Apparently there are 1000 extra delegates at Mipim this year - 18000 in total. But it’s hard to see where. The bars seem more manageable, tables are readily available for dinner, even last minute walk in requests, and the Croisette is busily bustling rather than stressfully gridlocked.
The answer to this apparent anomaly could be that, this year, people are not heading out for the entire conference as was the norm in years gone by. “I think that’s true,” said one consultant this morning. “Everyone is being much more focused and targeted. It’s a switch back to a real working Mipim.
People are checking when the key events are and are coming out for two, even one night, just to be here for the essential opportunities rather than the whole lot being out here at the same time.”
The events out here this year have certainly felt more intimate. It has been easier to find and chat to people at parties, even the headline dos like the Hogan Lovells bash and the Malcolm Hollis drinks last night (note to Malcolm Hollis: great yacht, good guests and plenty of drinks but next year please make the actual boarding process less treacherous! Very wobbly with no hand rail - talk about walking the plank.)
The general mood down here this year reflects the idea of a “working Mipim” rather well. Most people I have met out here have had unanimously productive days as it appears deals are being done and progress is being made. I even bumped into a couple of partners from a well known building surveyors dancing down the street last night after what they described as “a very good day indeed.”
“We can see the horizon,” they said. “We’re not yet sure how far away it is, but we can see it.”
So it’s a more positive vibe. Certainly more so than last year and, of course, the year before that where the mood was verging on suicidal. No heads in hands at Mipim 2011, no deep sighs or sharp intakes of breath when mentions are made of the market, but still plenty of caution and realism. The consensus is that more pain is yet to come, especially for consultants as public sector work continues to fall off a cliff come April. But at least this is all tempered by a bit of hope and a faith that strong firms with a good business strategy will survive.
So…onto the next meetings. I will be catching up with architects HOK and PLP this afternoon to try to gauge how things are going at the front end of the development process. Our recent analysis of this sector showed how many practices are “bruised, battered and broke” so I want to find out a bit more about how firms are faring.
And later… it’s the big one. A Tchenguiz spokesman has confirmed their party onboard Veni, Vidi, Vici will go ahead tonight as planned. Vincent is apparently on his way out to the conference as we speak.
One thing’s for sure - it is unlikely to have the less crowded, more intimate feel of the drinks dos referred to above as pretty much everyone who has an invite - and plenty of people who don’t - will surely be making sure they are there and what will now be the party of the entire conference.