Company outings never sound much fun do they? A few coaches (char-a-bancs as they used to be called in the UK) picked you up and you start off with a sing-song as you headed to Brighton or Blackpool for a quick walk along the pier, a few pints in a pub followed by a fish supper then home to bed. Hardly inspiring.
However one Chinese boss – Mr Li Jinyuan, CEO of the Tiens Group which he founded in 1995 – startled the world and pleased the French by shipping 6400 of his 12000 employees to France for a company holiday to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary. They arrived in Paris where the company had booked 140 hotels to accommodate them all; the Moulin Rouge was booked to give a cabaret performance just for them, and they all went up the Eiffel tower (bad luck for any other tourists who had planned to visit the Tower that day!). The Louvre was closed to the general public so that they could all go on a mass visit and appreciate French culture. Then it was off to the Gare de Lyon where extra TGV trains (7600 seats in total) had been laid on to take them down to Nice where they could enjoy the delights of the Cote d’Azur. The astonishing numbers continued – 4760 rooms had been booked for them at 4 and 5* hotels in Monaco and Cannes. 146 coaches (I knew coaches would be involved somewhere!) ferried them all from place to place.
All wearing identical blue T-shirts and hats the employees appeared on the famous Promenade des Anglais and were marshalled together to spell out the phrase “Tiens’ dream is Nice in the Cote d’Azur”. The trip was a triumph of logistical organisation, and the French Tourist authorities were in seventh heaven.
The whole shebang lasted 4 days and in that time the trip added some £24million to the French exchequer.
Mr Li Jinyuan is said to be the 24th wealthiest person in China – and he certainly doesn’t do things by halves, especially company outings. He’s raised the bar very, very high for other companies wishing to treat their employees.
Hats off to him.