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An Examination of the Factor Influencing Customer's Perceptions of Hotel Online Brand Image

Lockwood, AJ, Stangl, B, Nunthapirat, D and Al-Sabbahy, H An Examination of the Factor Influencing Customer's Perceptions of Hotel Online Brand Image In: CHME Annual Research Conference, 2014-05-28 - 2014-05-30, University of Derby, Buxton.

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Abstract

In establishing a sustainable competitive advantage, the creation and maintenance of a positive brand image is an important issue for marketing theory and practice. In the traditional market, companies enjoy a number of advantages from their brand image. It helps customers not only to retrieve and process information but it also provides a basis to position and differentiate a brand from its competitors (Aaker, 1991). Brand image plays an important role in product and service selection because customers attempt to reinforce their self-image by buying products that are congruent with that self-image. Shiffman and Kanuk (2008) propose that the customer might perceive one hotel to be more desirable than its competitors because of the difference in brand image. The continued growth of the Internet impacts on the role of brand and the way hotel companies manage their brand image. As customers cannot experience hotels before their actual purchase, the Internet has become another marketing tool that helps customers to form hotel brand image. Therefore, when customers navigate hotel websites and engage in the online community, they can reduce anxiety before they actually visit hotels. Hence, the role of online marketing tools in developing a brand image in the customer’s mind is essential. However, previous research has only addressed how online marketing tools such as websites help companies to convert a website visitor into a buyer, and identified how the online elements influenced purchase intention, customer satisfaction and customer loyalty, but has failed to identify how the customer perception of a website may affect their perception of the brand image overall. While some research has recently been conducted into the impact of online hotel reviews on consumer purchase decisions, there is a scarcity of more comprehensive studies on how the hotel customer’s perception of a brand is affected by online platforms and the implications this brings to how hotel operators manage their brand image online. In response to this gap, this empirical study was conducted to explore the factors which drive brand image from the hotel customer’s perspective in the online context. The two-step experiment, including semi-structured interviews, and a scenario-based study, was done with 19 hotel customers in the UK. The results highlighted a number of website related attributes that impact on customer perceptions of hotel brand. They are (1) ease of use (2) download time (3) site appearance (4) content (5) reliability and (6) price information. The findings further proposed that positive website performance, in terms of site appearance, content, and reliability, will positively influence brand image, and additionally that there is a direct relationship between price information on websites and perceived quality that consequently might lead to positive online brand image. Finally, and significantly, the results show that online reviews and rating sites play a major role in influencing hotel brand image in the online environment which managers need to address in order to maintain a positive brand image and contribute to long-term business success.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
Authors :
NameEmailORCID
Lockwood, AJa.lockwood@surrey.ac.ukUNSPECIFIED
Stangl, BUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Nunthapirat, DUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Al-Sabbahy, HUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 16 May 2017 15:29
Last Modified : 17 May 2017 14:35
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/820052

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