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Holistic Investigation of Online Brand Image in Hotel.

Nunthapirat, Duangthida. (2014) Holistic Investigation of Online Brand Image in Hotel. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Given the scarcity of research on online brand image, this research is an attempt to generate an understanding of online brand image in the hotel industry from a holistic point of view (i.e. understanding all dimensions of online brand image). Most of the previous studies in this area focus mainly on brand image management in offline contexts but there are very few that investigate the dimensions of online brand image as a whole, especially in the hotel business context. In the literature relevant to brand image, it is seen as customer perception as reflected by brand associations (i.e. attributes, attitude, benefits). The concept of online brand image is still unclear and there are no proven measurement scales to determine online brand image. In the literature, brand image in the online context is not seen as substantially different from offline brand image. One thing that does change from offline to online branding is the enactment of the brand. Based on this definition and the previous literature, a conceptual framework for online brand image was established to be used in this research. In order to assess and validate the construct of online brand image, semi-structured interviews with hotel marketing managers and hotel customers were undertaken. The findings from the interviews were integrated with previous studies to develop an online questionnaire. The self-administrated online questionnaires were distributed from June-September 2013, and 483 usable responses were received. The survey was responded to equally by females and males. The majority of respondents were aged between 25-34 years, and respondents were both white and blue-collar workers, self-employed, students, housewives and retired persons. The majority of respondents are American, British, Thais, other Europeans (e.g. Irish, Portuguese), and other Asians (e.g. Bruneian, Chinese). Structural Equation Modelling was used to test a hypothesised model of online brand image in order to handle the complexity of the model. Covariance-based structural equation modelling (CB-SEM) was used to test which website attributes (e.g. ease of use, site appearance) determine online brand image using brand personality scales. The findings revealed that hotel customers could not identify the differences between the various website elements and, instead, viewed them as one concept which can be called “online brand attributes”, except, importantly, for the “price” construct. The structural equation modelling results show that online brand attributes influence online brand image. Reliability, structure and layout and content are three major attributes that have a noticeable effect on online brand attributes. The overall model of online brand image was tested with PLS-SEM, because brand image is a multidimensional construct, composed of more than one abstract level. A hierarchical component model (reflective-formative) was developed during this research. This study produced results that corroborate previous research of offline brand image that suggests that brand association has the greatest influence on online brand image; this is followed by brand personality, brand knowledge and online marketing. This research further suggests that online brand image has a significant and positive influence on purchase intention. Online brand image has some influence on brand recommendation but not as strong as using purchase intention as moderator. The findings also show that a clear match between brand image and brand identity is essential. Integration and cooperation between online and offline channels to communicate a consistent message and brand image are required to enhance and sustain hotel brand image in both channels. The findings from this study make several contributions to the current literature. In terms of theoretical contribution, it enhances an understanding of online brand image by identifying the dimensions of online brand image from a holistic viewpoint. Subsequent behaviour after the customers have perceived online brand image has also been explained. In addition, this research not only suggests the factors that hotels need to address in order to drive their hotel brand image, but also recommends appropriate online brand image management strategies to strengthen brand image in both the offline and online contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Nunthapirat, Duangthida.
Date : 2014
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2014.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 06 May 2020 14:23
Last Modified : 06 May 2020 14:29

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