This chapter provides reviews of literature regarding the impact of festival activities on destination branding and tourist behavioural intention, taking Beijing Music Festival as an example. It starts by defining destination branding, and shows how it influences tourist decision to visit or not to visit particular tourist destinations. The chapter includes reviews of concept of destination branding and the psychological influences of tourists that act on their destination image perceptions, and hence introduces cognitive branding and affective branding. It looks at the influences of affective branding and cognitive branding on destination branding. Furthermore, the chapter looks at the influence of cultural activities on tourists’ intentions and destination branding, and concludes with a brief summary of the whole discussion.
There are several definitions of destination branding. Baker (2007) defines destination branding as a set of marketing activities that support marketers to create a name, logo, symbol, and word mark, among other graphics, in order to create a unique identity of a destination, or differentiate it from other destinations. Moilanen and Rainisto (2009) also describe destination branding as a set of marketing activities, which marketers use to convey desired expectations of memorable travel experiences regarding specific destinations. Additionally, Dinnie (2011) defines destination branding as a set of marketing activities that provide consolidation and reinforcement of emotional connections or relationships between visitors and destinations. Conclusively, Hankinson (2007) describes branding destinations a way of communicating the unique identity of a particular destination to the target audience, by differentiating it from its rivals.
Destination branding influences tourists’ decisions to visit or not to visit a particular destination in several ways. According to Campelo et al., (2014), tourism is one of the reasons that make countries to see the need to develop a competitive identity strategy that can influence visitors to consider visiting them, as opposed to their rivals. The authors’ postulation is supported by Peter, Anandkumar, and Peter (2013), who assert that consumption behaviour of a tourist is strongly impacted by destination branding. Zouganeli et al., (2012) add that an effective destination branding reduces risks perception in tourists’ minds and indicates high trust and satisfaction regarding a particular destination. Fernández-Cavia and López (2013) is in agreement with this postulation by positing that destination branding builds and manages consumer perception of a destination because it acts as an agent that develops strong emotions in tourists’ minds.
The decisions made by tourists regarding destinations to visit and not to visit are associated with their high emotional value and personal significance. However, Clark, Clark, and Jones (2010) purport that the level of customer satisfaction in any functional area is relative, and may differ from one tourist to another or from one functional area to another. Cai, Gartner, and Munar (2009) echo Clark, Clark, and Jones (2010), by adding that the effectiveness of destination branding is short lived and transient in most cases in tourists; perceptions. However Kaplanidou (2006) opposes their postulations, asserting that with a strong destination brand, it is possible to enhance tourists’ trust on potential intangible purchase. Additionally, Moilanen and Rainisto (2009) opine that a location with a strong and positive brand image is more likely to be chosen by tourists as the best destination to travel.
For destination marketers to build a strong branding destination, they must create a destination brand identity that accommodates all features and activities that differentiate their destination from other competing destinations (Chen & Tsai, 2007). However, the authors is opposed by Ekinci and Hosany (2006), who opine that for branding destination to be effective, the brand identity created by marketers, and brand image in consumers’; minds should be reciprocal. This implies that tourists’ decisions can only be influenced if they too build a positive destination image in their minds. This postulation is supported further by Qu, Kim,and Im (2011) who posit that tourists are likely to visit particular destinations if they perceive a destination brand positively because they develop favourable feelings towards the destination, and differentiates it from alternatives or rivals with its unique image.
Brand associations play an integral role in influencing consumer intentions to visit or purchase certain brands (Usakli & Baloglu, 2011). Yuksel, Yuksel, and Bilim (2010) postulate that in branding literature, branding associations are grouped into three, namely; attributes, benefits, and attitudes of brands. In the tourism literature, Kaplanidou and Vogt (2007) define attributes as descriptive features that characterise a particular destination. This description coincides with Murphy, Benckendorff, and Moscardo’s (2007) definition of brand attributes as descriptive features associated with a certain brand. Petr (2009) adds that an attribute refers to what a consumer thinks about a brand or what the brand can offer, as well as the things involved with the brand’s purchase or consumption. As for brand attitudes, Elliot, Papadopoulos and Kim (2011) describe them as perceptions or evaluations of a brand by the consumer, which determine brand choice.
