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Booking Intention of Airline Tickets

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Booking Intention of Airline Tickets

        Booking Intention of Airline Tickets 

 
Abstract
The airline companies in the modern era have the tendency to share the relevant information online with a hope to raise the customer base in the global market. The companies create brand awareness through the social media platforms which encourage the customers to purchase different products based on the review. The researcher has set suitable objectives related to social media marketing strategies that are followed by the companies and the impact these have on the level of customer satisfaction derived. The researcher has gathered quantitative data from the Chinese students pursuing higher studies in the UK. The students share relevant information about the impact of the social media marketing techniques. Furthermore, the researcher has also gathered data from the secondary sources which has provided information about the suitable digital marketing strategies. 
The quantitative data has supported the fact that the online customer reviews make a difference to the purchase intentions of the potential customers. Moreover, the social media advertisements are likely to strengthen the buyer-seller relationship which raises the annual sales of the company. The qualitative data indicates the fact that e-WOM publicising of the product can be done through the virtual communities which in turn raises the customer base. A number of recommendations have been provided by the researcher so as to improve the social media marketing techniques such as gathering feedback from the customers and implementing them suitably. An audit of the social media platforms is necessary so as to ensure high return on investment from advertising in these platforms.       
 
 
Chapter 1: Introduction
The current chapter acts as the background for the ongoing research work in the context of the effects of social media marketing of the online airline tickets booking intentions for holiday tourism, studied especially with reference to the UK based Chinese students. A brief description of the research method has also been provided in the current chapter along with a structure outline of the ongoing study. 
 
1.1 Background about Chinese Students Studying in the UK and Demands of Airline Tickets
It has been identified from the report of Xinhua (2017) that the number of study visas that is granted to the Chinese citizens to Britain has increased in the contemporary year by 17 percent, especially in the Russell Group Universities. More specifically, nearly one-third of the non-EU students in the UK are Chinese nationals (UK CISA, 2018). As a matter of fact, among the top ten non-EU countries that send students to the UK, China comes as the top most nation with 95,090 visas in 2016-17, representing a steady increase since 2013-14 (UK CISA, 2018). Most significantly, among those countries that host students for studying wholly overseas for a UK based qualification, China was the country with the second largest number of students after Malaysia. 
In the recent years, the usage of internet has become an integral part of the daily routines of the consumers, thereby changing their purchase pattern all over the world. The introduction of Web 2.0 has allowed people in the process of online interaction between one another for varied purposes ranging from shopping to knowledge generation followed by holiday planning and ticket booking. Especially in the context of travelling and tourism, the way of planning and consumption of products and services has been highly influenced because of technological developments (Ghandour and Bakalova, 2014). Considering the growth of social media in the recent years, different social media websites such as blogs, content communities, virtual social worlds, virtual game worlds, social networking sites and collaborative projects developed and uploaded by different travel organisations have allowed the users in communicating throughout the globe (Ghandour and Bakalova, 2014; Dehghani, et al., 2016). 
In account of the demand of the Chinese people towards the UK regarding studies or tourism, it is identified by Smyth and Bland (2018) that China is on the way of attaining the position of the largest air travel market by 2022. In 2017, 549 million Chinese passengers have boarded airplanes to the UK (Smyth and Bland, 2018). This has become possible due to easing of the visa restrictions by different foreign governments for attracting Chinese tourists. It is due to the rising attraction of the UK among Chinese travellers that the two countries have decided a rise in the number of direct weekly flights between Beijing and Manchester run by China Airlines and Hainan Airlines (Mcneice, 2017). UK bound flights from other Chinese cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing and Qingdao have also been included in the pact (Air Port Watch, 2017). Among the large airlines service providers, Air China accounts for the largest number of seats (30.2%) for passengers travelling between China and the UK, followed by British Airways with seating capacity of 20.6% and China Southern Airlines with seating capability of 12.5% (Air Port Watch, 2017). 
 
 
1.2 Rationale of Doing this Research
From the background of the research, it can be identified that the demand for UK based education among the Chinese students has increased in the recent years. Information regarding the same can be acquired easily with the help of social media communication platforms. Hence, the rising demand of airline tickets between the UK and China can be accounted to the rise of popularity of Web 2.0 technologies in the recent years. From the literary sources reviewed so far, little information could be identified regarding the influence of social media marketing on the booking intention of online airline tickets. In order to find out the effect of social media marketing on online ticket booking intention of Chinese students visiting to the UK, the current research has been conducted. 
 
1.3 Aim, Objectives & Questions
Research aim:
To identify the impact of social media marketing on the online airline ticket booking intention of the Chinese students studying in the UK regarding tourism during holiday. 
Research objectives:
To identify the role of social media marketing on the purchase intention of Chinese students in the UK, regarding online airline ticket booking during holiday
To identify the effect of social media marketing on brand awareness of different airline service providers
To identify the impact of brand awareness on the online airline ticket purchase intention of the Chinese students on the UK
Research questions:
What is the role of social media marketing on the purchase intention of UK based Chinese students for online air ticket booking?
In what way does social media marketing affect the brand awareness of airline service providers?
What is the impact of brand awareness on online air ticket purchase intention of UK based Chinese students?
 
