Destination logo recognition and implications for intentional destination branding by DMOs: A case for saving money
Tourist destination branding has become a major element in tourism marketing. However, it could potentially be the case that tourists are unaware of brands intentionally constructed by destination marketing organzations (DMOs) because they do not even recognize the main identifier as represented by the destination logo. This paper tests the truth of this assumption for the cases of four supposedly well-branded Swiss destinations. The results show that destination logo recognition is, indeed, very limited. In addition, destination logos appear to be most effective when used for specifically branding the place right on the spot. In terms of the original meaning and aim of 'branding,' the results imply that branding (using the logo) is primarily useful for the product (i.e. the experience) in the destination rather than for destination communication. Since DMOs spend considerable amounts of money in branding processes, we conclude that the impact of branded communication and advertising campaigns is greatly overestimated.