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Title: Investigating British customers’ experience to maximize brand loyalty within the context of tourism in Egypt: Netnography & structural modelling approach
Authors: Rageh Ismail, Ahmed
Advisors: Melewar, TC
Keywords: Customer experience;Brand loyalty;Service quality;Netnography
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: Brunel University Brunel Business School PhD Theses
Abstract: The concept of ‘customer experience’ has evolved as an imperative area of study within the marketing discipline. Despite its importance and the positive attention this concept has received during the last few years, the explanation of customer experiences have remained vague and lack a thorough theoretical foundation. Furthermore, practitioners across many industries claim that there is a connection between customer experience and loyalty, yet there is a paucity of research to validate this theoretical assumption. This study aims to address this gap in the literature and to facilitate better understanding of the concept of 'customer experience' and its antecedents and focus on brand loyalty as consequence from the consumer perspective. Accordingly, a mixed-method research design was adopted that consisted of two phases. The first phase involved a netnography study to gain better understanding of the notion of customer experience and refine a conceptual framework that has been developed on the basis of the existing literature. In the second phase this framework was tested by means of a survey of British customers to examine their experience with resort-hotel brands in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. Structural equation modeling was used to analyze the survey responses. The structural model showed a very good fit to the data and good convergent, nomological and discriminant validity and reliability stability. The findings of this study identified four aspects of customer experience in the resort-hotels in Egypt; i.e. educational, aesthetics, relational and novelty. Those aspects are congruent with prior work in the tourism literature. Additionally, the study found that customers rely on some service cues such as: price, core service and WOM to predict and assess their experiences. The findings also indicated that perceived service quality has a mediating role in the relationship between customer-contact employees and core service and customer experience. A key contribution of this research is offering a robust model that explains the nascent phenomenon of customer experience and demonstrating that experience has a definite positive impact on brand loyalty. The use of netnography to identify customer experience dimension is also considered as a methodological contribution in the area of marketing research. Moreover, the present study adds novel perspective to the growing body of brand literature (particularly service brand) and suggests directions for future research. Finally, the study provides managerial implications for service managers to identify the experiential needs of their customer and properly design the customer experience.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Brunel Business School Theses

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