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MIPIM 2009: Conference organisers predict ‘sober’ event

Peter Rhodes, managing director at Reed MIDEM UK says there will be fewer parties at the world’s largest property event as firms send fewer junior executives and the number of non-paying visitors decline.

Delegates at next week’s MIPIM conference in Cannes can expect a departure from the usual party atmosphere according to a senior figure at organiser Reed MIPIM.

Peter Rhodes, managing director at Reed MIDEM UK, the UK arm of Reed MIDEM told PERE that official attendees at this year’s conference should expect a more focused event as fewer junior delegates and speculative, non paying people attend.

He said: “It will be a very sober event. There has been a criticism over the last few years that perhaps the non sober side of MIPIM had become too much and needed sorting out.”

As property professionals enjoyed a bull market over recent years, MIPIM – the world’s largest property fair – became home to increasingly elaborate corporate functions. Many of Cannes’s five star hotels were inundated with reservations and booked out well in advance.

This year is expected to be very different. For example, two of the largest property services firms in Europe, Jones Lang LaSalle and King Sturge, have cancelled their respective parties. Both were previously regarded as running the largest parties at the week-long jamboree. King Sturge has also confirmed that it is to send only 35 delegates to Cannes this year, a reduction of 50 percent compared to last year.

Rhodes said that many of those responsible for fuelling the party element of the conference were British and many had not paid delegate fees. He said: “You had a large contingent of British people who were not registered and were going around partying. That wasn’t any good for MIPIM and it gave the conference a bad name. Hopefully those freeloaders won’t be there.”

And he warned: “I say to delegates: if these guys are going to go to our show and avoid paying us if they can then if they do business with you and can avoid paying you, they will.”

The official attendance figure for this year’s event is expected to be down by a third on last year with about 20,000 people expected to go through the turn-styles.