To MIPIM, and don’t spare the horses!

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To MIPIM, and don’t spare the horses!

It’s been a case of MIPIM fever these last weeks spreading across the real estate industry – the great and the good from the investment and financial powerhouses of the sector are purportedly down to do deals in Cannes….. finally. Like wasps to a jam jar the rest of the industry’s circus troupes down to the South of France too, in the hope of crumbs from the table. New deals, contracts, marketing and meetings.

But forget why all 20,000 of us want to be there, what if you happen to be part of the circus and not one of those who instructed Geeves to take you across from Monaco in your Learjet or sailed across in your Nottingham pink yacht? If you’re anything like me you’ll have explored at least one of the many alternative ways of getting down there to the Med.

Although market optimism is slowly easing out our wallets once again, the mounting cost of a delegate badge, and the virtual monopoly on hotel rooms in the town, attending MIPIM is an expensive affair and worthy of tight reign. The regular flights to Nice rocket in price in closing months, whilst those who booked back in the Autumn stealed a march with £20 seats – you’ll spot them with those extra euros to spend at Caffé Roma >, plenty of green bottles at their feet.

Many BA travellers bit their nails this week, although I hear only one return flight on Saturday – the 11:10am – has been a casualty. There must be worst places to be stranded that the Cote d’Azur in 22 degrees of sunshine though? I know that many delegates changed their entry of exit airports to save on budget – ourselves included as we fly from Birmingham International with BMi at a third of the price of Heathrow (just a 5am drive up the M1 to contend with!). For others, a flight to Marseille then hire car is also a popular choice – one that I have tried to good effect before, although the drive back to the airport after 3 nights with as many decent hours sleep as I could count on two hands seemed to take an eternity.

One option I wish I’d honestly taken myself was to join one of the brave groups cycling all the way down to MIPIM for the charity Cycle2Cannes http://www.cycle2cannes.org/, as reported in the magazine http://www.building.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=3108163. After 1,500km I think I’d deserve that trip to the Martinez Bar, whatever the cost of a Peroni. Half a mill for charity? WOW -way to go guys and girls, we salute you!

Which leaves the train gaining in popularity year on year. Many people forget that there is a station in Cannes, with direct trains to Paris, or via Lille, TGV and the nice people at Eurostar to ferry you from St.Pancras. I exited the retail version of MIPIM – MAPIC – by train in 2006, and have to say it was one of the most pleasant wind-downs from Cannes I can remember – watching the Med coastline zip past in smooth French railways comfort. CABE Chairman Paul Finch and Chris Houchin of Bovis both opted for le train this year, so it can’t be that bad.

One last ditch attempt at saving cash might be to scrap your plan for an entire café down in Cannes, and jump to Cheltenham Race Week to entertain instead – the gamble may just pay off. However you get there, just get there – after last year’s reduced turn-out, this year has all the makings of a vibrant and focused business fair.

Dan Innes, Managing Director

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