Website design is a crucial element to instantly evoke a customer's interest and communicate the desired message in the clutter of internet sites available. Various research to date indicates that design is most successful when it projects considerable social presence, social presence being the impression that an individual is a part of a communication process. According to Social Presence Theory, the larger the social presence in the medium the better the human connection, and thus the better the communication and understanding. This was tested on an actual web page in the realm of luxury hospitality marketing to see if by using lifestyle images (socially-rich content) as a large part of the design, the potential visitors would find the site more favorable and understand what the website offers. Using travelers of a very similar profile to the company' guests as respondents, and using mixed methods approach, the survey revealed that respondents preferred the image with human presence over the one without, while content analysis and coding indicated that they could more clearly identified what was the website’s offering.

Publication Date


Document Type

Master's Project

Student Type

- Please Select One -

Degree Name

Service Leadership and Innovation (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Department of Service Systems (CAST)


Jennifer Matic


RIT Croatia