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The study was based on exploring if succession planning was considered as a strategic for branding Zimbabwean Small and Medium Tourism Enterprises (SMTEs) beyond COVID-19 pandemic. It adopted a sequential mixed method starting with a qualitative research followed by a quantitative research. Qualitative research helped in establishing themes which constructed a survey questionnaire for a further quantitative research. Results informed that SMEs operating in Zimbabwe’s tourism industry have not been considering “succession planning” as a tool for brand survival and that it is difficult for these businesses to survive beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic. The study recommended that the SMTEs in Zimbabwe must consider succession planning for brand vibrancy through formalising structures and functions, delegation of branding related tasks and mostly branding should be treated as a business strategy. These will then develop some related activities within these organisations in order to improve on brand sustainability such as talent management, trainings, stakeholder involvement in brand formulation, career path development and applying brand awareness strategies.
Keywords: Destination branding; brand sustainability; small to medium enterprises; succession planning; COVID-19