Purpose – This study matches destination brand components with motives and identifies those components that are most important for the consumer during various stages of the decision process. This study also aims to classify various functional and symbolic brand components. The findings take the customers’ point-of-view in identifying those descriptors that affect consumer choice preference and create destination loyalty.
Design/methodology/approach – The research is exploratory. Through a detailed literature review, destination brand components are identified, simplified and then classified as symbolic or functional. They are also classified by motive. The review is followed by a quantitative study that uses open-ended questions to find the relationship between destination brand components and the stage of decision making. This study also presents a conceptual model with taxonomy of brand components.
Findings – Functional brand components seem to play a major role in a consumer’s description of place brands during the various decision making stages. This finding highlights the importance of stressing functional components in the destination’s branding strategy.
Originality/value – This study is the first of its type and can serve as a platform for future research, practically helping destinations create more effective communication.