1.4 Contribution of this Research
The current research studies the ways in which social media marketing affects the buying intention of the UK based Chinese students, towards online airline ticket for tourism during holidays. Hence, the study is supposed to contribute to the airline service providers of China and the UK in their process of social media marketing strategy with the help of online advertisements, online communities and electric word of mouth. With the help of the social media marketing strategies suggested in the current research, the airline companies will be able to develop brand awareness while affecting the purchase intention of the UK based Chinese students during holidays. Hence, the current research contributes to the strategy development of the airline service providers of China and the UK. 
 
1.5 Research Method
The current research has been conducted with the help of primary data collected from the Chinese students between the age group of 18-30 years, who are studying in the UK. Quantitative information, collected using questionnaire survey, has been used for the study. The aforementioned data has been analysed in the context of reliability, demography, correlation using SPSS and MS Excel, thereby reaching to authentic answers to the research questions. 
 
 
Chapter 2: Literature Review
This chapter evaluates the information found out from the literary sources, which are related to social media, its effect on brand awareness and the effect of brand awareness related to purchase intention. The content of this chapter describes, summarises, evaluates and clarifies the literature relevant to the aforementioned topics. With the help of the current chapter, the researcher could develop a theoretical base for the study followed by determination of the nature of the study. 
 
2.1 Social Media
Kietzmann, et al. (2011) have defined social media as a platform of online communication, which is dedicated to different kinds of community based input, content sharing, collaboration and interaction. On the other hand, Kaplan and Haenlein (2010) define social media as the computer based technology, which enables creation and sharing of data regarding different kinds of ideas and interests with virtual networks and communities. Contrarily, Ward (2018) has commented that social media is a particular type of online media, which accelerates the conversation in a different way than that of traditional media, thereby delivering contents in such a way that the readers are not allowed to contribute in the development process of the web content. In the recent years, the interactive Web 2.0 applications of the internet is considered to be social media. In this context, Gerbaudo (2018) has stated that social media communication is mainly based on sharing links, posts, photos and videos, update of information in a public profile as well as commenting on the contents uploaded to a social media platform. 
Considering the importance of social media in the current scenario, it has been stated by Boyd (2014) that social media has recently emerged as the most important communication tools for people of all ages throughout the world. It allows interpersonal communication by way of pictures, videos, live stories and the like. Even entities can communicate with the help of business profiles or blogs and popularise those with the help of social media. In a way, social media currently acts as an influencer in different kinds of business communications. This implies the importance of social media for the businessmen and bloggers, thus delivering high popularity and growth to the same. 
 
2.1.1 Online Advertising
Online advertising, which is referred to as a type of social media marketing, makes extensive use of the internet for delivering the promotional messages to the target consumers. Marketing tools such as email, search engine, social networking sites along with web banner advertisement and mobile advertisement are used for effective online advertising (Agarwal, Hosanagar and Smith, 2011). Technically, like other forms of advertisement, online advertising involves a publisher for integrating the advertisements with online content and an advertiser for developing the advertisements that need to be displayed on the content of the publisher (Armstrong, et al., 2015). Among other potential participants, online advertisements involve advertising agencies (generate and place the ad copy), ad servers (deliver the ad and track statistics technologically) as well as advertising affiliates (promote the advertiser) (Armstrong, et al., 2015). 
Due to their numerous advantages over the traditional advertising methods, online advertisements have evolved as one of the most significant ways of generating business for firms of all sizes in the process of expansion, customer acquisition and diversification of revenue streams. This is because; businessmen are able to use a number of options in case of online advertising through different methods ranging from paid social advertising and PPC (pay-per-click) to online display advertising (Moriarty, et al., 2015). Among the aforementioned methods, paid social advertising proves to be the most effective one. This is because; social media has turned out to be the most favourite pastime for adults of all over the world; thus making it easy for the advertisers to reach to the target audience (Goldfarb and Tucker, 2011b). Thus all the elements of online advertising campaign, such as, text and visual ads, call tracking, landing pages, analytics, sponsored content, email marketing and remarking combine to evolve as effective online advertising programs. However, Gonzalez (2013) points out that consumers often consider online advertisements as unwanted distractions that bring little benefit with it. This has in turn resulted to increased percentage of ad blocking all over the world. It is for this reason that a number of common online advertising practices face controversies, thereby getting highly affected by different kinds of regulations (Goldfarb and Tucker, 2011a, Hvass and Munar, 2012; Kim and Ko, 2012; Hudson and Thal, 2013). As a result, it has been observed that in the recent years, the online ad contents of a number of publishers have been hidden behind the paywalls. 
 
