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Heading off to Cannes this month for the MIPIM property conference? If you want to survive the four days, please read on.
So, MIPIM 2022 is back after the pandemic and widely expected to be well attended this year. I am sure all the hotels, apartment owners, bars and restaurants are delighted to be welcoming back the property leaders from around the world. Apparently, the four-day international property event is the most lucrative time of the year for Cannes and even twice as important as the film festival.
Property Week have recently reported that expectations are that some 17,000 delegates will jam into the glamorous Côte d’Azur resort – population 70,000 – between 15th and 17th March for a frenzy of networking, dealmaking, long days and hopefully some lovely sunshine.
Everyone who has anything to do with property agrees that the event is one of the most important business opportunities on the calendar, but MIPIM novices say the experience can be almost too much. So, Richard Morris, Sales & Marketing Director at technologywithin is here to offer some friendly advice to survive and receive your badge of honour!
Before you go
Usually, if you haven’t bought your ticket by now, then you’re probably too late. Flights, hotels and even restaurants get booked up months ahead, and seasoned MIPIM-goers make their arrangements well before Christmas, although this year may be slightly different with most people booking last minute.
You should plan as many meetings as possible in advance. “Set up lunches and dinners before you go,” says technologwithin’s Richard Morris as, “Once you’re there, it’s very difficult – people get too many better offers, basically.” Finding people in the crowd can be a nightmare, so set up Whatsapp groups with your colleagues and contacts before you leave home. Also, remember to populate the MIPIM online database with all your contact details and search frequently (even daily) to see the new names attended to the attendees list.
There are also numerous networking events happening over the three days and it is often a case of searching for what is going on and trying to get yourself on the invitation list in advance.
Finally, when you are arranging to meet up, you need to confirm a suitable location (I know this sounds simple) but as everyone is walking on foot and getting from A to B can take time. Suggesting an easy to find and central location, especially as most attendees won’t be familiar with the local town, its much easier for everyone.
Most of the pavilions have table and chairs, my personal favourite is outside on the sun terrace at the London Pavilion.
What to pack
The most essential piece of equipment is a pair of designer sunglasses to protect yourself from Mediterranean glare and useful to disguise your bleary eyes in the morning, after serious networking from the previous night.
Take your best clothes and at least two boxes of business cards, as you will invariably end up dishing them out to every likely and unlikely prospect you come across. As you will be meeting lots of people, my suggestion is to have your photo on the front of your card, so that the recipient will be more likely to remember you when they go through all the other cards they have collected.
Also, and very important is to take plenty of high factor sun cream and lip balm, which sounds crazy, but our British skin will probably not have seen any sun for several months and getting sun burn will only make your work colleagues envious when you return to the office the following week. Finally, comfortable shoes are essential as you will be on your feet for many hours and there is nothing worse than getting a blister on day one!
Where to stay
Cannes’ most desirable hotels line Boulevard de la Croisette, the town’s palm-sprouting seafront promenade. Top of the pile is the famous Carlton, a belle époque confection and the Majestic Hotel which is the closest to the conference centre. Further down the Croisette is the Martinez (a favourite venue for the Spice Girls – not very relevant in this article, I know!)
The other favourite base for MIPIM sophisticates is the Vieux Port. Hiring a boat is seriously cool – and monumentally expensive. Gin palaces cost between £50,000 and £100,000 for the whole festival but have all been snapped up already. There are rumours of bribes changing hands this year to secure a berth in the marina.
However, most delegates will be staying in many of the luxury holiday apartments along the Croisette or dotted around Cannes. The chance of finding a decent apartment last minute is unlikely and expect to pay a premium for this week. Just be aware that a 3-piece apartment in France is likely to be two bedrooms and a sofa bed in the living room.
Where to hang out
The London Pavilion is hosting Reception Drinks from 5pm on the Tuesday evening, on the outdoor terrace, hopefully in the sun. Then MIPIM officially kicks off with a gala evening on the Wednesday and this year is at JW Marriott.
However, MIPIM has grown a huge fringe of related events outside the Palais, with organisations vying to hire the swankiest roof terrace, beach bar, gin palace or hilltop villa for their bash. Although your employer will judge you by the amount of work you manage to bring in whilst at MIPIM, your colleagues will be far more impressed by the number of glamorous parties you attend. Three years ago we found ourselves drinking champagne on an enormous yacht, hosted by a very generous legal firm, who’s name I cannot remember.
Since most of these are invitation-only, much of your time will be spent attempting to secure a precious ticket. Some people steer clear of the gloomy Palais entirely, saving the 2,000 Euro registration fee and blagging their way into events around town.
For a more casual place to meet, Caffé Roma is a hot spot and often very busy, but a good place to meet plenty of prospects.
If you’re in the flexible workspace sector and free on Wednesday evening, join the sector get together at the Irish Bar – Ma Nolan, 6 Rue Buttura, 06400 Cannes – to catch up with contacts and undoubtably talk shop!
Where to eat
At lunchtime and in the evening, the Palais des Festivals empties as 17,000 people head off in search of dinner. If you’re keen to impress, this can involve some serious planning; many firms will be scouring the town this year to make bookings for 2023.
Thankfully, Cannes has dozens of other excellent restaurants, notably along la Croisette beach (pricey), the area surrounding the harbour and Rue St Antoine in the old town (slightly less expensive), which is much more pleasant.
Many of your work colleagues will be jealous that you have the opportunity to visit Cannes, which has to be one of the best destinations in the world. You only realise just how hard-going MIPIM is, when you return fight home from Nice Airport. Most, if not all the passengers, will be asleep for the entire journey back to the UK. Only then will you deserve your badge of honour for surviving MIPIM 2022.