Industry mulls Mipim in June dilemma

International real estate companies including Warburg-HIH Invest and municipal bodies from Paris and beyond are advancing plans to participate in Mipim in June, after Europe’s biggest real estate conference was postponed in the light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Organisers Reed Midem announced on 29 February that the fair would be moved to 2-5 June, after a raft of high-profile participants pulled out over coronavirus fears. ‘The well-being of our clients and staff is our priority,’ said Reed Midem chief executive Paul Zilk. ‘Given the evolving context, the best course of action is to postpone Mipim to June.’

Reed Midem underlined that the firm’s decision anticipated a French decree to limit sizeable indoor events, stating via its Mipimworld Twitter account: ‘The decision to reschedule Mipim was taken and announced before the French government's announcement that it would ban gatherings of 5000+ people’.

Many across the industry welcomed the move, with HQO, a proptech firm backed by JLL Spark, tweeting: ‘Cheers to our friends at Mipim for putting the health and well-being of its many staff and attendees ahead of anything else. The Future is Human, and human interest comes first. We're looking forward to seeing everyone this June!’

United Grand Paris, which unites over 20 public bodies in a single pavilion at the event, tweeted about the new date, adding: ‘United Grand Paris exhibitors will be at the rendez-vous!’

German building management firm BuildingMinds said: ‘We appreciate the organisers for taking the well beings of participants as their top priority. Our thoughts and wishes are with those who are fighting against covid19. We are looking forward to joining Mipim2020 in June.’

Several other firms joined in tweeting their approval of the new dates, with the UK’s Futuredesigns saying ‘we will be at Mipim in June’, and Germany’s REOS remarking ‘we look forward to meeting you then’.

The UK’s Okto said: ‘We're gutted that Mipim has been postponed. However we will be there for the new date 2nd - 5th June’, while Godwin Developments affirmed: ‘Godwin will still be attending Mipim from June 2nd-5th in Cannes.’ Architects Geraght Taylor tweeted: ‘We are sorry to hear that Mipim has been postponed due to the Corona virus, but fully agree that safety must come first. We look forward to taking part in a rescheduled Mipim 2020 in June.’

Andreas Griesbach, partner at international law firm Baker Tilly told PropertyEU: ‘As of today, we are actually trying to get the new date into our plans and attend Mipim with the same number of people. We are also trying to ensure our customer event, which we had planned, will take place.’

Undecided
However, plenty of firms suggested they had yet to make a decision.

A JLL spokesperson reaffirmed: ‘Our focus is on monitoring and reviewing the situation as a whole to protect the health and well-being of our people and clients.’

Another international firm which usually takes a three-figure delegation and preferred to remain anonymous said: ‘We’re going to wait and see - we only just found out a couple of days ago’.

Francesco Fedele, CEO of BF.direkt, told PropertyEU: ‘We have not yet decided whether we will participate in Mipim in June, as the date falls in our holidays. We are currently still working on several issues.’

A twitter user complained: ‘To be real clear, the revised date of June 2nd for Mipim is alongside another music show called Midem with 5000 already confirmed delegates!!!!! Madness. Same venue, same hotels, same restaurants. You couldn’t make it up.’

Co-hosting
Reed Midem in fact is already hosting another event in Cannes 2-5 June, Midem, its music industry junket, which attracted around 5,000 delegates last year and is usually held in the Palais. With Mipim drawing crowds of 25,000+, speculation has been rife as to how the events can run in parallel.

Via its Mipimworld twitter account, Reed Midem said: ‘Midem will go ahead alongside Mipim. We are working on the logistics of holding two events at the same time.’

Other parties called for flexibility. Gary Gregg, the owner of Cannes bar Brown Sugar which had been set to host parties for CBRE, Cushman and Wakefield, Knight Frank and others next week tweeted: ‘We had up to 9 events for 1700 pers 9-12 Mar. Going to honour our commitments on the new dates 2-5 June. I encourage restaurants, venues, accom. providers and hotels to do the same.’

However, the new dates are unlikely to suit everyone. Dutch property event Provada takes place 16-18 June this year, and Provada director Peter Schreuter told Vastgoedmarkt that there was a risk that industry folk would ditch the Amsterdam event this year in favour of Mipim: ‘You have been hearing for years that people go to the Mipim less and less, so I expect that the damage will not be too bad for us. But you also have to be realistic: we will not break visitor records this year,’ he commented.

On Wednesday, UK consultancy Avison Young confirmed it would skip the June meet-up and Octane Capital's Mark Posniak shared that his firm would not head to Cannes for the rescheduled event.

UK building consultancy MTT tweeted: ‘Mipim has been postponed this year and we have made the decision that we will not be attending Mipim in June 2020. We will be there in force in 2021 and hopefully the Covid-19 will be a distant memory!’

Mipim alternatives
Across social media, some delegates mooted going to Cannes in March anyway, while others proposed alternative plans on home turf.

In the days leading up to the show postponement decision, the Sheffield Property Association initiated plans for a week of local ‘pop-up events’ the second week in March which could be enjoyed ‘in person or remotely’.

Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, an economic development agency, offered its ‘Nipim’ conference as an alternative – a one-day event on 11 March for property people in the city – while Invest in Chesterfield invited real estate specialists to a ‘Celebrate Chesterfield’ event, also on 11 March. Meanwhile, networking collective Downtown in Business Birmingham is advertising a ‘Mipim social’ in the city on 10 March.

While property people consider their plans, Reed Exhibitions faces further decision-making for its global events. The conference organiser has already cancelled the London Book Fair which was due to take place 10-12 March at London’s Olympia, confirming that the event would return in March 2021.

Reed will also have to make a call over its next Cannes event, MIPTV, which is due to start on 30 March in the Palais, and usually attracts around 10,000 participants. If the French government’s decree over large events stays in place, this conference seems set to be postponed or cancelled.

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