Having only arrived in Cannes last night in time for a quick bag drop before dinner, I have yet to venture into the bunker. This rather ominously titled location is traditionally the heart of the MIPIM conference.

But it seems I am not the only one who hasn’t been in yet. And while I intend to head there today – there are a huge number of delegates who won’t be setting foot inside the Palais all week.

With the pass prices now costing around $1600 MIPIM-goers are increasingly opting out of forking out and are simply meeting in the surrounding bars, restaurants and hotels – picking up key bits of information from “the inside” on their blackberries and laptops.

Indeed, reports from those who have made it inside over the past two days suggest that it this far quieter now than the frenetic chaos of years gone by.

“It just doesn’t make sense for us as a company to pay to send staff out here and for their accommodation and then pay another $1600 just to get into the bunker when they can meet everyone they need to outside the main conference hub,” said one agent. “It is extortionate now and not worth the extra money. I hear there are plans to change the system next year as so many people have a problem with the soaring costs.”

“People who would hang around at MIPIM without bunker passes used to be known as hangers on,” said another. “Not anymore. Financially it is better to come along for the meetings but hold them somewhere other than inside the centre, especially as that’s where you’ll find most people now anyway as everyone has had the same idea.”

So there you have it, rising costs are forcing delegates out onto the streets and into the bars of Cannes from dusk til dawn to clinch those deals. As if Caffé Roma needed any more business…