Author: Seo, Jiwon Ava
Title: The antecedents and consequences of Chinese consumer attitude toward co-branding between high-end fashion designers and luxury hotels
Degree: DHTM
Year: 2017
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Hotels -- Decoration
Fashion designers
Branding (Marketing)
Consumer behavior
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: xvi, 288 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: A recent trend in the hotel industry has been co-branding between high-end fashion designers and luxury hotels. Fashion designers have taken an active part in designing staff uniforms and decorating hotel suites or public spaces or have been involved full scale in hotels that bear the names of the designers or their fashion brands. The best example of this trend is the Palazzo Versace, which opened a new chapter in fashion-branded hotels during its debut in 2010 in Australia. Although the very first fashion-conceived hotel can be traced back to 1959 in Italy, Palazzo Versace is the first fully involved fashion-branded hotel. This project was made possible because Gianni Versace was one of the few fashion designers with an extensive product line that met the needs of hotels, including home furnishing, linen, glassware, and cutlery. Palazzo Versace hotels have set the trend in the hotel industry together with Armani and Bulgari hotels, which have become the second movers in fashion-branded hotels. Notwithstanding this phenomenon, no empirical academic research related to this trend has ever been conducted. Therefore, this study aims to provide an overview of the involvement of fashion designers with hotels and identify the antecedents and consequences of consumer attitude toward co-branding between fashion designers and luxury hotels. The study setting was limited to Chinese luxury consumers considering the significant purchasing power that Chinese consumers have in luxury market because of the increase in affluent households and their thirst for luxury brands. The purpose of this study is to develop a conceptual framework to understand the factors that affect the co-brand attitude of consumers and its outcomes. Three antecedents that influence consumer attitude are proposed based on the literature review as follows: self-congruity, functional congruity, and fashion brand experience. The proposed consequences of attitude are purchase intention and willingness to pay a price premium. With the aim of achieving the intended objective, this study adopted a quantitative approach in relation to data collection and analysis. A qualitative pre-study was conducted to verify whether the proposed conceptual model could be applied in the context of Mainland China and to fortify the quantitative study. The survey questionnaire was developed after interviews with Chinese luxury consumers and expert panel reviews. Data collection for the quantitative study was performed with the assistance of an online survey company. The collected data were analyzed using partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) technique. Irrelevant items were deleted through a pilot test (n=200), and a set of modified main surveys developed. The main survey was conducted with 600 respondents. The model was tested using SmartPLS 3.0 software.
The findings of this study offer strong support to the structural model. These findings are underpinned by the hypothesized relationships, coefficient of determinations (R2) representing predictive power, and predictive relevance (Q2). Examination of the hypothesized relationships indicated that seven out of the eight hypotheses were supported. This study found that self-congruity, functional congruity, and fashion brand experience had a positive influence on consumer attitude toward co-branding between high-end fashion designers and luxury hotels. Self-congruity and fashion brand experience had a positive impact on purchase intention. In turn, the co-brand attitude of consumers significantly determined their willingness to pay a price premium. The effect of co-brand attitude on purchase intention was the only hypothesis not supported. The predictive power and predictive relevance of the endogenous variables, such as co-brand attitude (R2 = 0.601, p < 0.001; Q2 = 0.353), purchase intention (R2 = 0.725, p < 0.001; Q2 = 0.392), and willingness to pay a price premium (R2 = 0.437, p < 0.001; Q2 = 0.227), demonstrated the substantial capability of the model on prediction and its relevance. This study has important theoretical and practical implications. Although co-branding between fashion designers and hotels has become ubiquitous over the last decade, no study has conducted an empirical investigation to identify the influential factors on consumer responses to the trend. This study crossed the threshold of the untapped research area. In addition, self-congruity, which has been found to be a significant antecedent to consumer responses in the context of fashion-branded hotel, incorporates all types of self-image and adopted subjective measurements that could avoid the shortcomings of traditional measurements. The holistic approach to self-congruity could enrich the knowledge of co-branding between fashion and hotel and shed light for marketers of fashion-branded hotels. This study could also draw attention to the differences in the study context by comparing two congruity concepts: self-congruity and functional congruity. The adoption of the PLS-SEM technique, which has been used in only 6% of papers published in top-tier hospitality journals, could extend the methodological scope in hospitality research. Practical implications for marketers and hotel practitioners also emerged. Marketers and hoteliers should design marketing programs aligned with the ideal images of target market and focus on creating affective/emotional experience by considering the importance of self-congruity and fashion brand experience on consumer responses, particularly ideal self-congruity/ideal social self-congruity and affective fashion brand experience. This step in turn will result in favorable consequences. Hotel practitioners could set and apply appropriate pricing strategies on the basis of the study results. The right pricing plan can certainly provide a strategic competitive advantage to fashion-branded hotels in a fiercely competitive environment.

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