Conceptualising and measuring destination brand equity: the tourists' perspective

Fang, Xi (2021) Conceptualising and measuring destination brand equity: the tourists' perspective. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study aims to empirically reconceptualise destination consumer-based brand equity (D-CBBE), which is tourists’ perspective of the band equity of a tourism destination. While brand equity theory has been heavily researched in the general marketing field, many questions remain unanswered when applying it to a destination context. Although the vast majority of relevant studies support the multidimensional nature of D-CBBE, there is a lack of consensus in the tourism literature as to how many dimensions should be included. More importantly, while existing studies on D-CBBE have largely followed brand theory from the general branding area, the differences between destinations and general products have not been clearly considered. To address the above gaps, the D-CBBE model provided in this study proposes an evolving causal chain formed by individual building blocks, namely: Destination-Brand Building Block (BBB), Destination-Brand Understanding Block (BUB) and Destination-Brand Relationship Block (BRB) which led to the development of a strong overall destination brand equity (OBE). Using the case of Scotland, this study adopts sequential mixed-methods approach. This, includes qualitative Study 1, a content-analysis of tourism websites’ information; qualitative Study 2, semi-structured interviews with tourists; and quantitative Study 3, an e-survey with tourists. The key findings demonstrate the development of D-CBBE as a causal chain (BBB-> BUB-> BRB) and detect sufficient combinations of conditions in each block that lead to the next one and, eventually, to the development of the OBE. The findings of Study 1 and 2 refine and reinforce this D-CBBE process model. The key findings in Study 3 provide a fine-grained understanding of the operationalisation of the model by detecting all the complex, causal patterns within this D-CBBE process, which successfully lead to the OBE. The study also highlights the use of fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis as a novel and valuable method that is uniquely suited to the examination of complex and dynamic phenomena in the tourism area. Fruitful managerial implications are offered allowing an advanced, comprehensive view of tourists’ multiple types of reactions towards a destination brand, such as their perceptions, understanding and feelings, explaining further how all these are operationalised towards the achievement of a strong OBE. Specifically, destination marketers could develop strong OBE by improving a combination of core destination characteristics, such as the natural environment, infrastructure, brand personality, and nostalgia. High levels of OBE could also be predicted by focusing on tourists’ understanding towards the destination, which combines awareness, associations and self-connection as core elements. Alternatively, the relationship between tourists and destinations, including brand trust, intimacy, relevance and partner-quality can be improved simultaneously to generate a strong destination brand.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Destination consumer-based brand equity; Destination branding; fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Supervisor's Name: Chatzipanagiotou, Dr Kalliopi and Veloutsou, Professor Cleopatra
Date of Award: 2021
Depositing User: Dr Xi Fang
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82142
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 04 May 2021 08:49
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2022 17:11
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82142

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