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1.0 Introduction

1.0 Background and significance of the paper

In order to sustain in the highly competitive marketplace, the companies are required to develop and implement effective marketing strategies. For ensuring competitive advantages, most of the companies have focused on influencing the purchase intentions of the targeted consumers (McDaniel, 2006). Hence, a lot of research has also been conducted to identify the factors that can stimulate the purchase intentions of the customers. Based on the studies, the researchers have found the importance of brand awareness in controlling the purchase intentions of the consumers. On the other hand, quality of website such as its user friendliness, have helped the companies to attract the customers who prefer online marketing over conventional marketing (Casaló, Flavián and Guinalíu, 2008). This research has intended to investigate the role of brand awareness and website quality to influence the purchase intention of the customers of online air tickets. The research has been focused on the Chinese students who study in the universities of UK.

Based on the research, it has been found that the number of Chinese students migrating to UK for the purpose of higher studies has been increasing at a rapid rate over the recent few years (Gillman, 2015). In figure 1, this increasing trend has been represented. Most surprisingly, the number of Chinese students in the UK is more than the number of migrating students in the entire EU. With this increasing trend of Chinese foreign students in the UK, the demand for airline tickets has also increased. This study has provided an opportunity to investigate the role of website quality and brand awareness to increase the sales of online tickets for the airline companies. Based on the high level of competition among the airlines company in UK, this study can be considered as highly relevant.

 

Figure 1: First year non-UK domicile students
(Source: Gillman, 2015)

1.1 Aim and objectives

The aim of the research is to assess the impacts of website quality and brand awareness on the purchase intention of airline tickets online among the Chinese students studying in the UK.
The objectives of the research are as follows:

  • To identify the factors that help to improve the quality of travel and tourism and also airlines’ website.
  • To evaluate the effectiveness of brand awareness and website quality on the online purchase intention of the Chinese students studying in the UK.
  • To suggest some suitable recommendations for improving website quality so that it can influence the consumer’s purchase decision.

1.2 Research gap and research questions

Not a significant amount of research has been conducted to assess the role of website quality and brand awareness to stimulate purchase intentions for the online airline ticket purchasers. This research has intended to explore this gap.
The following questions have been addressed through this research:

  • What are the factors that improve the quality of tourism and airlines’ website?
  • What are the impacts of website quality and brand awareness of the Chinese students on the buying decision making behaviour toward airline tickets?
  • What are the suggestions to improve the quality of tourism and airlines’ website and brand awareness that helps to influence them to buy tickets online?

2.0 Literature review

In this section of the research, the researcher has discussed the theories and concepts related to concerned topics. Moreover, the researcher has critically evaluated the articles published on this topic. Hence, it can be stated that this section of the research has minimized the gap between research objectives and research methodology.

Figure 2: Research Framework
(Source: Created by the researcher

The proposed framework of the research indicates that the study has investigated how the web quality can persuade brand awareness. As a result, the research has been structured to inspect the connection between brand awareness and purchase intention.

2.1. E-commence

Electronic commerce (E-commerce) is a particular type of business model or a part of large business model that enables the companies to perform business through electronic network such as internet (Harris, et al. 2006). It operates in all four types of market segments such as business to business (B2B), business to consumers (B2C), consumer to consumer (C2C) and consumer to business (C2B). Almost every kind of product and services can be procured through E-commerce that includes books, financial services, flight tickets and so on. According to Casaló, Flavián and Guinalíu (2008), E-commerce has enabled the companies to set up a new market or expand the existing one with a help of more efficient distribution channel. In this context, the example of Target can be provided. This retail firm is successfully operating both its physical store and online stores over the last few years.

One of the major advantage of E-commerce is convenience as it is available 24*7. In addition, Palmatier, et al. (2006) also mentioned that, selection of products and services from a wide range can be considered as a major advantage of E-commerce. On the other hand, E-commerce has often been criticized due to limited customer service, absence of physical time and long delivery time.

2.2. Website quality

In order to attract the customers through E-commerce and ensure customer satisfaction, the quality of the website plays a crucial part (Chang, et al. 2014). However, the website quality can again be segregated into three major components as discussed under.

2.2.1. System quality

Proper functioning of the website is important for making successful transactions in the case of E-commerce; hence, system quality plays a significant role (Balakrishnan, Dahnil and Jiunn Yi, 2014). In relation to this, Pashkevich, et al.

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