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Seeking excellence beyond customer service alone, the new V&A Waterfront Neighbourhood Awards have just launched

Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront continues to power ahead with full occupancy of its shopping centres, as well as rising sales and substantial growth, despite reports of online shopping upending traditional bricks and mortar. Retail sales were up more than 70% at the end of May 2024 compared to 2019 pre-Covid levels. New brands are visible, keeping the tenant mix up-to-the-minute and relevant, while longstanding tenants are investing in fresh shopfronts and fitouts.

Clearly, many retailers continue to see the physical store, staffed by knowledgeable teams that engage customers around products, as critical to success – along with a superb location in a world-renowned mixed-use destination that is simply unlike any other: the V&A Waterfront champions art and design, supports entrepreneurship and innovation, and leads the charge around sustainable business practice.

All these elements are woven into the reimagined Tenant Service Excellence Awards, relaunched as the V&A Waterfront Neighbourhood Awards in June 2024, and aimed at recognising and promoting excellence in different spheres – the kind that attracts new and returning visitors. ‘We’ve moved towards a much more holistic awards programme, as we’ve realised it’s not just about customer service; it’s about so much more, and retailers need to provide the entire package to be successful,’ says Alex Kabalin, Executive for Retail at the V&A Waterfront.

The V&A Waterfront Neighbourhood Awards not only continue to celebrate excellence in service to visitors, but now also recognise achievement in areas such as community engagement, sustainability, merchandising, marketing, innovation and overall contribution to the V&A Waterfront ecosystem – in essence, rewarding the tenants who make it ‘worth the commute’ to the country’s most-visited destination.

The V&A Waterfront commissioned the services of Truth, a global consultancy focusing on loyalty, customer relationship management and customer-centricity strategy, to help reconfigure the awards. Truth founded the annual South African Loyalty Awards, which are open to companies that have a loyalty component at the core of their business, and so, says Truth founder and CEO Amanda Cromhout, ‘We were well equipped to share our expertise and insights with the V&A Waterfront to help shape their Neighbourhood Awards.’

Only V&A Waterfront retail tenants are eligible to enter the V&A Waterfront Neighbourhood Awards. They can also be nominated by their peers. ‘The benefits of participation include elevating their brand visibility, enhancing their reputation, attracting more customers, and ultimately driving business success,’ says Kabalin.

Curated judging panels have been drawn from the V&A Waterfront’s senior management and tourism-promotion bodies, as well as consumer insights experts such as trend forecaster Dion Chang of Flux Trends, Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Miles Kubheka, CEO of food accelerator Wakanda, and Preetesh Sewraj, CEO of the Loeries. Awards will be made in 19 categories, including the new Our Better Nature Sustainability Award, Best Activation, Best Community Engagement and more – and substantial prizes will be handed out at an Awards Evening on 19 September 2024.

Entries are open until 9 July 2024 at https://waterfront.co.za/tenant-awards/.

For more information on the V&A Waterfront visit https://www.waterfront.co.za/. Follow @vandawaterfront on social media.