For the week ending February 23, Priceline and Orbitz continue to battle it out for the top spot on the Keynote US Lodging and Travel Sites’ Index. The placement is marked by mere fractions of a second (Priceline at 1.21 to Orbitz’ 1.24 for response time).
The top sites remain steady and demonstrate industry best practices: the optimal use of CDN, reduced third party calls and light design amongst the main attributes. Most have total page sizes under 700 Kbytes.
We also noticed that Hotels.com has been steadily improving its ranking in spite of adding content, making the site heavier. It is now averaging 700 to 900 Kbytes which usually leads to a drop in web page performance. The higher byte size was counter-balanced as we saw some improved optimization, including better use of its CDN, which affected the site performance positively. Hotels.com is also doing a good job of improving the consistency of performance across geographies. Overall, despite heavier pages, it came out ahead with improved response time.
One major brand suffered a big performance drop, from 3.6 to 5.2 seconds. We suspected a third party might be to blame however, upon closer scrutiny it was evident that the slowest elements on the site were in fact content delivered by the group’s brand of properties.
Once again seconds or fractions of a second can make the difference between a good and an average user experience. And satisfied customers equates to revenues. The sites in the index are constantly having to improve to stay on top.
Anyone can also sign up for a free weekly email delivery of the Index. Use it to track how your company’s performance is doing against the competition, or just to follow what some of the major names are setting as performance standards. Keynote runs a large number of US and global Indexes, across a range of industries and government, which many organizations use as the benchmark to achieve their own optimum Web performance.
The Keynote Lodging Performance Index measures and benchmarks the performance of the desktop home pages of the major hotel and travel booking sites from the ten largest US metropolitan areas (Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, DC) on high-speed links attached to key points on the largest US Internet Service Provider (ISP) backbones. Sites are measured every fifteen minutes.