What We Do

We help companies grow through better engagement


We believe having truly engaged clients, suppliers, travellers & employees is key to any company’s success. The more engaged the individual or company the more likely they are to have an emotional connection and take action. Festive Road can help you build an engagement plan unique to your target audience.


Whether you’re launching a new product or need some external fresh perspective on your business strategy we bring our depth of business travel knowledge to help guide your success. We act as your critical friend and guide you honestly from inside the mind of the buyer and with a view from across the travel value chain.


We want to help you with that light-bulb moment. The “a-ha” of piecing together different data and information sets and noticing what others can’t see. Whether it’s the number crunching quantitative approach or a subtler qualitative view we want our insights to move people and positively shift your business.


Maybe you’ve already seen us on stage? Maybe that’s why you came to visit today? Our team have been key note speakers, moderators and event producers at all of the Business Travel Industry’s leading events. Whether it’s an intimate client advisory board meeting right through to a major global convention, we can help design, build & deliver creative & engaging content.

Who we do it for

Only the brightest clients realise they need us. Meet some of our shining examples here:

Click on the logo to read case studies below

“Let me tell you a story…”

Why “Festive Road?”

Niche, British animation series character Mr Benn was a man with a passion for costumes and the adventures they would take him on. During each adventure he became skilled at solving problems through collaboration and applying the lessons he learned from previous adventures. In each episode he discovered in his suit a souvenir of his adventure whilst returning to his home... on Festive Road.

...But why?

Mr Benn and the Festive Road story represents the simplicity of our approach to clients. We “put on their clothes” and immerse ourselves in their world. We use our independent perspective to help them solve issues through our knowledge and networks. We learn from each client experience and use our enhanced knowledge to enrich our expertise and help the next client.

A History Lesson

Festive Road was created in 2015 but the history of the team is far richer. Paul & Caroline have worked as a partnership in leading industry association roles since 2006. Together they have led significant industry change and always with creative minds and passionate hearts. They’re often called Mr & Mrs Business Travel (but let’s be clear they’re definitely not married in real life!)

Our Rule Book

We don’t like rules, but we love living by a clear set of principles. We embrace each other’s individuality and come together through our core values; to be Credible, Creative & Committed. We put our brilliant people first and they naturally put their client first. We keep business life simple.

Meet some of our Festive Roaders

Our Reputation

We smell nice, well that’s what our clients tell us anyway.

And they know that because we get close to our customers. Not just in the same room you understand, but close in the sense that we take real time to understand their needs, to ask them hard questions about why they do what they do and what they want from it.

Only by getting close do we both truly understand where they need to be and how we, at Festive Road, can help them get there. Then the rest is easy. With an in-depth knowledge of the travel and meetings sector and a passion for engagement we work efficiently to reach their goals.

“Our relationship with Festive Road has deepened considerably since we initially contracted them to help with our inaugural, European customer event. Their understanding of our business and culture combined with their great network, industry knowledge, creativity and integrity has meant that we naturally turn to them to help us deliver projects of all types which benefit greatly from their external perspective.”

David Bartlett - Vice President, Global Sales Europe, Marriott Hotels International Ltd

“When we wanted to scale up our collaboration with the global business travel community around NDC, Festive Road was the natural partner for IATA. Since then, our relationship has broadened as they continue to provide added value across all types of engagement activity and work perfectly in tandem with the whole IATA team.”

Yanik Hoyles - Director NDC Program, IATA

“We wanted to create a new travel management strategy to cater for our evolving needs and the fast-changing, global business travel landscape. Festive Road gave us an independent perspective on our internal stakeholders and supplier developments. They walked us through a well-thought through planning process which has resulted in a clear, defined path forward and a best-in-class strategy. Having the independence and knowledge of the Festive Road team added weight and clarity to the process.”

