Examining the hierarchy of destination brands and the chain of effects between brand equity dimensions
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AuthorHerrero Crespo, Angel; San Martín Gutiérrez, Héctor; García de los Salmones Sánchez, María del Mar; Collado Agudo, Jesús
ABSTRACT: This paper focuses on the customer-based brand equity for a tourist destination, and develops a model including the dimensions of this construct (i.e. awareness, image, perceived quality and loyalty). Accordingly, loyalty is considered the main dependent variable in the model developed here. A major contribution of this paper is that it takes into account the hierarchy of destination brands and analyzes not only the chain of effects between the dimensions of brand equity for a regional destination but also the influence of the country destination image (i.e. the country is considered to be an umbrella brand) on the perceived image of one of its regional destinations. Another significant contribution is made by examining the moderating effect of country familiarity on the relationship with both types of image. The empirical evidence obtained from a sample of 253 international tourists visiting a regional destination in Spain supports the hypothesis that loyalty towards a destination is positively influenced by the perceived quality of the destination, which in turn is directly influenced by the image and awareness of that destination. Additionally, the results support the idea that perceptions of a regional destination are positively influenced by the perceptions of the country destination in which the region is located. However, a moderating effect of country familiarity on the relationship with either type of image was not supported in this research. This could be because in a country where there are a lot of destination brands, being more familiar with the country does not necessarily imply a more accurate knowledge of its regional destinations.
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