Jung-Ho Suh, PhD
Department of Community Sustainability
Academic Focus Area: Destination Marketing, Branding and Social Media
Hometown: South Korea
Advisor: Dan McCole
- Master in Hotel & Tourism Management, February 2012
- Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea
- Early Graduation for 1.5 years out of 2 years (Co-terminal Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees)
- Bachelor in Convention Management, August 2010
- Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea
- Honors: Graduated as a Magna Cum Laude
- Early Graduation for 3.5 years out of 4 years (Co-terminal Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees)
- Participated in research projects in collaboration with Oakland County, Michigan.
- Participated in the Northern Grapes Project funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), Specialty Crops Research Initiative (SCRI)
- Involved several research projects in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization of United Nations (UNWTO, Madrid, Spain), the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea, the Seoul Metropolitan Government of Korea, and the Seoul Development Institute (SDI).
- Developed conceptual model and general planning for tourism marketing-related research projects in collaboration with Seoul Development Institute (SDI) and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Korea.
With the rapid development of mobile devices and social media, tourist destinations, like many organizations wishing to influence consumer behavior through branding activities, have turned to the use of social media in marketing. Destination branding through social media is crucial to tourists’ decision making in both the planning stages of travel, as well as during the travel itself. However, with the spread of information technologies and devices, social media research, especially within the areas of destination branding, only recently has started to gain popularity. Although social media is becoming more important to the destination promotional mix, there appears to be a gap in our understanding of the effects of social media on destination branding in reality and empirical research. A strong need exists for examining the impact of social media on destination branding and for understanding how policy makers and entrepreneurs apply these to their decision making processes. I have been studying the existing research related to both destination branding and social media. Destination branding has been widely studied and has established literature and theories, but the social media literature is still emerging, with many studies being exploratory. Specifically, my dissertation research will focus on three research objectives:
- To identify how marketers use social and traditional media to convey destination branding messages;
- To measure the awareness and perceived image tourists have of destination brands to investigate how tourists perceive destination through both social media and traditional media; and
- To compare the effect of social earned media (e.g., word of mouth [WOM] generated by customers on Twitter) with that of social controlled media (e.g, company/brand Twitter accounts or Facebook messages) to potential tourists planning their travels by measuring their behaviors (e.g., ‘intention to visit the destination,’ ‘intention to recommend the destination’).
Destination marketing researchers and practitioners must understand how tourists perceive the differences of destination branding delivered by different types of media, as well as how tourists’ behaviors toward social media differ from traditional. This understanding will allow policy makers in destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to make wiser decisions about marketing investments, and to create more effective messages for their destination branding when using social media. Furthermore, this research will extend the current literature of social media by examining, through an empirical approach, how destination branding through social media impacts tourists’ perception and intention.