Mark Cuschieri - Executive Director, Group Corporate Services, UBS

“It was really important to maximise the investment we made in our inaugural customer conference at the end of 2015. It wasn’t just a case of impressing the clients, we had to show other stakeholders that it was the right decision. Festive Road worked from the concept stage with our team from Sales and Trade Marketing to ensure we did what we needed to, and more! They helped us to maximise the opportunity for engagement, leave a lasting impression on our clients and gain buy-in for our strategy from other departments.”

Inmaculada Martínez-Ruiz - VP Corporate Sales, NH Hotel Group

Watch us in action
Film critic style reviews always welcome

Festive Road

Festive Roader Showreel

Festive Road Launch

Launch Event 2016

What Is Engagement?

Engagement is…

My Wish For The Industry

We asked some of the industry’s greatest

We love what we do & we do what we love
Take a read of some of our latest musings here

27th April 2017

Why hackathons are a way to drive MORE

What is a hackathon and why are they beneficial? If you have read my previous blog, you already know all about this! The business travel industry ecosystem has been talking…
Read More
8th January 2017

Festive Road Appoints Senior Buyer Side Leader

In our second announcement this week, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Mia Andersson. Presently Global Business Travel Leader for AstraZeneca, Ms Andersson will join Festive Road in…
Read More
6th November 2016

Festive Road Attracts “On-trend” Talent

We are delighted to announce the addition of three new Associates to support a growing global client demand for independent insights, engagement strategies, event speakers and now also programme assessments.
Read More

Contact Us

Engagement takes many forms*

Email: hello@festive-road.com
Tel: +44 (0) 208 123 5678
Carrier Pigeon: Festive Road (they’ll know)

*(Not that type of form, we don’t like form filling as much as the next guy)

Marriott – A multi-faceted engagement programme

Marriott Logo2

Festive Road’s multi-faceted work with Marriott’s Global Sales Organisation in Europe started in 2014 with the design and delivery of the organisation’s first customer conference for the business travel and meetings market. Since that first project our ongoing relationship has extended to facilitating a customer advisory board, engagement strategy reviews, acting as trusted advisors and the design and delivery of a sales training programme.

IATA – Supplier to buyer engagement

IATA Logo2

Since the launch of IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) project in 2012 the airline association has been trying to find ways to better engage with the global business travel community. In 2014 they appointed Festive Road as part of a long-term engagement strategy with the sector. The objective was to ensure a more collaborative approach with corporate buyers, travel management companies and self-booking tools. From market segmentation to in-depth research, from written resources and building mock-ups to the design and delivery of a full engagement strategy, Festive Road has become eyes and ears of the NDC project for the global business travel community.

UBS – Business Strategy

UBS Logo2

This advanced travel management team wanted an external perspective on their future global travel management strategy. They appointed Festive Road to deliver a strategic planning process. This started with the assessment of internal and external market evidence and moved to the design of forward thinking travel management strategy with key messages to gain buy-in from stakeholders.

NH Hotel Group – Event design & delivery

NH Hotels Logo2

This major Spanish hotel group came to Festive Road for support in designing their inaugural customer conference. This was a major investment for the hotel group in place of traditional exhibition investment. The team needed to create an event of excellence which provided real value to both their internal stakeholders and the customers who attended. Festive Road helped craft the conference format, content, key messaging, success metrics and we delivered the event onsite in Barcelona in November 2015.

Paul Tilstone - Managing Partner

Paul Tilstone Profile 4

Paul Tilstone  established Festive Road in 2015.  Prior to this he acted in senior roles for travel management companies for 13 years, and then subsequently as CEO for the Institute of Travel & Meetings UK (ITM) for seven years and Chief Global Development Officer for the Global Business Travel Association for a further five. His knowledge and networks represent the best in the industry.

Paul has received the UK Buying Business Travel Diamond Award for services to sustainability and was listed by the magazine in the industry’s 2013 “Hot List” as one of thirty professionals driving change in the industry. He has twice been listed as one of the world’s top 25 business travel industry influencers by the Business Travel News, USA, for work in advocacy and sustainability.

