioned,” Lo revealed. “They also found it interesting that there are a number of security guards in Philippine malls and all your guards are local people. Back home, the guards are mostly non-locals. We found out today that metal detectors have long been a part of your shopping culture and we don’t have it there (Malaysia) yet. You also have K9 dogs inside the malls. We usually place K9 dogs outside the malls,” Lo revealed.
When asked about the best practices of SM, Chong mentioned important highlights. “We find that you are able to get the locals to come in and join in the security department. The group noticed that not only are they willing to become security personnel and proud of the job they’re doing, they consider it a good career. If it can be done here, we should be able to do it back home,” he said.
“We come to Manila in general because the shopping scene here is great. It’s so vibrant. You have mid-range malls like SM Megamall which includes a higher end Fashion Hall area. There’s SM Aura which has a different format while the SM Mall of Asia is huge. We have to learn more about the mall industry from the outside but in Asian context,” Chong noted.
PPK Malaysia is a group that conducts regular study tours to learn the best mall practices in the region. It is the recognized representative of shopping centers in Malaysia whose members obtain first-hand notification and information on nationwide issues and events affecting the industry.