UK Property Forums managing director Matthew Battle, a veteran of MIPIM in Cannes, has attended the last two UKREiiF events in Leeds – including last week’s. He weighs up how each event compares with the other.

Exam question: MIPIM Cannes v UKREiiF Leeds – discuss.

As a chunk of the built environment network converged on Leeds for this annual beanfeast, I thought it might be a good opportunity to ask the big question: Has UKREiiF now replaced MIPIM as the must-attend event for this community?

Location – Let’s face it, sipping a glass of Provencal rosé as the warm spring sun cuts across the beach at Cannes is always going to trump a very damp and dull day in Leeds. However, despite the biblical rain at this year’s event, the Royal Armouries worked as a venue and the city of Leeds managed to absorb the multitude of Fringe events.

Name of conferences – Both have incomprehensible titles and I have no idea what either of them stands for. However, this could be a cunning plan and the secret of their success.

Attendee mix – UKREiiF has a very strong backbone from the UK public sector such as Government, local councils, city mayors, county councils and all sorts of quasi-public sector quangos.

MIPIM is unashamedly international in its perspective with a far stronger attendee list, representing the finance sector with all their associated advisors in tow.

Content – UKREiiF has a smorgasbord of content for delegates to listen to – maybe even too much – but, with a little pre-event organisation, delegates can listen to a fantastic range of speakers. MIPIM has always been more about the expo and promenading on the Croisette.

Numbers – UKREiiF had a reported 12,000 delegates and anecdotally 3,000+ fringe delegates attended. In comparison, MIPIM Cannes had 20,000+ delegates and at least 5,000 unofficial delegates in 2024.

In summary, despite the damp conditions and dodgy hotels, Leeds and UKREiiF was a real success. How and where it grows will be interesting but who would have thought that the General Election was going to be announced that week? For many that only added to the dynamics of the event and gave it even more, as they might say in Cannes, raison d’etre.

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