Any seasoned Mipim goer will know that this conference in the South of France is not one you can just rock up to without some careful planning and preparation.
And I don’t just mean by organising your diary. Packing for this event is a fine tuned skill as you need to strike the perfect balance between travelling light enough to get through security, hand luggage only, in the blink of an eye and ensuring you have your version of essential Mipim survival kit.
This kit varies from person to person, but often includes similar elements, and has usually been honed after year upon year of mishaps, missed meetings and very sore feet.
After spending an hour last year trying to locate any shop in Cannes that sold an iPhone charger, and spotting countless delegates each year - particularly the ladies - wincing with every step they take circa 4pm, with a whole evening of networking, drinks and bar hopping ahead of them it’s clear that not everyone gets the balance right.
And it’s often harder than you might imagine to pick up the essentials when you arrive thanks to this conference’s legendary fast pace and unforgiving quota of free time. There’s also the fact that you’ll end up paying a price for forgotten items - a lesson I won’t forget in a hurry since once handing over €7 for a toothbrush.
So, as we ease into Mipim week 2011, and I prepare my case to head out on Wednesday morning I have come up with a list of five essentials that, from past experience, I now know I couldn’t do without. And I have asked fellow Mipim-goers to do the same.
- The Blackberry. No matter how well you organise your diary, there is just no way anyone can remember exactly where you are meant to be, with whom and at what time for every single meeting just by looking at your A5 desk planner each morning. Looking back over emails complete with contact numbers, restaurant names and exact timings is an essential part of on the ground scheduling.
- Sun cream. There is no headache quite like the headache you get with the alcohol/dehydration/sun burn combo.
- A safety pin (though be careful it getting through security). Ever noticed how hotel room curtains rarely close? If you want a proper night’s sleep and a dark room this is an essential for keeping the cool in and the bright light out
- Very good travel insurance. Lost items? Tick. Stolen credit cards? Check. Broken phones/laptops/media tools? Of course.
- A classic, but vital all the same. Comfortable shoes. Leave them at home in your wardrobe at your peril.
- And one thing not to pack? Your credit card. Unless you have a very generous expense account and an equally generous and understanding boss, take the credit card out of your wallet and Leave. It. at. Home.
Dan Innes, managing director at Innesco
- Phone Charger. Remember to take your phone charger with you. Seasoned MIPIMers will have invested in a French charger – probably after making the mistake of packing their UK charger in hold luggage which results in a more leisurely trip to Cannes. 20 hour days can take their toll on the humble iPhone and Blackberry!
- Mifi. Roaming charges are not in keeping with these straitened times and nothing shouts gauche Brit abroad more than huddling around a wifi hotspot in the vain hope of sending that all important email. Invest in an Orange “Mifi” and you can have your own pay-as-you-go wifi hotspot to carry around with you.
- Ibuprofen. It’s not that we’re not as young as we used to be, but as Cannes is closer to the equator you’ll feel unusually rough after a hard night’s industry networking. Pack an emergency box of ibuprofen to knock back with your cafe au lait the morning after the night before. Helps with the breakfast briefings, although we note that nothing officially starts before 9am this year – 8am’s are just so 2010
- Sunglasses. It may have been grey with a wind chill factor of -2 when wheels went up at Heathrow, but the sun is shining on the Cote d’Azur. Do your eyes a favour, avoid those quizzical squints at name badges and hide the effects of the night before with 2011’s latest RayBans.
- Gifts. Whether it’s for the jealous team left in the office or that frazzled other half left back at home, don’t forget to pack some choice gifts on your return leg. Whilst we all know that a week in Cannes is a gruelling trial, others may be more sceptical… .
Paul Spaven, partner at Tuffin Ferraby Taylor
- Best business clothes
- Blackberry… and charger
- Guest list for our cocktail party
- More business cards than I might think I could possibly need.
And less seriously
- The abridged French phrase book (“Trois biers s’il vous plait” and “Combien??!! Zoot alors!”)
- Raincoat, gloves, scarf and umbrella. To pretend to my “stay at home” TFT partners that it really will be a miserable week
- Luggage tag for my lapel. So that my friends can send me back to my room at The Carlton when I suffer loss of the power of speech outside Café Roma at 4am
- A wallet with no Euros. So that my finance partner, David Mann, will pay for everything
- Stick on false smile and open eyes. (You never know when you might need them)
David Mann, partner at Tuffin Ferraby Taylor
Trying to avoid the obvious like aspirin, my top five tips for a fun (and productive) Mipim are:
- Berocca for a vitamin C boost
- Orthopaedic gel shoe insoles
- Intravenous Red Bull
- A large expenses account
- A sixth sense to locate that useful contact in a crowded room
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