Speed and Reliability Put Sites at Top of Performance Index

By Abelardo Gonzalez, Web Performance Evangelist, Keynote | January 03, 2014

With this month’s Keynote Lodging Performance Index, we are happy to report that Hilton made some site changes which resulted in it moving up from the bottom of the Index. Hilton reduced its home page site size from 1.3 Mbytes to under one, improving the level of reliability, reducing the number of errors and speeding up the home page. No doubt many Hilton customers were happy to see the improved performance over the busy holiday period.
 
But between December 9 and 12 Accor Hotels had numerous performance issues, putting it down at the bottom of the Index. By December 9 it was taking almost seven seconds for the home page to load—well beyond the best practice recommendation of three seconds—and by December 12 numerous errors were occurring with “timeouts” and worst of all, the dreaded “page not found 404” error.
 
For any global, brand name hospitality site, this is simply unacceptable. Not only does it impact immediate customer experience and their ability to research or book accommodations, but it also turns off future visits. Visitors will more than likely avoid the page in the future.
 
Looking closer, JavaScript seems to be causing some problems – specifically the timeouts. But the “page not found” problem points to a basic infrastructure issue.
 
We also took a closer look at how the Content Delivery Network (CDN) was affecting performance; CDN service providers are commonly used by websites to improve performance. Accor is using EdgeCast and it turns out that pages being served by Edge Cast were actually being reliably delivered. It’s the requests to the Accor data center where the problems occurred.
 
Meanwhile at the top of the Index Best Western, Orbitz and Priceline duked it out for top spot with just milliseconds separating their performance metrics. They continue to be consistently in the top three. Just as Accor Hotels can turn off prospective customers with poor performance, so Best Western, Orbitz and Priceline ensure customers keep coming back for a satisfying online experience. In the highly competitive travel industry, delighting your customers with a fast and reliable website quickly translates into return bookings—and a bigger bottom line.
 
 
Note:
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.

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