The PRSim team have recently returned from their first visit to MIPIM, the world’s leading property expo, held last week in Cannes – here David Bond, Head of PRS & Build to Rent at PRSim, recounts his experience as a first timer at MIPIM.
MIPIM Day One
Team PRSim set off from the UK with high expectations. After an early start, effortless transfer (sorry to those whose horror stories we have read) we arrive and decamp into our surprisingly stylish, albeit compact and bijou, lodgings which will be PRSim base camp for the week.
Rule One: “Find the local boulangerie”
With no time to waste and lunch events to attend, we hit the Croisette and find ourselves transported into a scene unlike any other. Lanyards and suits, brogues and chinos, it’s the City of London with a continental spin with absent socks and designer sunglasses everywhere. The ladies are an equally stylishly split with a mix of heels (oh dear!), colour and chic. Best of all – the sun is out!
Into the Palais we venture and after passing through security that makes you feel more like part of Cannes film festival than a property expo we arrive into the tardis like surroundings and wonder which way to turn. Luckily our Director of Data & Advisory Services has navigational skills reminiscent of a blood hound, and as we glide past Osaka via St Petersburg with a quick hello to Newcastle there is no doubt this is MIPIM – the experience has begun.
Rule Two: “Upgrade to an exhibitor pass” – among the mass of exhibitors from around the world and extensive networking opportunities, there is substantial presence from each of the UK regions revealing exciting regeneration and housing plans.
MIPIM Day Two
The pre-planning has paid off with a full diary of meetings across cafes, hotels and the odd luxury yacht with a snatched lunch of pizza (we never did get our croque-monsieur!).
Rule Three: “Organise meetings in advance” – it’s important to create structure but also allow periods of free time for impromptu meetings, networking or simply a much needed coffee break.
The day is long and concludes with an invite to one of the many drinks receptions and events taking place throughout the town and along the beach. Sipping Champagne and eating delicate canapés may sound fun (and of course is), but you’re still in sales mode pocketing as many business cards as possible and equally handing them out like confetti.
Rule Four: “Business can often come from the places you least expect”
The day ends back at the apartment with a cup of tea (yes tea!) catching up on emails – it’s then off to bed to ensure a refreshed and early start for day three. (This is all true – we were all asleep by 10pm!)
MIPIM Day Three
The UK climate visits the South of France – the heavens open, releasing what feels like France’s total annual rainfall in just one day. The designer focus has gone and out comes the coats, hats and umbrellas – but like all Brits when did we ever let a little bit of rain stop us!
Rule Five, which applies to both sexes: “Bring sensible (and waterproof) shoes” (Thank heavens for cling film – don’t ask!)
MIPIM Day Four
It’s stopped raining. The diary is slowing down but the quality of meetings still remains strong. There is even a gap late afternoon to explore Cannes and start to wind down and enjoy the scenery, before a short taxi ride back to the airport to experience the pleasure of Easy Jet flight EZY6114 to Bristol – who cares about a delay and questionable customer service when you’ve been on your feet since 8am!
Overall, MIPIM was a hugely positive, constructive and productive few days albeit hectic. We met old friends and made new ones, swapped intel and wisdom with property professionals across Europe, and learnt that despite different geographies we are fundamentally all facing the same housing issues and problems. But the overall mood – optimism!
Now for the follow ups, after a much needed rest!
Rule Six: “Don’t come back and tell anyone how hard you worked or tired you are. No-one cares – you were in Cannes, how hard can it be!”