The image in the mind of a tourist regarding a particular destination acts as the beginning of the tourist’s expectation and the behavioural determinant (Mimi et al., 2010). Additionally, De-Beni, Pazzaglia, and Gardini (2007) points out that destination branding exerts two important roles for both tourists and marketers. Firstly, it informs marketers on what, how, and who to promote a destination brand, as well as how to design their brands. Secondly, the authors opines that destination branding informs tourists on what to purchase, to what extent is the purchase consistent with their needs and self-image, and how to behave and consume a destination brand
In the tourism literature, there is an acknowledgement that destination branding is influenced by cognitive and affective evaluations (Konecnik & Gartner, 2007). In reference to Chung-Hsien et al., (2007), cognitive evaluation refers to consumer beliefs and knowledge about a brand, whereas affective evaluation refers to the feelings that consumers have towards certain brands. Jetter and Chen (2011) points out that for tourist marketers to influence tourist visits in their destinations through destination branding, it is important for them to consider both affective and cognitive components in creating an attractive destination image in the minds of consumers. Donald and Gammack (2007) argue that cognitive and affective branding components combine to form destination branding. However, Bigné, Sánchez and Sanz (2009) purport that it is still possible for each of these (cognitive and affective branding) to create unique contributions in destination branding. The authors are echoed by Beerli and Martı́n (2004), who assert that these brand associations cannot be considered equal, basing on their performance. Furthermore Toet et al., (2010) add that it is crucial to treat cognitive and affective components separately, in order to examine their impacts on consumer’s attitude structure or future behaviours, when making decisions regarding visits to destinations of their choice.
Cognitive branding positively affects tourist destination branding (Rodríguez-Santos, González-Fernández, & Cervantes-Blanco, 2013). As mentioned earlier by Chung-Hsien et al., (2007), cognitive branding refers to the beliefs and knowledge that consumers have towards a particular brand. Donald and Gammack (2007) posit that cognitive destination branding enables marketers to gain knowledge and understanding, as well as grab the attention of their target audience, which makes it easier to inform and persuade them by positioning their destination brands as the best in meeting their needs. Through cognitive branding, consumers get to know that a certain tourist destination exists (Toet et al., 2010). Similarly, Beerli and Martı́n (2004) postulate that brand knowledge consists of brand image and awareness, which form brand equity. According to Bigné, Sánchez and Sanz (2009), tourists perceive destinations as having or lacking a variety of attributes, which directly and indirectly influences their purchasing intentions. Donald and Gammack (2007) seem to agree with this argument claiming that the knowledge consumers have regarding destinations, determine their visit and revisit intentions.
In their destination branding, destination marketers ensure that they create or develop strong destination brands in order to create strong brand image in the minds of their target markets (Jetter & Chen, 2011). Regarding the same argument, Chung-Hsien et al., (2007) opine that a weak destination brand is likely to create a weak brand image in the minds of consumers. According to Konecnik and Gartner (2007), cognitive branding shapes cognitive branding in consumers’ minds, and hence promotes destination branding. The author is supported by De-Beni, Pazzaglia, and Gardini (2007) who add that cognitive branding enhances consumer loyalty and purchasing intentions. Furthermore, (Mimi et al., 2010) postulate that a distinctive cognitive branding makes destination branding successful by enabling it to adopt an effective brand positioning strategy.
