عنوان مقاله [English]
Tourism, in recent decades, is considered as a fundamental driving at the current competitive age worldwide. The tourism is one of the factors playing an important role in development of public order or disorder. The development of tourism activities can cause outbreak deep changes in most of objective and subjective indexes and the major economic, social, cultural and environmental features of target societies. Different cities of the world make efforts to recognize their role at the national and international level. Meanwhile, each of the results tries to play an active and effective role based on their distinguished characteristics. The urban compatibility is the subject which attracted special attention during the recent years. It takes a city several decades to apply the marketing techniques. The urban branding is a factor which has close relationship with the city function and is one of the significant factors in the definition of identity and personality of city. It causes entailing the good mental picture for the city. There are many attractions and tourism destinations where comprehensive and effective planning was not performed for them.
Marivan city is a notable example; although there are various touristic destinations in Marivan with no effective practices in the area of its brand equity. The focus on the brand equity of tourism destination is of the most importance. Several ingredients and indices form the brand equity that their impression and correlations are still in doubt in the study area. Thus, the present paper aims to answer the question of what is the link between the key ingredients of tourism destinations and their impressions.
The present research is an applied study and applies a quantitative method. By the use of documentary and library studies, the key elements of target brand equity of tourism were classified into brand picture, brand awareness, perceived qualities and fidelity. For the study of situations existing in every mentioned element, the indexes and expertized questions were formulized and the data related to every index in the study scope were collected by the use of questionnaire. The Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling (PLS- SEM) was applied in Smart- PLS for the purpose of relationships between the research elements. The structure of research model based on mentioned elements as the latent variables and indexes defined for each of them were regarded as the observable variables. Based on Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling, the number of required questionnaires is ten times the number of observable variables of the element which has the most number of variables in comparison to the other elements and an extra variable was taken into account for further confidence and, accordingly, 120 questionnaires were used for field study and collecting the data related to observable variables. The reliability of questionnaire by test of Chronbakh's Alpha was obtained more than 0.7 and this confirms the reliability of questionnaire. In the process of modeling, the composite model was used for the study of observable variables in the elements of brand picture and perceived quality; and the reflective model in the structural model was used for the elements of brand awareness and fidelity. The effectiveness of brand picture on the brand awareness and fidelity is relatively strong that this indicates the proper and appropriate performance of indexes of elements of brand picture in Marivan. Therefore, it can be said that, in the study scope, the beautiful nature and landscape, proper weather, lake and mountains, attractive historical attraction, attractive cultural attraction, hospitable people, attractive local food, appropriate purchase facilities, proper commercial situation, peaceful and calm environment and the unique handicrafts in the target brand equity are of special importance.
Results and discussion
Results show the coefficients of direct effect of perceived quality on brand awareness, brand awareness on loyalty, brand image on loyalty and brand image on awareness was 0.326, 0.326, 0.649 and 0.662, respectively. Moreover, the coefficients of the indirect effect of brand image on loyalty as well as perceived quality on loyalty were 0.215 and 0.106, respectively. With regard to the given structural modeling, the most total effect (0.864) was found for the brand image. Brand image and perceived quality have total effect coefficients of 0.326 and 0.864, respectively, directly and indirectly, and anticipate 0.92.5 and 0.92.9 (%) of the total variance of brand awareness and loyalty.
The least effectiveness of elements in the structural model of research is related to the effectiveness of elements of brand awareness on the fidelity. In this regard, it can be said that the management of tourism affairs has had no proper performance and the management of tourism affairs of city, for the purpose of development of mentioned element, should provide the situation for improvement of indexes of resolving power in comparison to the other destinations, features of tourism destination, ability for reminding the symbol and logo of destination and determination for purchase as the priorities of management and planning. Thus, the effort should be made to improve all the indexes of brand equity and fidelity to brand among the tourists traveled to Marivan city. With regard to this matter that the tourists are not able to test their selections physically, their decision- makings are more based on the mental pictures that they make before the selection of product or the services presented by the destination. Therefore, it is suggested that the influential managers and authorities in this case should try to make a valuable picture from this city as tourism destination by the use of marketing tools specially the propaganda including posters, media advertisements, holding the festivals, conference and expertized meetings.