Making a Career Move and the Power of the DLP Alumni Network

Destination Leaders Programme: 5 Minutes With... Katy Duncan, Marketing Manager for Haggis Adventures, Highland Explorer Tours and Shamrocker Adventures

1. Tell us who you are and what you do

My name is Katy Duncan and I’m the Marketing Manager for HAGGiS Adventures, Highland Explorer Tours and Shamrocker Adventures.

My first experience of the tourism industry came through a placement in my 3rd year at Edinburgh Napier University while studying for my Marketing degree. I secured a 6 month student placement with HAGGiS Adventures, part of the Radical Travel Group. It was a fantastic opportunity and it ignited my passion for travel and tourism. I love travel and I spent two years in New Zealand and Australia working in the travel industry there.

In my current role as Marketing Manager for Radical Travel Group, I’m responsible for promoting multiple brands to a global target audience. With only a small team it can be challenging but having worked my way up through the business to a management position, I have a good understanding of our customers and how best to reach them.

2. What prompted you to do the Destination Leaders Programme?

I’d heard such great things from many people about the course. How it built their confidence, increased their business network and gave them invaluable insight into the tourism industry as a whole. I really wanted to get involved in Year 2 but I knew that it wasn’t the right time. When I became Marketing Manager, I felt ready and knew that the course would be hugely beneficial to my performance in my role and my personal development. I decided to apply and was delighted to be accepted for Year 3. I was delighted to graduate, along with my DLP colleagues, in May 2016.

3. Has doing the DLP changed your thinking or approach to leadership in any way?  

Yes it has. It has made me realise the importance of effective leadership and the role it can play in both a business and a destination. There are many different types of leaders and that we shouldn’t fear that tag. I am mindful that as a manager, my role is to make sure my staff continue to learn and develop. I’d like to continue to offer them opportunities and to be a role model.

4. What aspect of the DLP has had the most significant impact on you and/or your business?

Before the course, I was entirely focused on my business. The Destination Leadership Programme made me realise that to maximise potential, you need to look outwardly and think about the bigger picture. I understand the importance of being part of an engaged and collaborative tourism industry network and the value of learning from others.  I think we are so lucky to have such an engaged industry here in Edinburgh and I am proud to be part of that. I love my job and the opportunities and challenges it brings.  Well, most of the time!

5. Tell us about the tourism industry issues you’re most passionate about and how you’re contributing to them.

Ever since joining HAGGiS Adventures, I’ve been passionate about Youth Travel. It’s a fantastic sector to work in and it’s great to be involved in an ever changing and fast paced market. As a result of my role and DLP, I’m a co-founder of the Edinburgh chapter of Travel Massive, a global network of like-minded travel industry professionals who are keen to connect and share best practice globally. With over 450 members, we have grown to be one of the biggest and most engaged Travel Massive chapters and communities in Europe, and we organise and host regular tourism networking events in Edinburgh.    

*Accompanying photo: Katy Duncan pictured on the right.

Hear from more DLP alumni in our Impact Case Studies.