Title: Cognitive image change and loyalty in destination branding

Authors: Joy (Zhuowei) Huang, Liping A. Cai, Joseph A. Ismail

Addresses: Purdue Tourism and Hospitality Research Center, Purdue University, 700 West State Street, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA. ' Purdue Tourism and Hospitality Research Center, Purdue University, 700 West State Street, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907, USA. ' Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Purdue University, 700 West State Street, West Lafayette, Indiana 47907,USA

Abstract: This study examined visitors| cognitive image change and its relationship to their loyalty to a well-established destination brand. It was found that visitors positively modified their perceptions about many of a destination|s attributes after their experience at the destination. The extent of the positive modifications varied, however, among first-time visitors, repeat visitors, and loyalists. The test of eight hypotheses revealed a significant positive relationship between visitors| image change and their willingness to recommend for first-time visitors and loyalists, but not for repeat visitors. First-time visitors were the only group for which a positive relationship was discovered between image change and return likelihood. This study contributes to the understanding of the influential and dynamic nature of destination image, particularly the relationship between image change and loyalty. As image and loyalty are key branding constructs, the findings and methodological approach adopted in the study should be of particular interest to researchers and practitioners of destination branding.

Keywords: cognitive image change; attitudinal loyalty; brand loyalty; behavioural loyalty; destination images; destination branding; brands; perception modification; destination attributes; visitor experiences; first-time visitors; repeat visitors; recommendations; willingness to recommend; United States; USA; wineries; wine; alcohol; tourist industry; tourists; tourism; sustainability; sustainable development; services management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2010.032080

International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 2010 Vol.13 No.3/4, pp.234 - 246

Available online: 09 Mar 2010 *

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