At Redwood, we love getting out and about and meeting clients and contacts. As a result, the industry’s conference calendar has always had a huge influence on our annual schedule. Conferences and events provide an unrivalled opportunity to start conversation, get ideas, create opportunities for our business and our clients, as well as build relationships and learn from those in all the varied aspects of the real estate and built environment sector.

Following the success of our UKReiif and MIPIM trips in the spring, the team was excited to embark on the Autumn conference season, kickstarting with the Completely Retail Market Place and REVO conference in London at the end of September and EXPO REAL in Munich at the start of October.

Here, Debbie and Hattie give their views on the sentiment from the conference floor:

Hattie Adamson, Associate Director, Redwood Consulting: “It is impossible to deny the headwinds that have faced the retail sector over the last decade, and how significantly they have changed the way retail and leisure environments operate. The sector has had to respond to changing consumer habits much faster than many other areas of the industry, with many other asset classes now looking to retail to understand how to create that all important ‘experience’. That sense of innovation and adaptability is something that really came out strongly at this year’s CRMP and REVO conference event. The conference sessions themselves provided valuable insight into key topics such as urban space regeneration, ESG / Sustainability and the future of places and the breadth of local authorities exhibiting showed a whole range of varied approaches to regeneration. Having used the service as a consumer, I was particularly interested to see innovative leisure brands like ‘Little Fish in the Sticks’ featuring as part  the soapbox schedule. They epitomise the creative ways online and bricks and mortar retail and leisure are fusing in regional locations.”

Debbie Cracknell, Director, Redwood Consulting: “The official headline from the EXPO Real conference organisers claimed the event offered “room for reorientation” with a definite feeling that the industry was continuing to rise to the challenges being posed from the wider socio-economic global picture. With more than 40,000 participants from 70 countries, the event has clearly moved away from its traditional deal making format, with multiple discussion forums and break out areas on buzz topics such as ESG, digitalization, urban development and demographic change. To support this, 2024 also premiered the separate EXPO REAL Decarb and NOVA³ specialist conference areas with suppliers, start-ups, innovative construction companies and other experts sharing ideas around the digital transformation in the real estate industry. For me, international conferences like these also provide an invaluable opportunity to meet with members of the pan-European media community with a critical mass of some of the leading influencers in the sector all under one roof.”

In a market where the pace of deals may be a little slower, and volumes a little lower, it could be easy to argue that these sorts of events don’t have a place in a sector where ‘office’ time is of the essence with more and more people working in a hybrid pattern and marketing budgets strained. However, what was clear to the Redwood team, as we reconnected back in the office and downloaded from our Autumn adventures, was that perhaps these traditional deal making forums have evolved themselves to reflect the times. Instead, are they now forums for pooling resources and the best minds in real estate to plan for the future? Is there place now to support the growth and change in the sector? We have been attending some of these events now for over three decades and are committed to continue to participate for many years to come. After all, we believe a business is built on relationships, so we encourage you to make building them your business.