The consolidation of Web 2.0 has modified the way people communicate and interact with tourists. User-generated social media communication continues to increase: to the detriment of traditional media channels, where the message is controlled by destination marketing organizations. Moreover, uncontrolled user-generated communication is increasingly considered more reliable than traditional, controlled communication. All this has considerably modified tourist perceptions regarding destination image and brand equity. From a business perspective, a line of thought addressing the study of these interrelationships has emerged in the literature, going so far as to consider their impact on brand engagement. Despite the current prevalence and relevance of social media communication as a loyalty-building factor in a context as competitive as the tourism sector, relatively little literature has addressed it in emerging tourist destination scenarios. Hence, the present paper presents an analysis of how – and to what extent – social media communication, both controlled and uncontrolled by the destination organization, has an impact on destination brand equity and destination brand engagement. More specifically, this study applies it to an emerging economy scenario: Metropolitan Lima, Peru. The implications of our research, presented at the end of the paper, are of interest – both as a contribution to the literature and from the perspective of tourist destination management – and can serve to aid the economic and social development of emerging economies.
- Brand engagement
- Customer-based destination brand equity
- Emerging economy
- Social media communication
- Tourist destination