Rip Off Britain? Sacre bleu – try France….

You may know that I have had an involvement in Nottingham’s presence at the property show in the south of France each year for the last three. The show is called MIPIM – and the worlds property folk descend on the Filmic Cannes. We pay for the privilege – and it’s a lot!


Last year our highlight dinner was in the 360 degree restaurant in the Radisson Blu. It is a stunning location – although at nearly £200 a head for dinner – it should be.

In essence you pay for the room privatisation and then for the food. I was pleased to see that the food has remained the same – at e120 per head, drinks similar at e26 per person.

But the room has gone up – a bit. Last year it was e2,000.

This year it is e10,000… a five fold increase!

I did query this with the Hotel and their response (you need to put on a French accent) “That is correct”. That is correct that we like ripping off repeat customers? I’m not sure.

I have two theories. Firstly they have double booked and need to price one party out of the market. The alternative is that they simply have no qualms whatsoever in ripping people off. The price per head now ill go to around £325.

Sacre bleu! And I thought this country was a rip off at times….

MIPIM 2013 – starts here.

Where do that year go? I can’t believe it’s a year since I was on the Cote D’Azur at the world property show lovingly known as MIPIM. The 2013 show starts today.


My MIPIM started last night as my flight this morning (hopefully) took off from Brummieland at 6.50am. That means a 4.50am check in. And allowing an hour from sunny Nottingham, my wake up would have been just after 3… I don’t do ‘just after 3′, makes me more grumpy than usual.

Having said that, I’m already grumpy. I stayed in the Novotel at the Airport last night – this allowed a more reasonable 4.30am start. I will pay good money for an extra two hours in bed. £99 on this occasion – for a very average room. But then e9.90 for overnight wi-fi. OK, that won’t break the bank, but I am heartily sick of hotels charging for wi-fi. When I was in the USA a few weeks ago, my son and I commented on the fact that there was free wi-fi just about everywhere – hotels, restaurants, shopping malls.

I’m not going to finish this blog on rip-off Britain though. I’m about to step into the world of millionaires – of Gucci and Prada. Where 10 euros is about average for a bottle of beer. Well, it is this week!

A quick precis though – Team Nottingham are in MIPIM – with the sole aim of promoting all that is good about the City. This a private sector funded trip – although we do have the public sector with us. The team are like-minded about what we want to achieve. It’s all about inward investment – bringing people in. getting them to invest. So we have more jobs and a more prosperous economy.

So, that’s it for this little blog this morning. I will keep you posted on what we are up to as the week goes on. I am privy to some announcements – although they are currently embargoed. They will appear here – so do drop by – I’ll try to keep up with whats happening! There may be some stuff on twitter too – try @TGNot or ….


Quite a few people in Team Nottingham are MIPIM virgins. I am not. I carry the scars from years of treading the boards on the Cote D’Azur.


So, in an effort to be helpful if you are doing MIPIM 2013, heres my top 10 hints:

1. Shoes. Do not wear new shoes, they may make you look sharply dressed as you ponce around the Croissette – but your feet will bleed by the end of the week from the hours you walk the halls and stand around.

2. Sleep. Sleep before the event – the days are long and arduous. Breakfast meetings and evening dinners blur eventually. Sleep is a treasured thing. Try to get some time out in the day to rest.

3. Beer. Is expensive. As is wine and champagne. But you will be plied with it from every angle. It is not cool to be seen draped across a bar heater in Bar Romma at 4am. Pace is everything. Water is good between beer.

4. Business Cards. Take some and bring some home. But when you meet someone don’t just put the card in your pocket. Write on the back of it – where you met the person and what you talked bout / what opportunity there might be for you. You will not remember at the end of the week.

5. Follow Up. when you get back from Cannes follow up. Make sure you do. The business end of Cannes is generally done back in the UK. Thats why you need to write on the business cards.