2.1.2 Online Communities
According to the Shackelford and Maxwell (2012), virtual communities are referred to as aggregation of business partners or individuals sharing common interest, nurturing of which is supported by technological applications and guided by certain norms and protocols. Online communities are referred to as virtual communities, where members often interact among themselves primarily through the internet, thereby developing a family of invisible friends (Arsal, et al., 2010). The interested internet users often require to take the membership of online communities with the help of specific websites, which include social networking sites, chat rooms, e-mail lists, discussion boards and forums. Apart from these, users are enabled to join online communities through video games, virtual platforms and blogs (Brennan, Monroy‐Hernández and Resnick, 2010; Saravanakumar and SuganthaLakshmi, 2012; Kohli, Suri and Kapoor, 2015). In a way, the online communities act as information systems, where the members are able to post, comment, collaborate and give advice on different kinds of issues. 
In account of availability and benefits of online communities for social media marketing, online communities have emerged as one of the mainstream business tools (Claveria, 2016). Owing to the ubiquity of online communities, companies often use four different kinds of online communities, namely support communities, social communities, advocate communities and insight communities (Ellison, Steinfield and Lampe, 2011; Champoux, Durgee and McGlynn, 2012; Seraj, 2012). For the selection of the most appropriate type of online community, business personnel need to determine their goals initially, followed by consideration of the depth at which customer feedback is required. After that, the right and complementary mixture of online communities can be selected (Claveria, 2016). As a matter of fact, the need of engagement between customers, employees and other stakeholders should be considered prior to the selection of online communities. 
 
2.1.3 Electric Word of Mouth (E-WOM)
According to Bronner and De Hoog (2011), E-WOM refers to any kind of communication through a positive or negative statement made by any customer (potential, former or existing) on a particular topic, which is accessible by a large number of people through the internet. The E-WOM is advantageous over traditional word of mouth since unlike traditional WOM, E-WOM stays in the form of an online stream for over a longer period of time and can be accessed via blogs, social media posts, messages and online reviews. Apart from these, electronic word of mouth helps the marketers in developing trust among the targeted audience, thus maintaining brand loyalty (Erkan and Evans, 2016). Hence, electronic word of mouth helps the marketers in starting a buzz and being a part of the buzz, thereby developing brand image and reputation followed by maintenance of the same (Jeong and Jang, 2011). Among different scholars, Chu and Kim (2011) have defined electronic word of mouth as the form of buzz marketing, which is supposed to become viral with the help of persuasive or funny messages. Practically, electronic word of mouth is a form of word of mouth with added characteristics to the traditional form of word of mouth. These characteristics are that it uses the internet for passing information in the form of text, movie and image. Moreover, it enables the businessmen in transmitting information to numerous individuals simultaneously (Chu and Kim, 2011; Greer and Ferguson, 2011; Berthon, et al., 2012). 
 
2.2 Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is referred to as the extent to which the buyers of a particular industry are able to remember and recall a given brand and its products or services. It is basically the primary consideration for the development of customer buying behaviour, advertisement management, brand management and business strategy development (Huang and Sarigöllü, 2014). The capability of the customer to recognise a particular brand and recall certain specific features of that brand is considered to be the central idea of the decision making process of the individual regarding the purchasing of the products or services offered by a given brand (Curran, Graham and Temple, 2011; Huang and Sarigöllü, 2014; Boateng and Okoe, 2015). This is because; the purchase process of an individual starts with the development of awareness about the deliverables associated to a brand. As a matter of fact, awareness of a customer towards a brand acts as the key indicator of the competitive advantage of the brand over its rivals. In a way, the brand awareness ascertains the degree, to which information related to a brand and its products are remembered by the targeted consumers (Hutter, et al., 2013). As a result, it acts as the key towards effective promotion and marketing of a product, thereby allowing the company to differentiate its products from the services and products offered by its competitors. It is, therefore, inferred by Homburg, Klarmann and Schmitt (2010) that the market deliverables that generate high brand awareness often generate high sales volume than the rest of the products or services, thus acting as an economic earthwork for the company followed by generation of high market share. 
 
2.3 Purchase Intention
The level of willingness that a customer has towards the purchase or repurchase of a given product is referred to as the purchase intention of that consumer. It is actually a dependent variable that is affected by a number of internal and external factors of the company and the market at which it operates (Lu, Zhao and Wang, 2010). Purchase intention of a customer also refers to that particular kind of decision making, which identifies the reason behind buying the deliverables of a given brand (Ling, Chai and Piew, 2010). On the contrary, Kim, et al. (2012) defined purchase intention as the situation, when a customer develops a tendency of buying a particular kind of product under a given market condition. Usually, it has close relationship with the factors of consumer behaviour, consumer perceptions and consumer attitudes. Therefore, it can be considered as a significant tool for the prediction of the buying process of the consumers of a particular industry (Shaharudin, et al., 2012). However, it can be influenced and changed with the help of perceived quality, value and price of a commodity among the customer base of a company. Also, brand image and reputation affect the purchase intention of customers in an effective manner. Apart from this, packaging of the product or service offered to a particular client develops a direct impact on the buying behaviour by way of affecting its brand loyalty (Kim, Gupta and Koh, 2011). 
 
