Travel websites should aim for consistency ahead of other performance criteria, according to web optimisation specialist Compuware Gomez.
The firm’s latest travel benchmark for December revealed that Kayak was the most consistent travel site in its “last mile” testing that monitors the end-user experience.
The consistency measure relates to the standard deviation of the response times of successful tests. The goal is to have a low number (in seconds), which indicates how consistent the response time is each time a user visits a web site.
Highly variable response times indicate inconsistent performance that may be caused by poor website performance across diverse geographies, issues with internet peering or an underpowered technical architecture.
Mark Gunn, marketing director EMEA for Compuware Gomez, said: “The more consistent you are, the more viewers are happy.“In retail in general Amazon is not the fastest website out there but it is very consistent. There are lots of things that make up the experience; this is just one of those factors but a very important one.”
The last mile testing also covers Response Time and Availability. The tables show consistent performance from non-holiday and single-sector sites like National Express, Transport for London, Ryanair, booking.com and British Airways.
Full service OTAs performed well across all three factors, particularly Travel Republic who lead the table for Availability and came eighth for Response Time and fifth for Consistency.
Some surprisingly inconsistent results were found for leading sites like Expedia, Thomson, On The Beach and booking.com, along with poor performances from the like of Thomas Cook, Lowcost Holidays and Virgin Atlantic.
Gunn said having a reliable measure of website performance was increasingly important as firms move their servers onto the cloud, relinquishing some control to third party technology providers.
Compuware Gomez has launched a cloud monitoring service which measures all the major cloud providers globally.
Gunn added that with the number of third party applications running on website homepages in Europe now averaging around nine, it was vital that sites were aware if these are affecting performance from the users’ perspective.
He said abandonment rates should be expected to start rising after just two to three second delays and would significantly increase with delays of five seconds or more.