6. Canapes. Are quite lovely. But after four days you will be heartily sick of them. They do nothing for appetite. So make sure you get a decent breakfast – plenty of small cafes sell the full english treatment and why shouldn’t you. But there’s also great kebab shops which stays open until the early hours. Essential nutrients can be taken on board.

7. Brochures. It might look cool walking around with handfuls of brochures – but are you going to get them in your bag to come home? Really? Leave them where they are.

8. Sunshine. It has been known to be sunny. Which has an amazing effect on the pale-faced agents (who rarely see the light of day normally). Sun tan lotion is not for girls. You look more silly as a lobster than a hint of coffee (factor 25). You will need your sunglasses. Aviators make a true agent.

9. Dress Code. This is always a tough one. I rarely wear a tie at the office now, but I do for certain clients. If it is a formal dinner you may need a suit and tie, otherwise it’s suits and open necked shirts. As the evening wears on it can get cool though so thin jumpers may be de rigeur.

10. ENJOY. It’s a tough gig, but someone has to do it. Remember to line up your stories about 18 hour networking sessions and tough negotiations. No one will believe you otherwise…

I’ll be at MIPIM 2013 with my firm and Team Nottingham – blogging when I can.


The greatest band of all time played in Nottingham on Wednesday night. Squeeze fit that bill nicely. Of course the greatest artist of all time is Bowie.

Better than them playing Nottingham – I got to say hello to the band afterwards – like a teenager! They signed the playlist (obviously acquired from the stage!), a drumstick I caught and the Live CD from the night!

I meet my all time song-writing hero!

I meet my all time song-writing hero!

It’s fair to say that they don’t make music like Squeeze make music. The Lennon & McCartney of their time. Enjoy the pictures – but also the sublime lyrics…

Take me I’m Yours…

I’ve come across the desert
To greet you with a smile
My camel looks so tired
It’s hardly worth my while



Take it to the bridge
Throw it overboard
See if it can swim
Back up to the shore
No one’s in the house
Everyone is out
All the lights are on
And the blinds are down


Slap annd tickle

If you ever change your mind
Which you do from time to time
Never chew a pickle
With a little slap and tickle
You have to throw the stone
To get the pool to ripple

Simon Hanson

Simon Hanson

Pulling Mussels

They do it down on camber sands
They do it at Waikiki
Lazing about the beach all day,
At night the crickets creepy

Chris Difford

Chris Difford

Up the Junction

I never thought it would happen
With me and the girl from clapham
Out on a windy common
That night I ain’t forgotten

John Bentley

John Bentley

and … Cool for Cats:

The Indians send signals from the rocks above the pass
The cowboys take position in the bushes in the grass
The squaw is with the Corporal – she’s tied against the tree
She doesn’t mind the language – it’s the beatings she don’t need…

Simply the best.

By Tim Garratt Posted in Nottingham Tagged , Chris Difford, December 2012, Glenn Tilbrook, John Bentley, , Pop Up Shop tour, Royal Concert Hall, Simon Hanson, Squeeze, Stephen Bentley

MIPIM 2013

I have been a little quiet on the MIPIM front for a while. This is partly because we were unsure as to whether we could pull off another private sector event – as we have done at the last two Cannes property shows.


Unfortunately the organisers don’t make life easy for the sort of proposal we have – they are more used to dealing with big regions and cities across the globe. A group of mad-keen enthusiasts selling a City in the midlands is a bit below their radar. They don’t get my funding model (lot’s of private sector types throwing cash in a pot to help a cash-strapped council!)

But we have overcome the difficulties and raised over £30,000 to make sure Nottingham is represented on the world stage. We will be in Cannes in March 2013.

We are working on how we promote Nottingham – but it will include a 5* dinner – which will have an exclusive invite list. We’ll also have our ever-popular drinks reception too. Brunch will probably be our final event – in this four day show.

