Student hits all the right notes with Celtic Connections travel experience

Wed, 03 Nov 2021 16:19:00 GMT
Lewis graduated this year and is currently working with DF Concerts as a promoter rep
Lewis graduated this year and is currently working with DF Concerts as a promoter rep

A recent graduate has won a prestigious award after helping provide inspiration to an international music festival. 

Lewis Rodger teamed up with other students on the BA (Hons) International Tourism and Events Management programme as part of his Events Tourism module. 

Students on the programme were provided with a brief from Celtic Connection’s Festival Manager, Lesley Shaw, who set them the task of creating an incentive travel experience, aimed at attracting tourists to visit Scotland and sample ceilidhs, concerts and everything else in-between. 

Lewis’s individual efforts during the course of the module were highlighted when he was named joint winner of the 2021 David Hughes Memorial Award, courtesy of the Tourism Management Institute. 

We caught up with Lewis to find out more:

What did your group’s work focus on? 

The first question I asked was if they were actually looking to use our ideas in future. The reason I did that was because it was one thing doing a University project, but taking it into practice and actually implementing it was obviously completely different. This gave us an idea around what it was that they actually wanted and meant we could make it realistic - since they were considering our ideas for their organisation. 

The presentation focused on incentive travel, which is the highest luxury form of tourism available. We targeted American tourists because everyone there seems to have a link to Scotland, so we played on that a bit. American’s provide the highest percentage of tourists for Scotland and are also the highest spending 

We specifically targeted New York, where people tend to be a bit wealthier. A really important part of this was that it wasn’t aimed at your average consumer, it’s for employers who are looking to reward their employees or for the mega-rich willing to spend big money.  

The idea was that they would be coming for the Celtic Connections Festival but they would also be getting that “Scottish experience”. They’re obviously here for the traditional music but we had them going on whiskey tours with the actual acts from the festival as an almost informal meet and greet. We also wanted a real focus on the Scottish heritage side of thing, while also creating some hype around the festival.  Celtic Connections would be spending big money to actually facilitate it all but they would definitely be making it back. 

What was your specific role 
within your group during this process?

It was a real team effort and we all worked towards it together as a group. It’s really important that everyone knows their roles, in order for something like this to be a success. I took the lead in identifying everyone’s personal expertise. We had someone who really enjoyed marketing, so it made sense for them to focus on that, and we also had someone who had a bit of expertise in finance. 

We all had our own part to play and it was just a case of piecing it all together and then presenting it. 

Are there any plans for this to actually get used by Celtic Connections in future? 

“The way we looked at it was that they could take it, and use it however they see fit. The great thing about it was that there were six or seven of us doing the same project and that meant that they could look at all of it together and pick out what bits they wanted to use. I’ve not heard what’s happening with it specifically, but I did hear that that they were really happy with the work that had been produced - we’ll just need to wait and see.” 

You then went on to win an award for your efforts on the module, how did that all come about? 


I was nominated by Daniel Baxter and Nick Davies, who I believe had a conversation and put me forward for it.  

I was a bit hesitant at first, because it was obviously a group effort but I think the reason they put me forward was because I maybe went that bit further in terms of finding our specific roles in the group and then piecing it all together.  

What was great about winning this award was that it was someone from outside the University really valuing and appreciating the work. I think that gave me a real sense that I’d actually achieved something, which has given me a proper purpose and confirmation that our group deserved recognition. It was nice to finish my University experience on a high like that. 

Part of the prize is that I’ve been invited to attend the TMI annual convention in Coventry, which should be really interesting. I’ve also got access to a pro-mentoring session as well. I’ve been in touch with my mentor, who used to work at a city council down south. It’s great that I’ve got this opportunity because I’keen to explore different avenues for my future career.” 

You mentioned your future aspirations
, what sort of area would you like to work in?

I currently work with DF Concerts as a promoter rep, which is basically dealing with health and safety at gigs. In this role you initially start in smaller venues and then work your way up to places like The Hydro. It’s a really good job for learning and development! 

My dream job is to be an event manager of a music festival and I’m obviously in a good organisation for that. Music is something that’s always been a big part of my life, so I’ve never really dreamt of working anywhere else. I’m a terrible singer, so I’m just grateful to be involved in some way!”  


By Ross Clark         
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