PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive research of the effects of the intensity of use of social media on destination brand equity. The authors use the schema theory and a multidimensional approach of brand equity to analyse how social media communication affects brand awareness, brand image, customer value, brand quality and loyalty.Design/methodology/approachThe authors carried out a quantitative study through a personal survey with structured questionnaire. The study population were international tourists, over 18 years of age, who were visiting the city of Valencia, Spain. Respondents were asked to take the questionnaire upon arrival in Valencia, that is, before they had any direct experience of the tourist destination and when their knowledge of the city came only from the sources of social media information they have used. The final sample size was 249 interviewees.FindingsFindings confirm a positive effect of the intensity of social media use on brand awareness. Results also suggest that brand awareness influences other dimensions of brand equity and highlight the influence of the destination affective image on the intention to make WOM communication.Originality/valueIts originality lies in a unique approach for data collecting and using the schema theory of cognitive psychology to understand the phenomenon of social media influence on tourist perception of destination brands. The findings contribute to the development of better social media marketing in order to manage destination brands online.
European Journal of Management and Business Economics – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 15, 2018
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