January 21st 2021

DGT-ITB Science Award 2020

MCI Tourism wins prestigious prize of the German Society for Tourism Sciences (DGT) | Award for "Best paper on eTourism".

MCI graduate Theresa Schmidt wins DGT-ITB Science Award 2020.
MCI graduate Theresa Schmidt wins DGT-ITB Science Award 2020. ©MCI

Once again, there is good news to report at the MCI: MCI graduate Theresa Schmidt, M.A., wins the prestigious DGT science award. With the award in the category "Best paper on eTourism", the graduate of the 'Entrepreneurship & Tourism' course at the Entrepreneurial School® secured the coveted award. This is the ninth time in a row that the prestigious DGT Science Award has gone to a student of the Entrepreneurship & Tourism program at MCI.

Due to the Corona pandemic, the award could not be presented as usual at the ITB Berlin, but was awarded virtually at the beginning of January. Theresa Schmidt convinced the DGT jury with her thesis "The influence of social media on customer-related brand value in alpine destinations", which was supervised by Dr. Barbara Theiner, and thus secured the prize endowed with 1,000 euros.

The MCI department of tourism once again confirms its outstanding role as one of the leading tourism universities in the German-speaking region. "Especially for alpine destinations, the influence of social media is highly relevant and Ms. Schmidt has made a very successful contribution to this discussion with her work," said Prof. Hubert Siller, Head of MCI Tourism.

Dr. Tanja Hörtnagl-Pozzo, member of the board of the DGT and responsible for young academics: "Ms. Schmidt is dedicated to the impact of social media on a destination and destination brand and thus offers exciting insights into this very current topic. Her work is characterized by a methodically very clean approach and is on a high scientific level."

ABSTRACT: The influence of social media on customer-related brand equity of alpine destinations:

This study aims to measure the influence of social media marketing activities (SMMA) on the customer-based brand equity of destinations (CBDBE). This is defined with the help of the constructs brand awareness, brand image, brand quality, brand value and brand loyalty.

With the help of an online survey on the social media of an alpine destination in Tyrol, 353 people were interviewed. Data analysis was conducted using correlation, factor and regression analysis. The results show that SMMA has an influence on CBDBE. The Brand Loyalty dimension is most significantly influenced, but no influence is detectable on Brand Value. Entertainment, Trendiness, and WOM are the most significant factors, while Customization is the weakest component in the overall data analysis.

The research field regarding the constructs CBDBE and SMMA in the context of alpine destinations as well as the elaboration of their individual components are of high importance. Destinations can therefore benefit from the elaborated recommendations for action by applying them to their own social media/brand strategy.

DGT Science Award

The German Society for Tourism Science (DGT e.V.) annually awards the DGT Science Prize (traditionally at the ITB) for outstanding theses of tourism studies in the four following categories and was awarded for the 26th time in 2020.

  1. Best dissertation
  2. Best junior thesis (bachelor and master)
  3. Best Master's thesis on the topic of eTourism
  4. Best Master's thesis on the topic of sustainability in tourism.

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