Tourists and local visitors opined that the Rabbit Lunar New Year festival decorations in Kota Kinabalu’s malls with the exception of 1Borneo mall are disappointing and unimaginative.
It certainly does not help in the branding experience and the market positioning of their establishments in the eyes of the discerning moneyed shopping public.
1Borneo’s attractive center court artwork attracts the crowd considering the number of people taking photographs of the presentations and the entertainment shows, even if only a fraction of the visitors spent more than RM100 during their visit.
It helps to boost 1Borneo’s image as a premier shopping, dining and recreation destination.
Now it can stand on par with Malaysia’s best at The Pavilion in Kuala Lumpur for center court decorations as well as The Gardens for its concierge services.
Admittedly the architecture layout of some malls may not be conducive to large scale displays but yet the Wawasan Plaza managed at least to throw up a couple of small rabbit models at one of its entrances.
When there is a will, there will always be a way to make a mall stands out in uniqueness and differentiates it from others.
Instead many mall’s center court common area is utilized as a merchandizing zone filled with goods and stalls to earn more income for the management.
The judging of malls in future may want to take into consideration the efforts these malls put into to come up with crowd drawing attractions that people would want to tell others to visit and take photographs to
record the year of the festival and occasion of their visit to Sabah for tourists.
The State Tourism Ministry may want to support the incorporation of Sabah’s tourism attractions in the mall decorations, music and literature that could help tourists appreciate Sabah better with funds and material.
Business retailers within malls expect the management to spend some funds from the monies that they pay for the property management and security of the mall not only to maintain the common areas in good condition but also to attract patrons with attractive displays during festive occasions and arrange for entertaining events to pull in the crowds.
This is one of the advantage of operating businesses in malls whereby the air conditioned or heated (in winter season countries) comfortable and safe ambience helps to draw in the customers to a venue full of all kinds of stores and eateries offering all kinds of goods and services with convenient parking or public transportation access.
Today’s shopping malls all over the commercialized free market world are increasingly seeing themselves as national destinations making a retailing benchmark for their countries and products catering not only for locals but also international tourists.