We have some new sponsors this year Team Nottingham now looks like:

Innes England
CPMG Architects
Couch Perry Wilkes
Rizc McCay
Morgan Tucker
UK Regenration
Miller Birch
Cartwright Communications
Nottingham City Council / Invest in Nottingham Club

We have much work to do, but we all consider the prize worthy of the effort (and cash).

I’ll update the blog as we get more information – in the meantime if you are going to be at MIPIM 2013 – do let us know!

MIPIM 2012 – looking back….

So another MIPIM finished last week and I’m now back in the UK. I have lost track of my visits, but believe that was my 9th trip to Cannes and the Cote D’Azur.

The sun sets on MIPIM 2012 in Cannes

We had a fantastic show. Two announcements about Nottingham – one about the Enterporise Zone, the other about the new UK Regeneration scheme. These were good news stories.

We had three formal events; a dinner, a drinks reception and a breakfast. In between a lot of meetings (yes – some on yachts with champagne). We met a lot of people; some join the circle of friends the City has.

We can’t compete with the likes of the Krasnodar presence at MIPIM – they paid a cool million pounds for their stand – a bit beyond the Team Nottingham budget! Cannes is a great place to get rid of cash.

The question you will always be asked is, was it worth it. Well yes. I met people who I wouldn’t normally meet or if I would then it would be in a focused meeting! Sometimes the ability to just to chat about things means you learn about their businesses and what they are doing outside your usual visibility. Some of the things we do are about slow burn.

As to Team Nottingham it has grown and now represents a formidable force – it is fascinating to watch the team at work; to see them sell the City (and their own firms).

The consensus view is that we will do it all again next year. The big questions will be whether it will be bigger! If it is we need more sponsors and that brings new challanges. Coralling 21 people in a foreign country could be described at times as being like herding cats!

Of course the real decison should be based on whether we get more work; only time will tell!

MIPIM 2012

As the evenings draw shorter, we start to plan for 2012. And high on our calendar of ‘events’ for the firm is MIPIM, the annual property show in Cannes – I have stopped counting how many times I have been.

A sneaky picture of me working in Cannes taken by Lisa Pilkington from the Estates Gazette

The planning has started for Team Nottingham to have a persence again. The City Council still have no funding to allow represntation of the City on this world stage – so the private sector remain in the seat. We do get great support from Invest in Nottingham.

It looks like we may have some new sponsors this year. This is great news as it allows us to raise more funds and have better events. Last year we had two – which were really well attended. More sponsors also means more help and support.

As the economic situation seems to worsen, MIPIM becomes more important. It is all to easy to slash marketing budgets in tough times – but not everyone has. We need to keep Nottingham firmly on the International map. We have done this in the past, but I have a view which says that if you miss one or two years that could undo all of the good work we have done before.

MIPIM represents a massive networking opportunity. Key players, decision-makers and influencers are all there. We have done well in previous years in getting these people to our get-togethers.

We also feed off our other sponsors. The name of the game is making contact with as many people as possible.

My colleague, Matt Hannah, once said that he wished it were in Blackpool – not Cannes. I’m not sure I agree with that – a bit of sunshine, some gleaming yachts and a glass of champagne or two wouldn’t be quite the same on the Mersey Riviera? And we do work as I can prove here.

Obviously I am joking about the champagne – in these tough times it is more likely to be lager…

Nottingham at MIPIM 2012

As you will know if you follow my blog regularly I was heavily involved in Nottingham’s presence at MIPIM 2011. We went on a budget, punched well above our weight and by all accounts enjoyed success as a group of private sector firms doing their bit for the wider benefit of the City.

We had our post-MIPIM post-mortem last week at Nottingham Contemporary. I think I can now give tours! After the tour we settled down for a meal in the cafe and had a chance to reflect on 2011. By all accounts the firms who put their hard earned cash into the event were pleased with their investment. The cocktail party in Cannes was regarded as the best event – we had a very good turnout – and the quality of guests was really high. There were some excellent networking opportunities.

