"When experience matters": Building and measuring hotel brand equity - The customers' perspective
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Abstract Purpose - The purpose of this study is to provide hotel brand managers with a robust measure to evaluate brand equity as an outcome of brand strategies, as well as to gain insight into what contributes to hotel brand equity. Design/methodology/approach - A quantitative methodology was adopted including the development of a survey questionnaire that allows for the measurement of the six constructs contained within Berry's (2000) Service-Branding Model. The development of the survey instrument followed a two-stage process. In the initial stage, pretested items were generated from the research literature. The second stage involved conducting focus groups to identify and eliminate deficiencies of the questionnaire. Data were collected using a self-administered survey via central location intercept across multiple tourist attractions in a major tourist destination in Australia. The sample of the present study consisted of 288 respondents who have previously stayed in a hotel organisation. Findings - Using Berry's (2000) Service-Branding Model as a conceptual framework, a robust measure of hotel brand equity has been developed and validated. In doing so, the results of this study indicate that for experienced hotel customers, service experience is most influential in determining brand meaning (i.e., the customer's dominant perceptions and impression of the brand). Such brand meaning in turn serves as the primary contributor to brand equity. The effect of brand awareness on brand equity is however found to be not significant. Research limitations/implications - In establishing effective brand management practices and to realise positive and sustainable brand equity, hotel brand managers, need to have an equal focus on managing the brand internally as well as externally. Practical implications - The findings provide a sound conceptual framework and robust measure through which hotel brand managers can effectively build, measure, and manage hotel brand equity from the customer's perspective. Originality/Value - The paper provides an empirical examination of Berry's (2000) Service-Branding Model. In doing so, it provides hotel brand managers with a robust service brand measure to assess brand equity as an outcome of brand strategies. Further, the results give insight into the process by which hotel brand equity is built.
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management
© 2009 Emerald. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
Marketing Management (incl. Strategy and Customer Relations)