Essay Example on The influential role of destination image in destination branding









As discussed previously experts acknowledge the influential role of destination image in destination branding despite the shortage of a concrete conceptualisation Beerli and Martín 2004 cited in Lopes 2011 From the summary of the etymology and evolution of the term image as well as the subjectivity and ambiguity around the definition of destination image due to its multi attributes it is reasonable that the destination image formation should be treated as a holistic construct and thus viewed from multi dimensions perspectives levels Um and Crompton 1990 cited in Kozak et al 2011 From the various definitions of destination image previously discussed the image itself represents the tourist s tendency to choose or reject a given destination As such the image influences the attitude that tourists develop towards destinations which ultimately influences the buying decision process According to the latest guidelines of the World Travel Organisation for Tourism Marketing the development of the image of a tourist destination is based on the combination of two dimensions of consumers rationality and emotionality The first dimension rationality refers to the perceptual and cognitive realm As such destination image is evaluated by the attributes of its resources and attractions which motivate tourists to visit 

The second is affective dimension concerning feelings and emotions raised by tourist destinations This emotional component is also strongly affected by the motivations of tourists Beerli and Martín 2004 cited in Lopes 2011 Pike and Ryan 2004 based on the multi item approach argue that the image of a destination is multifaceted and consists of three main elements affective cognitive and behavioural As suggested by Smith 2005 beliefs and knowledge form the core of the cognitive components whereas the affective components represent feelings and emotions Baloglu and Brinberg 1997 The behavioural component is the indication of a tourist s intention to visit a certain place Lee 2009 Other scholars divide image into primary and secondary one Phelps 1986 defines the primary image as the image built after the visit to the destination and the secondary image as that built prior to the visit Gunn 1988 and Mansfeld 1992 further distinguish the secondary image in two types the organic image informal image for Mansfeld that derives from non commercial information independent of destination management and the induced the image formal image for Mansfeld with respect to information conveyed by the DMO Based on this typology Fakeye and Crompton 1991 explain that a potential tourist has a secondary organic image of a set of destinations

 For a more advantageous promotion of a destination promotional messages should be used in the organic phase of the image while persuasive messages would be appropriate for the induced phase of the image During the primary image stage messages that remind tourists of previous experiences are more beneficial Besides the definition categorisation of destination image scholars also propose various stages in which destination image is formed in the mind of customers Tocquer and Zins 2004 group images into four stages of development The first stage is vague and unrealistic image stems from advertising education and word of mouth dissemination It is formed before the tourist travels The next stage is distortion of the image at this stage the person decides to go on vacation choosing the time spent on vacation destination and type of tourism product The image of vacation is changed clarified and expanded during this period Thus the image developed becomes clearer after the finalisation of the vacation plan In the third stage the image is improved when the customers have the vacation experience itself Once having direct experience of tourism products the image is improved by cancelling distorted elements and strengthening positive elements But the image itself might be affected to if the inputs are negative The last and the fourth stage is resulting image which refers to the recent memory of the vacation experience It can lead to nostalgia regret or fantasy and thus may result in a set of new images that will affect future decisions about that same tourism product In a contemporary world people are surrounded by information structures services products people and buildings Each entity provides different kinds of messages and meanings are provided with a specific identity Lacerda 2004 

Therefore the image formation in the mind of customers should be the result of well planned communicative messages which underpin the identity of the destination Furthermore it should be concise compelling and memorable to make a powerful impact on customers as in a contemporary world overwhelmed with multimedia stimuli the mental barrier is activated to filter useful information Middleton et al 2009 Thus visual image is important in the formation of a message like the points put forward by Heidegger cited in Urry 1997 and Schroeder 2002 the fundamental event of the modern age is the conquest of the world as a picture and organised around attention in which strategic communication incorporates visual images designed to capture attention

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