“As the Director of Events & Marketing for EMEA, I am responsible for the coordination and execution of all internal and external events that Colliers EMEA participates in – from industry trade shows to regional conferences to client dinners.”
MIPIM is one of my favourite events at Colliers, as it’s the one of the events in the year that brings everyone together across EMEA. 190 people from over 25 of our countries. A chance to work alongside colleagues and see friends who, on a normal day, are a tinny voice via Skype.
A typical day at MIPIM can easily last from 5:30am-midnight, but the first day I am up at 4:45am to take
the first Saturday flight at 8:30am. By 11:30am local time the laptops are open, the iced lattes are in hand, and our Cannes apartment is transformed into a bombshell that is our office before and after “working hours”, then our bed for the few hours we make it there each night.
The golden rule is that you can never be prepared enough, expect the unexpected. Before MIPIM was in full swing we were already facing the force of nature, as Nice airport suddenly closed due to the bad weather and half our team were stranded or diverted. The clock ticking, and no time to waste, I am straight on to transport companies looking for alternative travel methods by any means possible. While I thoroughly organise every last detail for months before the event, from transport to hotels and seating plans to table layouts, I know from experience, that there will always be a new challenge. Fortunately, on this occasion, the skies cleared up and our delegates all made it in on time, if not a little bedraggled from being in an aircraft for so long.
If I get time, I can grab a quick breakfast, then I head to various restaurants to check that the many reservations made, making sure menus are understood, dietary requirements are catered for, and the deposits have been received – it’s amazing how often things still go awry with communication in the south of France! Next, it’s on to the Colliers’ yacht, the Dyna-R, to meet with our events crew. I check all deliveries have arrived and set up for the 260, yes 260, client meetings that will take place throughout the week on the yacht alone. All food, beverages, marketing materials and furniture must be delivered that day for the week ahead and suddenly the yacht becomes a French cave of wonders. No gap is left unfilled. If you open up the front of the hot tub, you will find it stuffed full of supplies for the week! I run straight from here to the Palais to set-up the Colliers stand, usually still a construction site at this stage. I run through setting up, branding, and test technology such as lighting, screens and displays. While now, the Palais is looking more like a royal disaster and less
Palais of Dreams with bits of timber everywhere and lots of hammering, it’s incredible how quickly they construct everything. We ask the builders very nicely if we can sneak in to the steel-toed boots only zone in our ballet flats, so we can add final touches.
Monday comes around and it is all systems go. Every waking hour is spent making sure everyone is accommodated for from breakfast through to the cocktail parties in the evening. Every morning and every evening is spent double and triple-checking the restaurant bookings, the on-board events and the stock of food and drink, making sure all the delegates are checked-in and have their badges, juggling the inevitable last minute meeting/ hotel/ registration/ transport changes – and, executing the backup plan when Thursday arrives and the forecasted torrential downpour does arrive and does last all day. There is something to look forward to though – at the end of the week, there is a welcome glass of champagne and I am usually so exhausted that I very much enjoy the sunshine on the top deck of our super yacht for 30 minutes before the charter officially ends and we are kindly asked to vacate the premises.
MY THREE MIPIM TIPS FOR EVENT MANAGERS:
- Be ready for every eventuality and then some. Plan it as though it will happen. The plan for the day will never quite be what happens on the day. You have to be quick on your feet and ready
to mentally juggle all the options in the span of a few seconds and then execute the most appropriate Plan B, C or D. This is one of the reasons I love working in Events though – it keeps you sharp and it’s quite the adrenaline rush!
- Team communication. Every day I send a group email to our delegates reminding them of logistics and the schedule so that everyone is well-prepared. The events team will also congregate every day for a 7am briefing breakfast so that each member is prepared for what is planned, and what could possibly happen. Keeping everyone in the loop helps mitigate at least some of the possible issues!
- Keep calm and carry on. As the events team you are the heart of the event and delegates will look to you for reassurance. Greet everyone with a warm and happy demeanour, show you are there to support them, and just keep on smiling no matter what!
- BONUS: my top five must-haves in my bag are: power banks PLURAL, Ibuprofen, lip-balm, mints, multiple USB sticks. You can never be prepared enough!