This week, New West End Company is making our annual trip to Cannes to attend the real estate conference of the year – MIPIM. The forum gathers the most influential players from the international property industry for four days of networking and learning.
For New West End Company, it’s a unique platform to promote the West End & Mayfair as a global retail and leisure destination, meet with our members and partners and continue our work driving investment into our district. This year our main message at MIPIM aligns with the theme of the conference: ‘Engaging the future’, as we look beyond 2020 to the bright future ahead for the West End & Mayfair. As our work, on behalf of 600 local businesses, aims to make the district the number one retail and leisure destination in the world, we always have our eye on the horizon on the lookout for ways we can help our businesses grow.
That’s why, we have investigated, with Springwise, the global source for innovation intelligence, the upcoming trends and innovations that retailers, restaurants and hotels will need to know about in the next few years #futureofretail. We have scoured the globe to find what the next big thing is – whether it’s how augmented reality is providing a personalised experience in stores, or how accurate customer data is being harnessed for the 48% of consumers that want more customisation, or how the need for transparent and sustainable operations will influence consumers.
This research, which we’ll be previewing at MIPIM, was the key topic of discussion in one of my first meetings of the week, with MIPIM News (the daily publication circulated at the event). For the West End, we are predicting the rise in technology and changing consumer habits will see retail spaces transformed over the next few years to offer a more varied and rounded shopping experience for customers. #WestEnd2020
In the evening I continued this conversation over dinner with some well-known property industry names including Susan Freeman from Mischon de Reya, former CEO of the British Property Federation Liz Peace and Harvey Soning, Chairman of James Andrews International. We all agreed that there needs to be greater flexibility in planning policies to accommodate the shift to more dynamic stores.
If we look beyond Brexit, 2020 is going to be game-changing for the West End & Mayfair. The public realm and infrastructure developments will see the built environment completely transformed. This includes the development of one of the world’s most the famous high streets, Oxford Street, which Westminster City Council have committed £150 million to improving. The other once-in-a-generation opportunity is Crossrail, a new rail service for the UK, which will open two new stations in the West End and can be reached from Heathrow airport in under half an hour, bringing an estimated additional 60m visits a year once the rail service is fully operational.
If you’re like to hear more about opportunities in London’s West End & Mayfair and would like to arrange a meeting with me during MIPIM, please get in contact via email@example.com