2.4 Effects of Social Media Marketing on Brand Awareness
 
2.4.1 Effects of Online Advertising on Brand Awareness
In the recent years, online advertising is considered to be a dynamic investment to the stocks of a brand in the form of perceived quality and awareness. Proper and strategic investment to this stock paves way towards positive quality perceptions and brand awareness among the customer base of the company. However, the research report of Clark, Doraszelski and Draganska (2009) has identified that online advertising has significant positive impact on brand awareness only and not on perceived quality. On the other hand, Sawant (2012) has commented that with the help of effective online advertising, buyers develop awareness about the existence of a brand but often nurture limited knowledge with no emotional attachment to the same. Therefore, there lies a chance that the buyer might or might not consider the one’s decision regarding the purchase of the products or services delivered by that particular brand. It is for this reason that development and maintenance of brand awareness have become two of the primary objectives of online advertising throughout the modern world, where a single market place contains millions of similar brands (Nielsen and Huber, 2009; Tsai and Men, 2013; Yadav, et al., 2013). Development of proper brand awareness by way of effective advertising is also necessary for neutralising the impact of the customer acquisition strategies implemented by the rivals. In this context, Sawant (2012) has confirmed that though online advertisement is primarily held responsible for developing popularity for the brands, it is a matter of fact that online advertisement is successful in the process of provoking interest and generating brand awareness. 
 
2.4.2 Effects of Online Communities on Brand Awareness
In the recent years, Web 2.0, evolved from Web 1.0 technologies, has emerged as a significant tool for the development of different participatory technologies that can allow the users in their interaction and collaboration with each other in the form of creators of user-generated web content in a virtual community (Brogi, et al., 2013). Participation in online communities helps the users in suggesting and recommending brands to friends and acquaintances, thereby providing important information to the customers. It is for this reason that the internet marketers often focus on the activities of the online communities, which have structured social relations between the loyal customers of the brand (Islam and Rahman, 2017). This implies that participation in an online community has a positive impact on the perceived brand quality and brand loyalty of a given customer base, thereby having a positive effect on brand awareness. It is for this reason that Islam and Rahman (2017) have stated that in the virtual business communication environment, the infrastructure of an online community and its characteristics tend to influence the awareness and thought process of the consumers. In this context, online communities act as stimuli for developing brand awareness by the customer base, thus leading to innovation and improvement of the products or services (Brogi, et al., 2013; Luo, Zhang and Duan, 2013; Grewal, et al., 2016). However, the degree of brand awareness through an online community is decided by the quality of information published in the community wall. 
 
2.4.3 Effects of E-WOM on Brand Awareness
According to Severi, Ling and Nasermoadeli (2014), the strength of electronic word of mouth lies in the fact that it has the capability of raising awareness in such a way that it can affect the association of the customer to the brand in an effective manner. This is because; electronic word of mouth directly expresses the level of brand satisfaction, thereby making the assessment of brand awareness easy for the marketers. Apart from this, Reza Jalilvand and Samiei (2012) stated that electronic word of mouth can be treated as an approach towards the achievement of competitive advantage in a particular market. It is for this reason that electronic word of mouth is considered to be one of the prime indicators of the loyalty of the customer towards the brand. However, the electronic word of mouth developed through social media can also be used for influencing the image and perception of a brand among its customers. This becomes possible since electronic word of mouth has emerged as an essential part of the process by which customers express their opinion towards a product or service delivered by a particular brand (Zhang, et al., 2010). It is for this reason that companies often use electronic word of mouth through social media, for the creation and enhancement of brand awareness, which in turn help in attracting new potential customers. 
In the context of the relationship between electronic word of mouth and brand awareness, it has been stated by Torlak, et al. (2013) that electronic word of mouth shares a positive relationship between purchase intention and brand image. It is for this reason that the marketers use the widespread reach of internet all over the world for generating word of mouth for their products and services. Different kinds of online forums, blogs, customer review platforms and sharing sites have evolved as important sources of electronic word of mouth. Also, the electronic media is the most popular and most liked source of business information for consumers too (Reza Jalilvand and Samiei, 2012). Access to multiple opinion about a given product or service in the internet has critical impact on the style of customer review and purchase intention for a product. 
 
