US-Based Hotel Brand Personality
Brand personality is integrated knowledge held by consumers about what a brand is and what a brand means to them. It is a critical notion to understand consumers' psychology with a brand such as brand attitude, attachment, commitment, and even behavioral intentions. Occurrence of brand personality is driven by consumers' needs for seeking familiarity (self-consistency) or expressing positive sides of the self (self-esteem). Defined as a set of human-like features, brand personality can primarily manifest in five dimensions: Excitement, Sincerity, Competence, Sophistication, and Ruggedness. The individual usefulness of each brand personality dimension is a practical topic worth exploring. Drawing on the theory of self-congruity, this dissertation typically explores the individual utility of each brand personality dimension for consumers to express their self-images or to seek functional consistency in the context of hotel brands, and how it varies by traveling purpose of consumers and hotel price categories. The result supports the notion that consumers are more likely to express their self-images with personality traits like Excitement and Sincerity, and they rely on the Sincerity and Competence personality traits to evaluate the consistency between hotel's functions and their own needs. This dissertation also profiles the currently prevalent hotel categories with brand personality dimensions and individual traits, which can provide hotel practitioners with better knowledge of their hotel positions relative to others. It indicates hotel price categories can be better distinguished at the individual trait level than the broader dimension level. The number of best performed personality traits of hotels has no relation to their price. Implicitly, this research provides practitioners with a general picture about the brand personality performance of major hotel categories, and clarifies the individual value of brand personality in driving consumers' psychological feelings. It helps practitioners better understand what personality dimensions they should strengthen for managing their hotel brands in the future business practice; and what strategic focus they should place on when advertising different hotel categories or marketing to consumers with different travel purpose.