Although much of what we do is ‘slow-burn’ there were some success stories. One of the partners in Team Nottingham is quoting for work worth a six-figure sum as a direct result of a meeting at MIPIM. That is money coming into Nottingham. It could have gone elsewhere.

I have met two potential investors and developers as a direct result of MIPIM – and hope that one of them may pursue one of Nottingham’s biggest regeneration challenges.

What was really interesting was the commitment now for 2012. Everyone is in from the private sector. All of the private sector partners felt that the time,, money and effort added a positive to their business. We don’t have to justify that to anyone other than ourselves. The public sector have more of a challenge – in demonstrating ‘value for money’. I doubt that their position will have changed – but their presence is essential. The private sector may well need to pay for their attending again.

So it looks like the work to build on the success of the last few years will need to start all over again. March 2012 seems a long way off, but it amazing how quickly time flies…

The Joy of email?

My mate John Lyle carried out an experiment a couple of weeks ago – where he stopped using his iphone. I do know that he has gone back to using it.
My last few weeks have featured quite a lot of travel – 22,500 miles and three different time zones. One of the trips was holiday but Cannes and Shanghai were work.

...and then you've got some more

I don’t think I am unusual in my office or profession in the amount of emails I get each day. I average somewhere between 90-110. I guess that a third are junk, another third are where I am cc’d and the rest are for me.

Email management has become a major part of the working day. And when you are away the matter becomes something of a major task. In China I had a slow internet connection which made dealing with the ‘management’ even more of a chore.

I have been reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell – ‘The Tipping Point‘ – which is really interesting. And in his final chapter he talks about an ‘immunity’ – meaning that we are becoming slightly removed from the process of communicating. Research has shown that people are more argumentative in email than in face to face meetings. They can hide behind an email. As we become inundated with email we tend to switch off. I know that I do. If I am faced with 100 emails then I need to find a quick way of filtering, so some get deleted without reading past the title – or in some cases the senders identity.
I frequently unsubscribe to sending lists but can’t help that this makes things worse. I think sometimes this just validates my address!

And my other bugbear is that the ‘reply to all’ button should be disabled. Especially from circular emails, viz. “Will you sponsor me in a cycle ride for xyz charity” – “yes” from 15 people is not funny.

And today I had an email from a Company offering me to do a mailshot to 500,000 businesses for £599. Half a million junk messages!

I read somewhere a suggestion that all staff be given an allowance – say £1 per day and were then charged 5p per email sent. So once you stepped over 20 it started to get deducted from your salary! Genius…

The Market on the up?

Last month I blogged about the data suggesting that the property market was ‘flatlining’ – but my latest data from PropertyData suggests a bit of a change. Their graphical representation of the transactions on a comparative basis for the first two months of the year looks promising.

And in the last month – yields have shifted slightly downwards (pushing values up). The February average was 5.79% , down from a three month average of 6.21%. These are averages and we might be falling into the trap of statistics, statistics and bloody lies. In fact the transactions shown in the graph are skewed as I mentioned last month by the sale of the Trafford Centre. Also included in the figures is the sale of the E.On building in Nottingham which was pre-let and pre-sold.

The market remains challenging. In reality there is little new lending – and where we do hear of it the terms are hardly newsworthy. There is very little appetite for speculative development. At MIPIM last week I spoke to a number of people who thought that the days of putting buildings up in the hope of finding an occupier after it is complete would not return for years. Pre-letting is the name of the game!

And so I return to the Derby Regeneration Fund – which is due to be announced this week (although my weekend edition of Property Week suggested that Bolsterstone and Lowbridge were scheme winners). I think the scheme is admirable – and shows a really positive and pro-active stance by the Authority.

But it doesn’t fundamentally allow the market to be bucked. If you don’t have an occupier then you don’t have a scheme at the moment.

I personally don’t see much confidence returning to the market until later in the year. That’s not to say I don’t have my fingers crossed for an earlier return to the glory days!