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Abstract

The impact of hotel names on the evaluation of the hotels by customers prior to their stay was investigated. In general, hotels were rated higher on attributes consistent with the semantic associations of the name than on inconsistent attributes. This name effect was somewhat reduced—but still strong—when actual feature information was given, when consumers were explicitly told that the hotels bearing different names had exactly the same features, when consumers were provided with testimonials from former hotel guests, when consumers were informed that the name had changed in the past or would change in the future, and when the actual features were in with the image evoked by the name. The results corroborate the widely accepted assertion that consumers use brand names as diagnostic and legitimate search attributes. Most notably, the findings imply that the effects are robust and resistant to elimination. Four hundred clients of a travel agency participated in this research. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.