Travel Websites Site Speed Benchmark
[This post was originally published on BusinessInsider.com 6/8/2011]
The popularity of booking travel on the Web continues to grow. Travel websites spend millions of dollars to provide consumers with a quick and easy way to make the right travel arrangements. However, many travel websites are slow and frustrate users.
Consumers want websites to be fast. Their broadband connections and smart phone devices have set an expectation for fast site speeds. Slow websites drive consumers to consider alternatives and in the highly competitive travel industry that could mean lower market share, decreased revenues and a poor brand perception. We thought we would look at how fast some of the leading travel websites are. We looked at the website performance of Hertz, Kayak, Southwest, Greyhound, JetBlue, American Airlines, Avis, Enterprise and Amtrak.
The chart below shows the ?time to interact,? which is a standard web performance industry term, simply defined as how long it takes for a web page to load in a browser and the links become clickable. The chart shows each travel company’s home page during the busy travel period before and after Memorial Day 2011.
Looking at the chart we can really tell which companies are taking their websites seriously, and subsequently providing their customers with a good customer experience.
Of the nine major airlines, bus, train, car rental companies and travel aggregators, Hertz has the fastest loading website and Avis is the slowest. Hertz?s website is faster than 95 percent of all websites with a time to interact speed of 1.34 seconds ?and it?s clear they follow and implement the best practices in web performance optimization.
Amtrak and Southwest also seem to value fast websites ? and probably focus on website performance as a competitive advantage. Slow websites like JetBlue, Greyhound and Avis ? are providing their customers with a bad experience ? before their travel has commenced! With a time to interact of more than seven seconds, I am reminded of the old Avis tagline, and think that Avis really does need to try harder to make their website faster.
Making websites faster is not easy, and all website owners should, at the least, assess and monitor their website speed for a better user experience. Hopefully this summer travel web performance benchmark does not indicate a season of travel delays.