Paul is a Surrey-based Welshman with an impulsive, insightful and creative nature. He’s not afraid to say what he sees and can regularly be found lecturing his two sons on what it takes to succeed in the 21st century.

Caroline Strachan - Managing Partner

Caroline Strachan Profile3

Caroline has worked in the travel and meetings industry for over 20 years.  She has held roles as both buyer and supplier, so brings a unique perspective across the whole travel supply chain.  Most recently she led the Global Consulting group at American Express, helping a broad customer base tackle complex travel programme/industry issues.  Prior to this she led the AstraZeneca Global Travel Programme and was awarded the Best Travel Team category in the 2013 UK Business Travel Awards.  

Her work leading travel programmes at Yahoo and Cisco is well documented and she has sat on the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Board of Directors, chaired GBTA in Europe and the Institute of Travel Managers (ITM) in the UK. Caroline has received a number of industry awards including the GBTA Luoma award in 2012 for services to the European travel and meetings industry and the Business Travel News Multinational Travel Manager of the Year award in 2013.  Caroline is often called “the most credible Business Travel expert” in the industry and was listed as an “industry influencer” in the Buying Business Travel 2016 Hotlist.

Caroline is based in Kent with her “techie” husband and twin daughters. Her home-baking obsession serves as a cover for her passion, intuition, meticulous planning and emotional intelligence in business.

Aurelie Krau - Associate

Aurelie Krau Profile2

Aurélie has been a passionate blogger and industry commentator for six years. Driven by her own special interest in the challenges associated with technological evolution as well as the evolution of the travel professions, her career path has enabled her to develop a double vision of travel, as both leisure and business. She writes in-depth content for the main industry stakeholders and offers her expertise as an Associate for Festive Road. 

Prior to this, she worked for Carlson Wagonlit Travel as well as American Express, and also acts as Operations Manager for the Global Business Travel Association in France. She was listed in the Buying Business Travel (UK) Hotlist 2016 as “one to watch”.

Aurélie is a Paris-based, GenY originating from the Alsace region of France. She is passionate about travel and tech toys and not afraid to provide her perspectives on emerging trends. She is competitive and relishes a challenge, not least on the handball court or bodyattack class.

Joe Bates - Associate

Joe Bates Profile 2

Joe has more than 20 years of experience in the research industry and is an expert in both qualitative and quantitative research design, implementation, analysis, and consulting.

He has spent more than 15 years in the nonprofit sector. His experience includes serving as vice president of research and strategic initiatives for the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), where he created a research program that by 2015 generated nearly $1.4 million in revenue, and as director of research for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) where he oversaw a $2 million research program. 

Joe is an award-winning, seasoned presenter and enjoys communicating research trends and statistical data in a humorous and easily understandable style. He has presented research hundreds of times in dozens of cities around the world.

Joe has been a guest lecturer at various universities and served as a media spokesperson for various organizations and has been interviewed or quoted by hundreds of media outlets around the world including the NBC Nightly News, National Public Radio (NPR), CNN, BBC, CNBC, The Globe and Mail, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Forbes and Investor’s Business Daily.

Joe regularly resides in a variety of locations including Washington DC, Beijing, and Bangkok. In addition to being a data-nerd, he has a passion for all things weather and can provide you with the forecast for any place on Earth.

Lora Ellis - Associate

Lora has worked in the business travel consulting sector for more than 15 years.  She has driven amazing results for her clients through hundreds of consulting projects involving outsourced travel buying & management, strategic sourcing, total programme management and demand management.  Most recently Lora led the Business Planning team within American Express Global Consulting where she initiated key performance indicators for the business, developed a resource management strategy and revamped the consulting pipeline methodology and practices. 

As one of her clients put it so succinctly on a recent LinkedIn commendation, “her work ethic and commercial acumen was clearly evident as was her unwavering drive to consider many creative ways to identify and deliver value”.