2.5 Effects of Brand Awareness on Purchase Intention
It is a known fact by now that a product or service with high brand awareness definitely grows well in a given market and helps an organisation in its way of earning profit. It is for this reason that brand awareness along with brand usage, brand judgement, brand performance and brand imagery acts as intrinsic assets of a particular brand. The degree to which information regarding a brand can be immediately accessed in the minds of a customer after the pronunciation of the brand name in public, indicates the brand awareness (Escobar-Rodríguez and Carvajal-Trujillo, 2013; Kiráľová and Pavlíčeka, 2015; Shahid, Hussain and Zafar, 2017). Once the positive features of a brand can be recalled by a customer, the one is likely to get inclined towards a positive purchase intention. The awareness of an individual towards a brand is observed to have been influenced by its name, advertisement campaign, promotion and sales as well as the 1st mover advantage associated with the brand. Brand awareness can be increased with the help of large number of sponsorship. It is for this reason that modern firms tend to invest large amounts on the generation of sponsorship so that their brand awareness can be increased and their brand image can be strengthened (Gurses, and Uslu, 2014). Hence, it is found out by Aberdeen, Syamsun and Najib (2016) that in a particular brand model, brand awareness shows significant impact on brand image, which in turn affects the perceived quality and purchase intention of the customers. In this context, it is stated by Roozy, Arastoo and Vazifehdust (2014) that brand equity, which is a combination of brand associations, brand awareness, perceived quality and brand loyalty, has significant relationship with intentions of willing purchase, considering purchase and recommendation purchase. In spite of that, they have confirmed that though brand awareness is an essential factor in business, it does not lead to spontaneous sales (Roozy, Arastoo and Vazifehdust, 2014). Certainly, brand awareness does not always lead to the improvement of brand equity. To attain equity and high sales volume, brand awareness needs to be combined with positive product features that can attract the customers for sales. 
 
2.6 Sociological aspect about social media identity 
According to Murthy (2012) a sociological aspect related to self and identity is based on the assumption that there is an inverse relationship between self and society. ‘Self’ influences the society depending on the actions of the individuals thereby forming the organisations, groups, institutions and the network. On the contrary, ‘society’ is likely to influence self through shared language that enable individuals to tale the role and respect upon oneself (Murthy, 2012).  The researchers have indicated the fact that the symbolic interactionist perspective depending on the sociological psychology indicates self as emerging out of mind. Human beings have the ability to evaluate themselves and plan accordingly so as to be self-aware or achieve consciousness. Moreover, Tilly (2015) argued that for the sociological psychologists, self-concept emerges out of the reflected appraisal process. The aspect of self-concept has received substantial attention in social psychology which is assumed to be the evaluative part of the self-concept. 
 
2.6.1 Identity theory 
Tilly (2015) has proposed an identity theory on the basis of the self-concept which is part of sociology. Some of the researchers have a cultural view of identity which represents the beliefs, ideas and practices. Identity theory is dependent on a set of principles such as the behaviour of the individuals is classified on the basis of shared responses and the behavioural expectations. The individuals are known to behave in the context of the social structure recognising one another as occupants of position (Tilly, 2015). Moreover, the individuals acting in the context of the social structure recognise one another with regard to the social behaviour.   
 
2.6.2 Digital sociology in the modern era     
According to Bennett and Segerberg (2012) sociologists have studied the internet based forms of communication that affects the social networks such as the chat rooms, online discussion forums especially for individuals relying on social marginalisation. Sociologists were also interested about the concept of virtual reality and its implications on the social interactions. As the internet communication technology has evolved over the years, these have an impact on the social relations and the society overall. Digital sociology has been able to develop as an emergent field with the different ways of thinking that have been developed particularly (Bennett and Segerberg, 2012).  Peters, et al. (2013) argued that digital sociology is mostly dependent on the fundamentals of sociology in a particular way that affects the skillset. The researcher has indicated the fact that the advertising on the social networking site is an effective way to promote company’s offerings. The companies are believed to be beneficial with the social media existence through Twitter and Facebook. The social networking platforms are considered to be the interactive for the marketers and the audience. This in turn has led to the creation of the brand image of the companies in the global market (Peters, et al., 2013). Munar and Jacobsen (2013) has observed brand equity on the basis of the brand awareness and perception of the customers. The sociological aspect is also related to the customer based brand equity which is believed to be most comprehensive and widely accepted by numerous researchers. The customers are expected to develop a brand association which is a positive feeling of the customer towards the brand. 
Munar and Jacobsen (2013) have also commented regarding the purchase intentions of the customers based on the user generated content posted on the social media content and they develop different levels of expectations. The studies have revealed the fact that the males and the females have indicated different purchase intention.  The purchase intention of the customers have been evaluated on the basis of the technology and it was determined that there is an impact of trust on perceived risk (Evans, 2010; Munar and Jacobsen, 2013; Zhu and Chen, 2015). The study has revealed that online shopping is assumed to be convenient but there is an element of trust and risk about the product quality. Trust in online purchasing has been considered as an important component in leading to repeat visitors or creating a community of visitors.  According to Gui-hong and Yu (2015) the growing use of the social media websites is likely to strengthen the interpersonal relationships among the students as they have the scope to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of the newly launched products. The social media platforms are expected to form the virtual communities which enables the users to connect with each other. They have the scope to create their own digital identity while establishing the interactions within the virtual platforms (Gui-hong and Yu, 2015). The previous research has highlighted the fact that the online communities in the social media platforms are formed on the basis of shared interest and the members of the community are expected in socialising with others within the group.  This indicates the fact that the online communities are likely to help the users formulate their own identity within the social media platforms.  
 
