Ok, the dust has settled and, given a rare opportunity to think back, I thought I’d put my most recent MIPIM experience into words.
Like so many people attending the 2019 event I share the remarks that it seemed to come around so quickly this year. However much I intended to carefully prepare I was still almost caught out – not exactly as a surprise but having seemed an age away, it quietly creeps up and, before you know it, you are on a plane to Nice!
We decided to do the usual thing where my wife Jane and I both travel to the Cote d’Azur, book an apartment for a week and take advantage of the chance of some down-time in a beautiful part of the world as well as the cheaper flights and accommodation offered by travelling Saturday to Saturday. This was our first stay in Cannes La Bocca, so slightly away from the madness but close enough to enjoy a seafront walk into and out of town. Cannes La Bocca itself will be far nicer next year when the mayhem associated with the street works are completed. I have no doubt that the result will be superb going by the recent works in Cannes itself and happy to aim for that locality again in the future.
Once the lazy down-time had passed it was on to the usual long days and evenings in Cannes, meeting lots of new people, opening up opportunities for new collaborations and also, of course, catching up with old acquaintances too. Some of these I rarely see outside of Cannes and others, oddly, are very local colleagues. Explaining how this all works so well to people who’ve never been to MIPIM is difficult but I can assure you that it does. It is simply a combination of everyone being in a relatively small town at the same time and away from office distractions and the detail of specific projects for a few days. Active and promising discussions about a major hotel development alongside logistics and a number of other opportunities bode well for a productive outcome.
There are always memorable events. For me the Lincolnshire brunch on Wednesday morning is reliably successful and enjoyable, and this year was no exception. This, immediately followed by Gleeds Global’s lunch on the beach, led to a very enjoyable day with the opportunity grasped to discuss a major project in Nottingham with key people, an introduction to the Gleeds Chairman, and some good food, wine and sunshine to boot.
Personally, I didn’t find that Brexit was the dominant issue that I hear people reporting. My experience is that people remain confident, optimistic and simply keen to get on with things. I suppose it will be different in a multitude of sectors and dependent on the business people are in. Our message is simply that we have great investment opportunities in the Midlands and, from what I see, the appetite and desire from the property and construction sector remains very strong.
All in all, a good week – only disrupted slightly by me locking the two of us on our first-floor balcony on the Friday night until the locksmith ‘broke in’ to free us! – but that’s a different story and one for another time. 😉