Attending MIPIM? It will be helpful to get a lay of the land before you go. Following are business strategy tips along with some practical information to make the most of your time in Cannes. Enjoy!
- Go online. Soon after completing your registration with the organizing group, you will receive an email with login details (or information on how to change your login). Your email is your user name. Login to the online MIPIM site (http://www.mipim.com/) to complete your profile and increase your visibility to other attendees. Upon login, you will see a photo icon with an edit icon in the lower right. Click on the icon to upload your photo. Scroll down to "Promote Yourself and Your Company." Click on the Edit link to add information and let others know about your company and market interests. You can also link to your social media profiles. Make it easy for people to find you and do business with you! Use the same database to locate others with whom you want to connect. Search by name, company, business interests and/or world region. Download the mobile app before you go to have easy (and lightweight) access to participants, program information and more.
- Relationships first! Expect some differences at the MIPIM show from most US-based exhibitions. There's a much softer marketing approach. In most parts of the world, you must establish a relationship before talking business. Focus on making connections and developing relationships. Pay attention to your prospects' "signals" to judge how fast or hard to get down to business.
- Access to the exhibition. Before you can access the exhibition you must pick up registration materials, including a badge electronically coded with your photo. (Download your MIPIM "E ticket" from the website before you go to speed up the onsite registration process.) Each time you enter the Palais des Festivals (exhibition hall), security will scan your badge to confirm you are its rightful owner. Never give your badge to someone else to enter the exhibition. If you lose your badge, it will be a costly replacement!
- Business cards. Take lots of them, but don't push them into people's hands. Again, it's relationship first. When you are handed a card, take a moment to really focus/read what's on the card; it's a sign of respect.
- Marketing materials. Don't pack a huge stack of heavy print materials; few will be taken or saved. One high quality piece that provides key information (including where to get more) should suffice for personal and property marketing. CDs or flash drives are good for serious prospects. Consider preparing information in multiple languages to target likely investors. (Use a professional—don't rely on auto translations for important information.)
- FedEx options. In prior years, a FedEx counter has been available within the Palais. If you have a FedEx account, take the number with you. It's easy to pick up numerous marketing materials, market reports and more, and you'll have to decide how much you want to carry home (or pay for excess baggage weight). A daily bag/coat check is also available.
- Plan your time in advance. Use the online MIPIM directory to identify exhibitors and attendees with whom you'd like to connect. Contact them in advance if you want to arrange a formal meeting. Don't forget to review the program options. Mornings are typically quiet in the exhibit area so a good time to hear expert speakers on key property markets.
- Enjoy the receptions. The opening night of MIPIM (March 15) includes a kick-off cocktail reception for the entire MIPIM community. Lots of food and drink and people. This is far more social than business oriented so go and enjoy if you don't mind crowds (take your badge). Throughout the four-day exhibition, many exhibitors host receptions in their stands (booths). Most are open to anyone and some are promoted in the program.
- Locate the NAR-United States Pavilion. Located on the Palais' main floor, use Stand P-1.D84, P-1.E85 as a meet-up point and message center. It's recommended to stop by the NAR stand once a day to check for messages. A number of markets will be featured prominently within the stand as "Partner Exhibitors." There may be opportunities for individual NAR members to promote projects or local markets; contact Jan Hope at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- Dress. Business dress is the norm for MIPIM. As you may not have an opportunity to return to your hotel, consider what will be comfortable to wear all day and into the evening.
When in France…
- Dining. Expect leisurely lunches at the many places on the plage (beachfront) along the Croisette (road that runs along the Mediterranean Sea). Somewhat faster lunch options can be found directly across from the Palais des Festivals (exhibition hall). In general, however, meals in France are not to be rushed. Dinners are late and long. Don't expect to eat much before 8:00pm. Reservations are a must during MIPIM—particularly for more than four persons. Do your research in advance and make reservations before you arrive (or very soon upon arrival). Large group reservations must be made well in advance.
- Tipping. A service charge is typically added to restaurant bills (look carefully at your menu or receipt, or ask the waiter). It is quite common, however, for diners to leave an extra gratuity (often the small change from your bill at lunch); determined at your discretion. Some restaurants allow you to add a gratuity to your credit card; others don't so have euros handy. Expect to pay taxi drivers and other service providers about 10 percent of the bill.
- Walk when possible. Cannes is a lovely small city and very walkable; particularly near the Palais, including the old town area. Car traffic is horrendous during MIPIM and parking (if you can find it) is expensive. If you're traveling outside of Cannes to nearby towns, there are excellent train options. Taxis are readily available. Comfortable shoes are recommended—both for getting around Cannes and for walking through the exhibition hall. (Ladies, definitely bring a pair of comfortable, but stylish, flat shoes!)
- Exercise. No matter how late the evening, a great way to start the day is with a walk or run along the Croisette's wide pedestrian walkway that runs about 2 km along the Mediterranean coastline. During the day it's packed with MIPIM attendees, but before 8am, you'll find it to be a great place to soak in the beauty of southern France and observe the locals while offsetting a bit of the wonderful wines and foods of the region you likely had the night before.
- Shopping. Cannes is delightful place to shop. You'll find haute-couture boutiques as well as more reasonable-priced shops featuring local style and designs. The main shopping area is on Rue d'Antibes, which runs parallel to the Croisette; most of the high-end designer shops are along the Croisette. While the dollar has strengthened against the euro, keep the conversion rate in mind to avoid sticker shock when the credit card statement comes. Plan to buy euros from a local bank or ATM if you want to pay cash (hotel exchange rates will be the most expensive). Credit cards are accepted most everywhere.
- Language. Cannes is a tourist destination and you can expect nearly everyone in the hotels, restaurants and shops will speak English. However, polishing up a few phrases of French e.g., Bonjour for good day or Merci for thank you, is a nice gesture to the locals. Most important, know the correct pronunciation of Cannes. The "s" is silent and the correct pronunciation is "can" as in can of soda, not con (although the a is a bit soft).
- Weather. March weather in Cannes is, like most places, unpredictable. Cannes weather is typically very pleasant during MIPIM, particularly if the sun is shining. Evenings will be cool. It's recommended packing a lightweight coat, layering with sweaters or shawls, as needed. A small umbrella may come in handy.