2.6.3 Sociological aspect linked to the user generated content 
As per Munar and Jacobsen (2013) the studies have revealed the fact that the media landscape has evolved an increasingly dynamic conglomeration of interactive and traditional media seeking to serve contemporary media. The users are known to be empowered by suitable communicative tools and may interact in different context such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube etc (Munar and Jacobsen, 2013). The researchers have stated the fact that the user generated content (UGC) created within the online communities is characterised by end-user contact at low cost as compared to the traditional communication tools. User inclusion enables the companies to adjust the value proposition along with the user needs (Munar and Jacobsen, 2013; Nagy and Midha, 2014). The user driven initiative taken in the content creation has entrenched the business potential along with the managerial challenges. Gui-hong and Yu (2015) argued that the potential benefit of involving the users in the marketing process proposes UGC as crucial for the companies to manage and be responsive. The studies have indicated the fact that recognising the potential of UGC suggest the managers to identify the effective ways in creating value for the online communities (Gui-hong and Yu, 2015). The importance of UGC is based on the fact that a number of companies strongly use the Web 2.0 tool which is among the top ten most visited by the internet users. For instance, the tourists are known to shape their identities and interact with each other on the digital platforms. Internet is believed to be grounded in techno-meritocratic culture and also the virtual community culture. The social sites that depict digital content that have been created by the tourists are similar to that of the techno-meritocratic culture (Gui-hong and Yu, 2015).   
Virtual community is likely to have an impact on the Tourist Created Content (TCC) which can be classified into two factors such as the trend of free revealing of knowledge and information and the trend of establishing ties with the customers (Gui-hong and Yu, 2015). The system architecture of the website is designed to sore personal data of the tourists which has to be disclosed to the system administrator. Gui-hong and Yu (2015) stated that the growing importance of the TCC highlights two important issues that is its relationship to traditional word-of-mouth and the impact on the globalisation tendencies. Interpersonal relationship among the users is strengthened on the basis of online feedback mechanisms which enable to create e-WOM network in which the individuals are known to share information on various topics (Tilly, 2015). Tilly (2015) indicated that the internet users are known to share their experiences of purchasing the online air tickets which would help the customers to make rational decisions. TCC involves different types of creative media content that are produced as well as published through the web in order to influence the customers (Tilly, 2015). The airlines companies are expected to share suitable content regarding the airlines tickets that are sold online. This in turn is expected to have a positive impact on the purchase intentions of the young students who have the tendency to travel frequency for pursuing their higher studies (Brogi, et al., 2013). It can be stated that the sociological aspect is evident from the strengthening of the relationships among the social media users on the basis of the user generated content online.             
 
2.7 Research Gap
From the literature review so far, it can be identified that the previous researchers have conducted extensive research on different forms of social media marketing. It has been identified that companies can reach to their customers through social media by way of online advertising, online communities and electronic word of mouth. On the other hand, considerable research can be identified in the fields of brand awareness and purchase intention of customers too. Moreover, scholars like Sawant (2012), Islam and Rahman (2017), Torlak, et al. (2013) and many more have identified strong relationship between different forms of social media marketing (online advertising, online communities and electronic word of mouth) with brand awareness. On the other hand, scholars such as Shahid, Hussain and Zafar (2017), Aberdeen, Syamsun and Najib (2016), Roozy, Arastoo and Vazifehdust (2014) and the like have become successful in developing significant relationships between brand awareness and purchase intention of customers. However, no direct relation between social media marketing and customer purchase intention could be identified. This has implied that different social media marketing tools lead to brand awareness followed by purchase intention. These relationships need to be evaluated with the help of the current research. 
 
2.8 Chapter Conclusion
From the discussion so far, it has been identified that for communicating with the customer base through social media, marketers need to use shared links, posts, photos and videos, information in different public profiles and social contents. There is no denial to the fact that social media has numerous advantages for both start-ups and well established firms. Social media marketing is often used for generating sales volume to the company by way of developing high brand awareness. It is stated by the previous scholars that the market deliverables, with high brand awareness, often generate high sales volume and market share for the firm. It is for this reason that extensive social media marketing strategies are developed and implemented for the generation of market awareness towards a particular brand. This is because; it helps the customers to be acquainted with the brand and recognise the same among several companies offering similar products. With the help of this brand awareness, the marketers tend to ensure positive purchase intention towards their products or services. Hence, the social media marketing strategies are developed in such a way that most of the negative market factors can be nullified and purchase intention of the customers can be enhanced. In this context, effective relationships between brand awareness and different social media marketing tools such as online advertising, online communities and electronic word of mouth have been identified followed by identification of relationship between brand awareness and purchase intention. 
 
Chapter 3: Research Methodology 
 
3.1 Introduction 
This chapter involves the relevant sections such as the research philosophy, research approach, data collection method, limitations and the ethical considerations. The researcher is known to specify appropriate methodology which is used in order to gather data and analyse the appropriate data and determine the final conclusion. Suitable justification is provided by the researchers about the methodology that is applied and the data analysis technique that is used. The ethical considerations would focus upon the strategies that are followed by the researchers so as to gather data efficiently and conduct the analysis in order to meet the research objectives. 
 
