Now well into day three, there seems to be a general consensus that smaller is better as far as MIPIM is concerned.
The UK property industry titans are here and visibly holding court on the terrace and in the bar of the Carlton Hotel. The view is that the decision makers are here but the hangers have largely been priced out.
There is time for more relaxed conversation, rather than in previous years when you had to plan your day as a strictly regimented military campaign in order to get to all the events on your overloaded, colour coded schedule.
This year you can even concentrate on the event you are attending rather than planning your exit as soon as you arrive. So I spent an extremely pleasant afternoon at a beach front lunch catching up with an interesting group of property industry veterans discussing the relative features of the current and previous recessions rather than hurtling round the Cannes suburbs in the usual whirlwind tour of parties.
(I have to admit though that I did miss the amazing chocolate gateau at the Raven Group party which was worth the trip to Antibes last year).
The main topic of conversation is yields rather than the weather – a sure sign that deals will follow- subject of course to finding the funding. One frustrated delegate is planning to walk the Croisette with a sandwich board proclaiming ‘have deals give me funding’.
Although the view amongst those whose judgement I value is that this is just the beginning and we have a few more years of turmoil ahead of us.
Glitz is out and frugality is in – a sign of the times is that there were not one but two hosted client dinners being held at a local pizza restaurant last night. Some guests weren’t clear which party they were meant to be with -which helped with the networking.
It has to be said that the more manageable numbers has made it easier to effect introductions - an important part of the MIPIM ritual - as you can now actually find the people you need to speak to. But even with the reduced numbers you still can’t get a taxi early evening as the foot weary venture out of their hotels for the rigours of the evening session.
When after a long wait last night I finally managed to nab one I offered in a moment of generosity to share with the group behind me in the queue and found that I was honoured to be travelling with her excellency the South African Ambassador to France recently arrived from Paris and the CEO of the South African Property Owners Association which was an unexpected bonus!
They were absolutely charming and gave me some useful tips for my upcoming trip to their country.