Marketing + Communications

Riding the UKREiiF wave: a debrief of the 2023 conference

What an exhilarating three days! The United Kingdom’s Real Estate, Investment and Infrastructure Forum (UKREiiF), held in Leeds from the 16th to the 18th of May, 2023, was a jubilant display of UK potential. There was an undeniable buzz that reverberated throughout the conference as it celebrated its burgeoning growth, doubling in size from the previous year.

UKREiiF vs MIPIM: A tale of two attitudes

For many years MIPIM has been the reference point in the built environment event calendar. With UKREiiF there’s a new kid on the block.

Of course, each fosters their own unique appeal. MIPIM, held annually in Cannes, France, charms with its global focus, uniting international perspectives to further the industry. This outward-looking ethos attracts businesses with broad international horizons and large UK businesses with deep pockets, making it a global melting pot of ideas and opportunities.

On the other hand, UKREiiF resonates with a distinctly British pulse, offering an inward-looking platform that radiates a certain ‘We can do it ourselves’ energy. This vibrancy resonates particularly with firms who have a keen focus on the UK market.

It’s not so much a question of one event being better than the other, but rather that they each serve different niches within the industry. Think of it as a menu of choices, tailored to different tastes and ambitions.

Smaller firms, or those with a primary focus on the UK, might find UKREiiF more appealing. Its UK-centric focus offers them a stage perfectly suited to their needs and it’s a considerably smaller investment than MIPIM. Meanwhile, MIPIM, with its broad international reach, provides a grand platform for firms with a more global ambition.

Thus, it isn’t a case of one-size-fits-all, but a beautiful blend of choices to suit varied business needs and ambitions. However, with a UK option for those plucky smaller firms, the UK representation at MIPIM is likely to be lower now.

A quick self-reflection: lessons for the next year

A slight hiccup in the UKREiiF grandeur, however, lay in its overwhelming abundance. I felt like a child in a sweet shop – too much to see, too little time! The sheer scale of information, although impressive, was perhaps a tad too much, leaving me craving for a deeper dive into particular topics. Variety and volume is good, but not at the expense of real depth.

The speakers and attendees: collaboration and openness at the forefront

Nevertheless, the speakers sparkled in their own unique ways, with the likes of Mark Farmer and Michael Heseltine leading the debate with important points and contributions.

Outside of the conferences, there was a real sense of togetherness and openness. Conversations were buzzing with optimism as businesses tackled shared challenges and brainstormed solutions.

The exhibition: showcasing the greatness of UK businesses

As expected, the exhibition was a fascinating showcase of the best of the industry. And the free swag was very much on point! There was a lovely buzz of conversation In the exhibition halls with exhibitors and explorers all getting to know each other.

The local impact: a boost for Leeds

The impact of the conference on Leeds was undeniably massive. It was heartening to see the city thrumming with life as restaurants bustled, hotels overflowed and the local economy boomed. It must be ten years since i was last there (apologies, my Yorkshire friends) and It felt like a different place entirely.

Voices from the field: reactions to the event

“With its latest instalment, UKREiiF has cemented itself as a welcome addition in our yearly calendars. What stood out for me was the positive conversations around important issues, like the need for more creative thinking when unlocking the potential of sites.” – Helen Gribbon, Renaissance Engineers

“UK REiiF was full of ambition, positivity and momentum. It felt like things were really moving forward across the UK with a collaborative and strategic approach to realising visions. The buzz of announcements of new schemes, masterplans and initiatives was energising with investors and developers wanting to raise the bar wherever possible. It hammered home how important a conference such as UK REiiF is for our country and there is an opportunity for the organisers to really step it up a notch next year…I hope they capitalise on that. Now to the follow-ups…” – Suzi Jamieson, Burofour

UKREiiF proved itself to be a great forum for meaningful conversations around the topics that matter, offering up a golden opportunity for businesses and delegates to get their voices heard. For us at Mansell, it was fantastic to see offsite construction and its myriad benefits getting some of the attention it deserves. To craft a brighter future for our industry and to truly modernise, we’ll need more of the kind of thing UKREiiF has to offer.” – Angela Mansell, Mansell Building Solutions

“It was my first time at UKREiiF and it was really worthwhile. It’s not often you get such a high calibre of clients, government, developers and local authorities in one place who are open to having real business conversations. The key themes for me were developing a strong UK strategic plan that’s fully funded long term not just soundbites, but clear tangible actions. The current short term 2 year or even 1 year funding cycles doesn’t work for businesses or investors and we need a longer-term view to make real progress.” Ayo Abbas, Marketing Director, Abbas Marketing

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