3.2 Research philosophy    
There are different types of research philosophies that are followed by researchers such as positivism, realism, interpretivism and pragmatism. This researcher in this case has used the quantitative data from the Chinese students in the UK market. This indicates the fact that positivism is the most effective philosophy that is followed in order to gather numerical data (Mackey and Gass, 2015). It also enables the researcher to conduct statistical tests using the data set so that the results can be inferred and the final conclusion can be determined based on the data. The fact is that the information that is gathered from the society can be tested scientifically. Positivism philosophy is believed to be important because it enables the researcher to test the significance of the data and interpret the results effectively. The researcher has the scope to gather evidence related to the significance of the data and prove it with the help of statistical tests. Positivism approach is followed because it involves a well-defined structure and the positivists consider the fact that since there are a set of laws and rules followed, there would be minimum room for the error. In fact, the positivists believed that everything can be measured and calculated and thus facts can be proved scientifically (Mackey and Gass, 2015). The only limitation of the philosophy is that it cannot be used for qualitative study since the theoretical information cannot be scientifically tested. Hence, it is not applicable in case of logical interpretation. In this case the researcher had planned to use the questionnaire survey method where numerical data was gathered and tested using the SPSS tool.  Along with the positivism philosophy, the researcher is also known to follow the realism philosophy. This is because of the inclusion of the sociological aspect which was studied from the online books and journals. The realism philosophy enables the researcher to interpret the data logically so that this data can be used to support the quantitative data.     
 
3.3 Research approach 
There are different types of research approaches that are used by researchers such as abduction, deduction and induction (Taylor, Bogdan and DeVault, 2015). This approach is also considered as the top-down approach where the research begins with observed data and the final tests are run on the basis of the available data. There are benefits of the deductive research approach because the data can be tested with the help of the statistical tools. There is a possibility to determine causal relationship between the concepts and the variables and the concepts can be measured quantitatively (Silverman, 2016). Moreover, huge data can be gathered by the researcher within a short span of time so that further analysis can be carried out using the data. This approach can be considered as time saving as suitable conclusion can be determined within the given time span (Silverman, 2016). The approach was followed to conduct tests such as demographic analysis, frequency analysis and correlation analysis. Hence, deductive approach is believed to be suitable. The only limitation of the deductive approach is that the entire study has to be conducted within the short span of time. The approach may lead to rejection of the chosen theory. 
 
3.4 Primary data analysis 
The most suitable data analysis method that is used in this research is that of the primary data analysis where data was gathered from the Chinese students in the age group 18-30 years who are pursuing their higher studies in the UK. It is believed that the students in the age group 18-30 years would be more interested towards purchasing air tickets for tourism purposes. The social media platforms are believed to be used by the customers so as to gather additional facts about the purchasing of the air tickets (Flick, 2015). There are certain advantages of the primary data analysis which involves meeting specific goals that are set by the researcher. The primary research can be conducted in a number of ways such as survey, interview and focus groups. However, in this case a survey on the students is believed to be most important because the perceptions of the Chinese students studying in the UK can be determined related to the price of the air tickets offered in advertised in social media market (Smith, 2015). In fact, it can be stated that the researcher is more committed towards gathering of the quantitative data from the students with the help of the survey. The authenticity of the quantitative data is believed to be higher because it is directly gathered from the respondents. The questionnaire survey is believed to be the easiest way because the questionnaires can be easily distributed among the respondents in the international market. In fact, the researcher finds it suitable for using the quantitative data as this data can be used for conducting different tests and interpreting the results of this test. 
 
3.3 Research design      
 
3.3.1 Research method
There are different types of research designs that can be used by the researcher such as the exploratory, explanatory and the descriptive research. The appropriate research approach in this case is that of the descriptive research approach (Smith, 2015). The descriptive research is used so as to describe the characteristics that are involved in the population. This type of research is used in the social science and psychology. In some of the descriptive research approaches, the researcher does not interact with the subject whereas in some other types of descriptive approaches the researcher is known to interact with the respondents so as to gather appropriate data (Smith, 2015). The data is gathered using questionnaires that are distributed to the respondents and they are convinced to fill in the questionnaires. The data is then recorded in the excel sheets and this is then transported to SPSS. Various tests are run using the SPSS tool and the test results are interpreted. The description of each of the test results is part of the descriptive analysis that are conducted by the researcher using the SPSS tool (Silverman, 2016). Furthermore, the significance of the test results were discussed thoroughly by the researcher in order to address the research objectives. The descriptive analysis also depends on the hypothesis that is to be tested and the final conclusion is determined based on the overall analysis that is carried out. Survey method in this case is believed to be part of the descriptive analysis that is undertaken by the researcher where the data is gathered from the Chinese students and the final analysis is done based on the collected data. 
 It can be indicated that the suitable research method is that of the quantitative method where numerical data is gathered on the basis of the survey. Quantitative research is justified because the respondents can shared data related to their purchase intentions of the air tickets. The efficiency of the social media marketing can also be judged on the basis of the responses gathered (Miller, et al., 2012). The questions stated within the questionnaire are provided with options and the respondents are expected to select the appropriate options. These options are provided with suitable codes and the codes of each of the options selected by the respondents are considered as data that can be used for the analysis. The quantitative data can be used for carrying out various tests using the SPSS tool and the research questions can be addressed based on the results of the tests (Miller, et al., 2012). In fact, the quantitative data gathered by the researcher can be easily stored for future so that this data can be used for further research. The only limitation of the quantitative method is that the respondents have no scope to justify their responses and so they may have the tendency to share irrelevant responses. This in turn may lead to error in the data analysis process. The quantitative approach is followed by gathering of data related to the sociological aspect that is collected from the books and journals. This data is logically interpreted so as to understand the relationship developed among the marketing managers and the social media users.  
 
