Business Pleasure

Trafford Palazzo 'Fit for the Future'

News | 23 Feb

A deeper dive into the unique appeal of Trafford Palazzo , as seen in Retail Destination’s print edition where Executive Director for Retail and Leisure at Peel, Mark Whittaker, talks in depth about what makes the destination ‘fit for the future’.

Consumer needs and desires have changed, and as a result, so has the approach to the tenant mix at retail and leisure destinations. Visiting a destination is increasingly focused on the experience, and the incorporation of leisure into a formerly retail-led location plays a really important role in delivering that.

This is happening at all the most visited places in the UK, but at Trafford Palazzo, we’re taking it a step further. Trafford Palazzo is part of TraffordCity, the UK’s foremost retail, leisure, and commercial destination, home to leading attractions including Trafford Golf Centre, Dino Falls Adventure Golf, and Chill Factore, as well as the upcoming arrival of the UK’s first city-based wellbeing resort concept, Therme Spa, and a new inland surf destination from the developers of Lost Shore Surf Resort.

"We have continued to evolve parts of TraffordCity to create that ecosystem fit for the future, and Trafford Palazzo plays a critical role in this."

Since Peel developed and opened the Trafford Centre over 25 years ago, a fundamental element of its ethos was for this to form part of a wider destination that was not only a place for shopping but a space for people to dine, socialise, play, and create memories. We have continued to evolve parts of TraffordCity to create that ecosystem fit for the future, and Trafford Palazzo plays a critical role in this.

"A diverse, never-before-seen range of experiential leisure."

The uptick in demand for leisure is a trend that Peel has continued to respond to since taking ownership of Trafford Palazzo in 2021, and it is a key part of our strategy to curate a space with a diverse, never-before-seen range of experiential leisure.

Trafford Palazzo is a hub of flagships, regional debuts, and first-of-their-kind concepts, including the recently opened NERF Action Xperience and King Pins locations, as well as the upcoming debut concept for American-style restaurant chain, Archie’s: Archie’s Atomic, a roller rink concept. The result is a unique blend of operators that is unlike any other across the UK, providing customers with an element of exclusivity as they experience something that is unmatched by competitor centres. Trafford Palazzo is not just responding to changes in consumer behaviour by introducing the same leisure brands as everyone else, we have created a next-generation experience centre, and this is a testament to Peel’s vision for the destination.

"Average dwell time 24% higher than the benchmark for competitor centres."

The appeal of Trafford Palazzo’s comprehensive day-out offer is illustrated by an average dwell time 24% higher than the benchmark for competitor centres, with the quality of leisure and its appeal evident in its conversion rate of 27%, far beyond the UK average of 2%. The above-average dwell time also suggests that visitors are not only enjoying the entirely unique selection of leisure concepts but that they are remaining in the centre for an extended time to visit the range of high-quality dining operators and retailers too.

"Incredibly engaged and loyal customer base."

In the same way that historically people would visit destinations with the intention of shopping, and then potentially dining or socialising, we believe in using the unique Trafford Palazzo leisure experience to attract visitation, which then creates the opportunity for retail and F&B spend. Close attention is paid to the layout of Trafford Palazzo and customer flow, with a greater focus on retail at the southern entrance and leisure to the north.

This has been designed to encourage our dedicated leisure visitors to shop retailers, but also to take advantage of the likes of Primark, which is one of the most popular stores anywhere in TraffordCity with an incredibly engaged and loyal customer base, that will make a dedicated visit to them but then go on to spend their leisure time with us too. It’s about creating a successful ecosystem, and leisure is a critical component of that.

King Pins

The leisure concepts we have introduced, and those set to join in the near future have been chosen with our visitors in mind. We have extensive research indicating who our visitors are, and who we can potentially appeal to. This helps us tailor a leisure offer to suit their needs – more family-oriented, for example – while also giving our tenants the confidence that Trafford Palazzo is right for them because we align on visitor demographics. This is particularly important when you are seeking best-in-class, debut concepts.

"Appetite for leisure is going to continue."

There’s no doubt that the appetite for leisure is going to continue. People have changed the way they interact with destinations, moving from a primary shopping function to something much more hybrid. We have a responsibility therefore to adapt, which we have done, and also to make sure we both stand out as an exemplar for this new approach, while remaining relevant to our core visitors.

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