Earlier this month, the 30th edition of MIPIM came to a close, after a rich 4-day programme of diverse and inspiring events, meetings and talks.
Over the week I spoke on a panel about the future of London’s high streets, attended high profile events with authorities including London Chamber of Commerce & Industry, City of London Corporation and Westminster Property Association and met with some of our key members to discuss future plans for the West End, including The Crown Estate, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, Trophaeum Asset Management and Shaftesbury plc.
For me, the overall theme of the conference: ‘Engaging the Future’ was right on the mark. As the representative of 600 businesses in London’s West End & Mayfair, we are constantly looking ahead to secure opportunities that will allow our businesses to grow, enabling them to adapt and engage with future trends and the ever-changing retail landscape.
That’s why we have investigated the upcoming trends and innovations that retailers, restaurants and hotels will need to know about in the next few years. With global innovation intelligence leaders Springwise, we have scoured the globe to find what the next big thing is in retail and what it means for our businesses. Beyond 2020, the innovations in technology and data analytics will hugely influence how retailers adapt their stores, and the link between spaces and experiences will become even more important. Therefore, from a real estate perspective, building strategic partnerships between retailers, brands, landlords, the public, and policy makers will be crucial to driving growth in an era of disruptive technologies and rapidly changing consumer expectations.
For me the three key themes for the future of retail can be summed up as: Cities, Customers, Collaboration. These were top of my mind when I met with international media publications such as Business Immo and Bloomberg as well as renowned UK trade titles such as Estates Gazette. I also took the chance to champion the West End & Mayfair as a top retail and leisure destination, sharing the latest openings and insights from our district.
Another issue that affects our district is homelessness. Last year we saw rough sleeping increase by 40% in the City of Westminster, so we need more resource to get people off the streets. As a business partnership, we want to use our power as a collective to lead on initiatives that can make an impact, and this is one that will be high on our agenda this year. We are working with The Connection at St Martin-in-the Fields to provide services to homeless people in our district (contact us for more information). Since being back in London, I was delighted to hear that Heart of London Business Alliance raised £1000s for London homeless charity TAP through its contactless payments points that were installed at the London Stand.
A highlight of the week was the annual Property Week Editors dinner where some of the most influential leaders in UK property meet to discuss the latest issues facing the real estate sector. Brexit was understandably top of the agenda, but we also had a good discussion about other long-term issues including the future of retail, the housing crisis and the social impact of development.
Watch the highlights video below:
Whatever happens with Brexit, 2020 is going to be game-changing for the West End & Mayfair. The public realm and infrastructure developments on Oxford Street will completely transform the district as we know it. To find out more about the work we do including our inward investment programme, placemaking projects and advocacy campaigns click the links or get in touch with me: firstname.lastname@example.org.