We noticed some impressive improvements over the past month from Motel 6 and Westin, right after the July 4th holiday. Probably a good idea, as summer vacations are in full swing. But while the improvements pushed Motel 6 up the index from 18 to 13, Westin actually remained at the 18 position.
This month, the Keynote Lodging Performance Index took a closer look to see what was happening behind the scenes and to see why sometimes improvements don’t improve performance.
Interestingly Motel 6 added more objects – going from 235 to 250 - but avoided adding to the number of bytes downloaded. We see some site optimization for Motel 6, with significant improvements with its “time to interact” or fully load its site. This is the time it takes before a user can start interacting with a site such as logging in or clicking on an item. In particular we saw a big reduction in the amount of third party content.
So despite the number of objects increasing, we saw performance times drop. They went from an average of six seconds at the beginning of the month to approximately four for total download time, and from five to four seconds to time to interact.
Since page construction did not play a major role in this optimization, network improvements and better CDN strategies may have been used to improve overall performance
Westin reduced the number of objects and bytes downloaded, shrinking its site from three megabytes at the beginning of the month to two megabytes. It reduced the number of objects from 236 to 185. These improvements cut the total time to load from six to just under four seconds.
But, this had little effect on the “time to paint” or “time to interact”. These two metrics are highly influenced by objects that load at the beginning of the page, therefore improvements in design that focus on objects that load after the browser’s “OnLoad” event don’t impact these metrics.
When sites integrate performance at the core of their design, they can better adapt to changes in the market. For the lodging sites, the busy summer travel season and the 4th of July holiday can put additional stress on their sites. A way to mitigate any surprises with seasonal visits is to Load Test your site from outside the firewall to ensure the infrastructure is prepared to accommodate all your visitors.