Some of the cognitive destination image factors that tourists consider in destinations include social opportunities and attractions, natural and cultural amenities, accommodations, transportation and infrastructure, bars and evening entertainment, among others. In destination branding, destination marketers project their destination brand identity using features and activities that differentiate it from their rivals (Chen & Tsai, 2007). According to Murphy, Benckendorff, and Moscardo’s (2007), it is at this point that consumers perceive the image of the destination, which is formed and stored in their minds. In other words, Kim and Yoon (2003) postulates that tourists or visitors build a destination image in their minds, basing on the brand identity projected by destination marketers. Similarly, Yüksel and Akgül (2007) argue that a unique image of a destination is critical in establishing its overall image in the minds of tourists or visitors. Additionally, Kaplanidou and Vogt (2007) point out that a unique image positively impacts on the overall image of a destination in a visitor’s mind. In reference to Kaplanidou (2006), visitors’ perceptions of overall images towards locations or destinations mediate the relationships between cognitive brand images and their intentions to revisit or recommend the destination to their relatives and friends.
However, as opposed to the above postulations, Wang, Jia and Cai (2013) purport that when measuring destination branding of a particular location, it should include both cognitive beliefs and affective impressions that tourists or visitors possess towards those destinations. Additionally, Wagner et al., (2014) agree with these authors that by arguing that destination branding is characterised by subjective perceptions that include both high levels of affective aspects such as feelings, and high levels of cognitive aspects (beliefs). Moreover, Agapito et al., (2013) assert that the measurement of destination branding should reflect both cognitive and affective components in order to be effective.
However, Krans et al., (2013) assert that even if the cognitive and affective branding work hand in hand, the positioning strategy of a destination (destination branding) commences with cognitive aspects because it starts with elements that strongly and uniquely differentiate a destination from its rivals. This argument is supported by Kotta and Szamosközi (2012), who opine that affective construct comes after cognitive construct in destination branding. In reference to Govers & Go (2009), attitude strength and brand commitment act as mediators between brand convictions and consumer behaviour. This argument seems to tally with Arnhold (2010)’s postulation that consumers with high cognitive brand conviction have high levels of brand commitment and attitude strength.
Affective branding positively affects destination branding (Kim & Yoon, 2003). Despite the fact that affective branding is one of the key components of attitude formation, many reviews of literature have paid much focus on cognitive branding, arguing that it predominates over affective aspects. Additionally, Yüksel and Akgül (2007) posit that affective branding is mediated by cognitive aspects. However, a research by Kaplanidou (2006) indicates that affective aspects such as feelings can directly influence the attitudes of consumers towards a branded destination on its own, unlike cognitive branding, which has failed to properly measure feelings associated with information sources. This argument is echoed by Wang, Jia and Cai (2013), who opines that destination branding managers who fail to understand the role of emotions by focusing on cognitive aspects end up impeding their understanding about several consumer behaviours.
In reference to the recent research by Wagner et al., (2014), it is realised that emotions play and integral role in destination branding, for example, in advertising messages, where cognition aspects derive affective branding, which in turn drives visits or purchase intentions. Additionally, Agapito et al., (2013) postulate that emotions have an indirect influence on behaviour, which attitude and judgment cannot capture, and hence its great influence in destination branding. A research by Kotta and Szamosközi (2012) indicate that affective aspects dominate other cognitive aspects in advertising campaigns, and that destination branding managers who employ it emerge successful in persuading tourists to visit their destinations. Reviews of literature about judgment show that certainty associated with emotion can affect information processing hence impact on destination branding positively (Krans et al., 2013). This argument is echoed by Govers & Go (2009), who assert that despite the interdependency between cognitive branding (beliefs) and affective branding (feelings), the affect-directed preferences make destination branding more effective compared to the belief-directed preferences.
The psychology literature on interpersonal intimacy suggests that affective branding acts as a prime aspect of intimate relationship conceptions because it emphasises warmth, deep feelings, affection, and involvement among other things (Arnhold, 2010). Additionally, literature reviews on mood and social memory indicate that emotion plays an integral role in the formation of brand loyalty, considering they propose that emotion and motivation shape consumers’ memories. Similarly, Wingard (2013) argues that an individual can remember the events that involve intense feelings and motivational significance more easily, than those that do not. A research by Ashworth and Kavaratzis (2010) coincides with these authors, saying that organisations that employ affective aspects in their branding succeed basing on the fact that the mental presentations of people are largely dominated by affective characteristics of episode stimuli, and not their actual descriptive features. Furthermore, a research by Baker (2007) indicate that individuals recall their affective reactions as well as evaluations of stimuli, even at times when they do not have memory for the reasons for their tastes and preferences. This implies that destination branding managers can use affective branding to make their consumers recall about how they felt about a brand before, without much struggle. Additionally, Hankinson (2007) posits that consumers with high affective brand conviction are associated with high levels of attitude strength and brand commitment. In other words, Campelo et al., (2014) argue that attitude strength and brand commitment act as mediators between brand convictions and consumer behaviour.
