Cognitive image change and loyalty in destination branding

Joy Huang, Liping A. Cai, Joseph A. Ismail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined visitors' cognitive image change and its relationship to their loyalty to a well-established destination brand. It was found that visitors positively modified their perceptions about many of a destination's attributes after their experience at the destination. The extent of the positive modifications varied, however, among first-time visitors, repeat visitors, and loyalists. The test of eight hypotheses revealed a significant positive relationship between visitors' image change and their willingness to recommend for first-time visitors and loyalists, but not for repeat visitors. First-time visitors were the only group for which a positive relationship was discovered between image change and return likelihood. This study contributes to the understanding of the influential and dynamic nature of destination image, particularly the relationship between image change and loyalty. As image and loyalty are key branding constructs, the findings and methodological approach adopted in the study should be of particular interest to researchers and practitioners of destination branding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-246
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Services, Technology and Management
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Mar 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Attitudinal loyalty
  • Bbehavioural loyalty
  • Cognitive image change
  • Destination branding
  • Destination image

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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