< PrevNext > Caroline Strachan, Festive Road managing partner Conversation Starter By Amon Cohen / December 12, 2018 Share For many, working in corporate travel pays the mortgage. But anyone who meets Strachan quickly understands that the relentlessly creative former Institute of Travel Management chair and Global Business Travel Association Europe president plays this game because she burns to make a difference. After 10 years in meetings and events and another 10 in travel management, followed by a brief stint at American Express, Strachan finally found the ideal vehicle for her energies in 2015, joining Paul Tilstone's fledgling consultancy, Festive Road, as joint managing partner.The pair's exceptional flair for marketing and generating conversation in corporate travel has redefined and popularized travel management consultancy, one independent consultant told BTN. "Festive Road has created more demand for all of us because people get to hear stories of what has been done," the consultant said.Issues Strachan has pushed in 2018 include improving the traveler experience, aligning travel programs with wider corporate goals and offering an alternative TMC selection method to the widely reviled RFP process. Strachan starts by facilitating informal meetings with travel management companies to gauge cultural fit before establishing capability by posing 70 straightforward yes/no questions, then asking TMCs to differentiate themselves. "Every client loves it, but we want this to be bigger than Festive Road," said Strachan. "We are talking about ways in which we can industrialize it." Another major interest in 2018 has been career development for women. She mentors five women personally and is co-founder of Level Women, a U.K. equivalent to WINiT. Level Women has attracted 500 women to its events and, said Strachan, "ended up being a mass-mentoring exercise." Festive Road also sponsored a master class for 50 female business travel professionals at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London to provide the confidence and skills to speak at industry events, thus boosting the number of visible female authorities in the industry. Expect to see Strachan's protégées on a stage near you in 2019.