Lora is an industry expert with tenacity, loyalty, broad knowledge and a nose for sensing the reality of situations. She enjoys life in the tropics of Miami and loves to guide both her children to find their passions in life and her mentees to navigate the corporate world, challenging people to be their best.

Asif Bashir - Associate


Asif is a passionate travel professional with over a decade of senior level experience in strategic and operational roles gained with various players of the industry. He has helped optimise some of the most complex travel programmes and advised some of the biggest global buyers of business travel. He has driven tens of millions of dollars in savings and value and has supported prominent organisations across professional services, financial services, technology, and media (among other industry sectors) to optimise their travel spend.

With a passion for numbers, Asif is known for his ability to take complex data and turn it into understandable and relevant information.

When he’s not crunching numbers he can be found out enjoying life with his friends and family in East London.

Sara Rooney - Associate


Sara is a multi-talented millennial with a passion for service-driven roles, consumer experience and the business travel industry. Resourceful and solution oriented, she brings her strong eye for detail, background in retail management and fresh perspective to Festive Road.

Beginning her career with leading US retailer Nordstrom, she completed their in-house management training programme, Future Nordstrom Leaders. Her move to Europe prompted a transition into business travel as an intern and latterly Project Manager on PwC’s UK travel team where she enjoyed the challenge of finding ways to improve an already mature travel programme. Sara is a current mentee on the 2016-2017 GBTA Ladders programme exploring the theme of “The Next Evolution of Travel Management – Driving the Future of the Industry”.

Sara is multilingual and prior to living abroad in the UK, studied languages in Spain and Italy. A believer in continued learning, she holds a degree in Romance Languages alongside her current studies in International Travel Management at the University of Brighton – a course endorsed by the Institute of Travel Management (ITM). 

When Sara isn’t working or studying she loves music and the arts and is often found attending concerts in her home of Brighton, England.

Mia Andersson - Associate


Mia has worked in the business travel & meeting industry for over 20 years.  Most recently she managed the award winning AstraZeneca Global Travel Programme. Having led both supply and demand teams she brings lots of experience on how to effectively manage the value from all areas within the travel value chain. With her strategic, structured and passionate approach she builds trust and successful relationships at all level. She has a track record of procurement strategy and development planning, global TMC RFPs, implementing a global T&E tool and creating cost effective travel programmes with a win-win focus for both suppliers and buyers.

Mia was awarded The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Master Honors in 2016 for “Outmost commitment, engagement and leadership in the business travel industry”.

She sits on the GBTA EMEA Advisory Board and is also co-chair for GBTA Europe Aviation Committee.

Mia is based in Stockholm, Sweden with her husband and 2 daughters. She enjoys golf and with her competitive mind-set she is determined to soon go from being a beginner to champion golfer…

Mergers & Acquisition Team

Our Mergers & Acquisition Team comprises two senior associates, both with considerable Travel Management Company (TMC) and wider business travel experience. The Festive Road Associates in this field have two advantages in the business travel M&A sector over broader M&A companies;

Direct Experience in Business Travel Acquisitions – The team has worked on three successful TMC acquisitions in the UK over the last three years. Acquisitions were between the £60-£100 million turnover range across both trade and Private equity purchases.

Integrity and Network – In addition to experience and reputation the team is held in high regard by the industry and is able to leverage an extensive UK, European and global network.

In short, they reflect the core Festive Road values – they are committed and competent and retain a broad network and a deep knowledge of the sector.

We don’t want you to think that we keep them secret to be sinister or anything like that, it’s just that operating below the radar is key for M&A success, so we don’t go around advertising who they are. This, and as soon as you say you’re in M&A you tend to attract lots of questions from people asking you how much – it’s a bit like being in business travel and people asking you at a party how much flights are to Bangkok at this time of year. The answer is, it all depends on what you tell me next.

Rest assured, if you’re serious about an acquisition target and want to assess our capabilities, you’ll soon get to know our team.