So – how was my first trip to MIPIM in Cannes ? Was it worth going to ? Did I get any business ? Was it expensive ?
These are the questions I’ve been asked and here are my answers.
As a MIPIM-Virgin I had heard about the international property event every year during my property career. Each year stories filter out, and myths become circulated around the rumour mills. Even the Easyjet flight magazine suggested it was rumoured to be “a big jolly for property folk”. Apparently more champagne is drunk during MIPIM than at the film festival !
4 days in Sunny Cannes with over 21,000 official delegates from 89 different countries and around 2,450 exhibitors must surely be chaotic and is it really necessary ? That’s not even mentioning the thousands of unofficial attendees like myself. I was determined to find out one way or the other and being able to justify my trip to my business partner !
We decided to represent our property marketing company by simply being there, being seen and networking at various events that I had been invited to as well as meet up with the many contacts that only work within half a mile of our city centre office.
A cheap early booking with easyjet and an extremely small couch in someone’s hotel room made it affordable so the scene was set to place ourselves on the international property stage. We had designed and printed branded maps of Cannes highlighted with the main meeting spots on for the NW contingents, which were given out on the main flights out, and around Cannes, so our brand was being promoted from the start.
The flight out was around 95% full of property people which in itself was a great networking opportunity to chat with clients, and others which were on the target list, but seemed otherwise difficult to meet with during the working week. Everyone seemed excited and some were regular MIPIM goers with advice on the best venues and places to go to whilst others were also venturing for their first time like me. This was the 27th year of MIPIM.
The networking started from sitting down on the plane chatting to the guys on my left and right. An attempt to get an invite on their yacht party was perhaps a little optimistic but was worth a go !
People make their way to MIPIM in various ways – Cycling from London, by train, boat, flights and cars. Just getting there seems to have become an event in itself.
Arriving in Cannes I met up with a good client who I took for a sunny lunch by the port. Walking along the Croisette on the stunning coastline past hundreds of like minded property folk in suits it all became clear why it’s so popular. I mean why not ! The tree-lined boulevard was furnished with banners from Cushmans, CBRE, Savills and all the main global players and I couldn’t help thinking about the cost for these sponsorships. All the restaurants, yachts, hotels and bars had been taken over for the week by the various property firms hosting breakfasts, lunches and dinners for their clients and staff.
As we sat in the sun people-watching “SO THIS IS MIPIM” I thought. And I liked it !! Who wouldn’t.
My 2 day trip was partly filled with appointments set with existing clients, impromptu catch ups in the bars, and sponsored evening events. One meeting was set up with a company who saw a tweet about MIPIM we had sent, and they we’re looking for property marketing advice ! How fantastic – and a great opportunity was secured. Shame it was on the 2nd day which poured down non-stop. Although it dampened the setting, everyone were still in good spirits.
Throughout the first day I found the “Manchester Bar” which was full of people whom I bump into at lunchtimes on the street back home, but the main difference was obvious. Everyone was relaxed, and in a like-minded attitude of taking time to chat and not rush off. The next infamous venue became evident as I heard a roar of laughter from around the corner where hundreds of people were gathered standing outside in the sun – “Cafe Roma”. This is where it all happens I had heard. Instantly I saw several people I knew so there I stayed until my next appointment.
I didn’t have the access pass for the Palais where the exhibition stands were based for all the different cities, countries and companies representing their regions and services to the masses. I felt I missed out a bit but there were plenty of others that didn’t go in “the bunker” as its we’ll known. Manchester had its biggest delegation this year with 99 different companies representing the city although through social media I managed to keep up with the numerous announcements being made throughout the trip. In fact the whole MIPIM event was amazingly well organised and co-ordinated. This place knew how to do MIPIM and in it’s 27th year it’s had enough practice.
Throughout the trip, relationships were strengthened and new contacts were made. I managed to speak with those people I knew only by name but had not had the opportunity of meeting beforehand. Promises of new business on my return were made and that for me meant I had succeeded with my MIPIM venture.
The networking continued on the return journey at the airport and on the plane.
The 2 day trip was actually quite exhausting, with little sleep and long days, but well worth it.
Did I get any business from it ? Well this will depend on me following up on my leads and conversations during the trip, but yes the opportunities arose and will hopefully pay off.
Would I go again ? I think the answer is Yes ! I don’t think I could do a full week without a lot of preparation and events in the diary, but a couple of relatively intense days worked well for me. Perhaps better planning next time when setting venues for meetings instead of running up and down the Croisette every couple of hours.
I can now join in the conversations about MIPIM and relate to the true meaning of its purpose. Is it a big jolly ? Well you can make of it what you want really but we all seemed to have a jolly good time !