3.3.2 Sampling 
The suitable sampling technique that can be used by the researcher is the purposive sampling where the questionnaires are distributed randomly and the respondents are convinced to respond to these questionnaires (Miller, et al., 2012). The benefits of using the purposive sampling is that data can be gathered from the respondents who are capable of sharing additional information about buying the air tickets online. The sample in this case was 100 Chinese students pursuing their studies in the UK market and all of them in the age group 18-30 years. It is believed that the respondents in this age group are expected to use the social media platforms for buying the airline tickets. The data was gathered from 100 students of Chinese origin studying in the UK by sharing the questionnaires with these students. It was ensured that all the questions were answered by the respondents and the data was recorded in the excel sheet. Therefore, the research found that 94 questionnaires were answered correctly and so these were selected for further analysis. Suitable statistical tests were carried out with the help of the collected data. 
 
3.4 Data collection
 
3.4.1 Using questionnaire 
The questionnaire method is assumed to be appropriate because adequate data can be gathered from the respondents about the purchase of the airline tickets (Miller, et al., 2012). It is believed that the students have the probability of purchasing the tickets because they prefer to travel to different places at the age of 18-30 years. Hence, suitable amount of data can be gathered from the direct individuals. The questionnaires were fully filled in by the customers so that adequate data can be gathered about the purchase intentions of the airlines tickets by the Chinese students in the UK market. Furthermore, the questionnaire method is believed to be most appropriate as the desired number of respondents can be convinced to share the responses. 
 
3.4.2 Questionnaire design 
The questionnaire would be closed ended with each of the questions followed by appropriate options. The respondents were convinced to choose any one of the options and also they had to address all the questions. The questionnaire comprised of some of the demographic questions related to the personal information of the respondents. The other questions were related to the dependent and the independent variables chosen by the researcher. The questions were mostly in the form of Likert scale with the options given as follows.
Strongly Disagree
Disagree
Neutral
Agree
Strongly Agree 
The questions included in the questionnaire were related to the brand awareness and the purchase intentions of the Chinese students. Thus, these questions had an associated with the research objectives. 
 
3.5 Data analysis
This section is believed to be most important because the researcher has carried out appropriate analysis of the collected data. Based on the study, the data was first gathered and recorded in the excel sheets. Then the data was transported to the SPSS tool and a number of tests were conducted. The first test was that of the reliability and then frequency analysis. The correlation and the regression analysis were also conducted and the final conclusion was determined related to the acceptance or rejection of the null hypothesis. Hence, the research questions are addressed on the basis of the interpretation of the test results that have been carried out. The secondary data collected from the online sources are interpreted logically and compared with the facts stated in the literature review. The secondary data is mostly used to support the primary data that has been gathered by the research from the students.   
 
3.6 Ethical thinking
There are certain ethical considerations which the researcher had followed while gathering data. For instance, the respondents were explained regarding the research and has been convinced to share appropriate data (Miller, et al., 2012). The questionnaires are also prepared in simple languages so that these are comprehensible by the respondents. The respondents were also ensured regarding the confidentiality of the personal information that they share (Silverman, 2016). Moreover, the response sheets are preserved for conducting future study on the topic. It is crucial to register to authentic databases so as to gather secondary data from the relevant books and journals. 
 
3.7 Summary and limitation 
The chapter indicates that the researcher has used quantitative research methodology where data has been gathered through questionnaire survey. Purposive sampling technique has been chosen so that the data can be gathered from appropriate respondents (Silverman, 2016). The data was gathered from the Chinese students so as to gather information about the purchase intention of air tickets. The collected data was used to conduct suitable tests and ensure the significance of the hypothesis (Silverman, 2016). However, the limitations of the research indicated that it focused only upon the survey method and there was no scope to justify the information shared by the respondents. Moreover, it was difficult to convince all the respondents to make them share relevant information regarding the research. This affected the time within which the research was supposed to be completed. The research also involved a sociological aspect regarding the social media marketing techniques that have been gathered on the basis of the secondary research.   
 
 
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