Associate prof, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management, University of Tehran, Tehran
Assistant Prof, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management, North Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran
social media environment has dramatically changed consumer behaviors and conventional branding approaches and with their communication capabilities have provided a new paradigm and significant change in branding activities and service areas, especially tourism and hospitality services. The present study aims to present a model for online travel agencies in social networks. The grounded theory strategy (Glaser’s apparent approach) is employed to test the model presented. This is an applied and developmental research from the perspective of orientation, exploratory in terms of purpose as well as qualitative and abductive in terms of approach. The data are analyzed using open, selective and theoretical coding approaches. The data are collected through a semi-structured interview. Participants consist of chief executive officers of online travel agencies and professors familiar with tourism and digital branding. In total, 13 participants are selected using purposive and snowball sampling methods and interviewed to achieve theoretical saturation. The results indicate the branding model of online travel agencies in social networks includes 7 main categories, challenges and barriers, environmental conditions, organizational contexts, resources, facilities and inputs, central branding phenomenon in social networks, mechanisms and actions and consequences, each of which consist of specific concepts and codes. The proposed model could prevent the loss of organizational resources and provide a step-by-step guide for the successful implementation of branding in social networks in the field of tourism, especially online travel agencies.