International Tourism and Hospitality Journal (ITHJ)

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Issue 04 | Volume 5 | 2022

Title: A Qualitative Study of Pilgrimage Destination Branding: Comparison between pre-covid and during-covid Consumer Brand Journey

Author(S): Mukit Anis and Nusrat Hafiz*

Corresponding Author Affiliation*: Putra Business School, University Putra Malaysia (UPM), Malaysia


Religious tourism refers to traveling for sacred or spiritual purposes at religiously-prescribed locations. The pandemic has critically damaged the religious tourism sector. The concept of destination branding differentiates a tourism destination from its competitors and helps achieve a competitive edge. Unfortunately, the extant literature on destination branding in religious tourism is untapped from a developing country’s context. To evaluate the evolution of the pilgrimage brand journey before and during covid, the present study obtains the pilgrims’ consumer profiles and brand journey maps during the Umrah experience of the Bangladeshi Muslim urban elite. The initial data is collected from the in-depth interview, transcribed, codified, and then analyzed ethnographically using thematic analysis. The study finds customer disappointments in their brand journey from logistic touchpoints during the covid-era. Through mapping brand touchpoints and constructing consumer profiles, it is found that brand love and loyalty precede the destination brand’s consumption in the context of Hajj and Umrah. The study findings offer significant implications in the destination brands domain, implying that brand consumption is essential to brand loyalty and advocacy, thereby extending the body of knowledge of brand love and brand loyalty.

Keywords: Destination branding, Religious Tourism, Pilgrimage brand journey, Brand touchpoints, Hajj and Umrah, Brand love

Print ISSN: 2616-518X; Online ISSN: 2616-4701

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