Philip P. W. Wong
A number of previous studies suggest that an increase in customer-based brand equity (CBBE) can lead to greater competitiveness of the brand by influencing consumer behaviour through the greater possibility of brand selection, increased brand loyalty, reduced price sensitivity, and a willingness to pay more for the brand (Aaker, 1991; Keller, 1993, Pitta & Katsani, 1995; Wood, 2000). However, in other recent studies on destination competitiveness, there is growing support for the view that certain destination competitiveness attributes can be the antecedents for the development of destination brand equity (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003; Pike, 2009. Therefore, it is logical to assume that the construct of destination competitiveness can be classified into two possible components of (1) ‘functional attributes’ being the antecedent of CBBE while the other component of (2) ‘abstract attributes’ is actually influenced by CBBE. Due to the scarcity of research in the classification of destination competitiveness’ attributes into the components of either the functional or abstract attributes, a Delphi study was conducted to assist in the categorisation of those attributes into the relevant components of destination competitiveness. Based on the results of the Delphi-survey, the competitiveness attributes were classified into either the component of Destination competitiveness I (Functional attributes) or Destination competitiveness II (Abstract attributes). The majority of the attributes of the core resources and attractors were grouped into the functional attributes component and only a few remaining attractors were considered abstract attributes. Certain attributes of Supporting Factors & Resources were classified as functional attributes, while other supporting factors were categorised as abstract attributes. Both the Destination management attributes of local managerial skills and Staff skills were considered to be abstract attributes while the attributes under Qualifying and Amplifying Determinants were separated into either one of the two components of functional or abstract attributes.
Key words: Customer-based brand equity, Delphi-method, destination branding, destination competitiveness, destination marketing