Destination branding managers enhance affective commitment by ensuring that their target audiences are inherently motivated to become attached to their destinations (Peter, Anandkumar & Peter, 2013). According to Zouganeli et al., (2012), committed consumers are often willing to be committed in an exchange relationship with business entities. Regarding the same, Fernández-Cavia and López (2013) opine that affective consumers enable consumers to maintain or stay in an exchange relationship, thus, leads to brand loyalty. In reference to Clark, Clark, and Jones (2010), in affective commitment, consumers develop an emotional attachment to a destination brand, basing on their identification with the destination or the shared values. Additionally, Cai, Gartner, and Munar (2009) posit that consumers are likely to revisit and influence their friends and relatives to visit a destination, which they know and perceive to be of value. According to Kaplanidou (2006), affectively committed consumers are less expensive to retain, willing to pay a price premium, less vulnerable to losses associated with competitive forces, service failures and brand blunders.
Additionally, consumers who are affectively committed desire to convert their relatives and friends to switch their preferences to a brand via brand advocacy (Moilanen & Rainisto, 2009). In reference to Yuksel, Yuksel, and Bilim (2010), connecting emotionally and developing affective commitment is very crucial in destination branding, considering that they make tourists or visitors to feel as if they share a personal intimacy with particular destinations. This argument is in line with that of (Usakli & Baloglu, 2011), who purports that when brands engender strong and favourable brand associations in the minds of consumers, making them to have strong attachments to the brands because they represent their desired concepts.
In reference to social psychology literature by Toet et al., (2010), it is evident that individuals have a close connection with their respective societies, and hence the reason why culture is regarded as an element in every person. Beerli and Martı́n (2004) define culture as beliefs, values, norms, and habits of a group of individuals, which influence their behaviour in several contexts, for example, work, consumption, and leisure, among others. In reference to Campelo et al., (2014), hedonic characters or behaviours are affected by the culture of an individual, and hence the reason why cultural values influences the preferences and behaviours of tourists. Nevertheless, Donald and Gammack (2007) purport that destination branding marketers conduct a deeper analysis of the role that cultural values play in destination image formation, in their tourism research. In their tourism research, Moilanen and Rainisto (2009) assert that tourists from different parts around the world have heterogeneous cultural values, and consequently, perceive the same tourist destination differently. According to Dinnie (2011), the cognitive branding of a tourist destination is affected by the tourist’s country of origin. For instance, Petr (2009) found in his research that Pennsylvania is perceived in a different way by tourists from Canada, Africa, Europe, and America, among other countries. Additionally, Chung-Hsien et al., (2007) found that different festivals or activities in different countries are perceived differently by visitors or tourists from different locations. Furthermore, Agapito et al., (2013) conclude that cognitive and affective components of destination branding are influenced by the culture of countries in which individuals come from
Cultural festivities evoke cognitive behaviour of tourists, hence affects the cognitive branding that tourists form in their minds (Murphy, Benckendorff, & Moscardo, 2007). Additionally, Chen and Tsai (2007) posit that cultural festivities or activities also evoke affective branding, and hence affect the affective branding formed by tourists in their minds. Regarding the same issue, Ekinci and Hosany (2006) opine that cultural activities, driven by either cognitive or affective constructs influence tourists decisions to visit or not visit a tourism site. According to Qu, Kim,and Im (2011), social and cultural festivities influences are regarded to be among the critical factors affecting the perceptions of individuals.
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