Leading UK travel websites have been found to be struggling to cope with demand, particularly at peak times during the day, meaning they are losing vital revenue.
Software developer TestPlant tested the four top UK travel websites in April undertaking flight searches at five minute intervals from 7am to 8pm.
The results uncovered significant variation in performance, particularly at times when there were spikes in traffic at 11:30am, 3:30pm, and 6:30pm.
Performance varied between 1.5 second and three seconds, leading TestPlant to conclude the best sites are losing 10% of their revenue to competitors and the worst up to 20%.
Antony Edwards, chief technology officer at TestPlant, said: “Clearly you’re going to have some performance reduction due to load, but in some cases, we observed a 50% reduction in performance due to load, which is very high.
“Amazon reports a 1% loss of revenue for a 0.1 second delay, and some of our sites displayed as much as three seconds delay, so that’s going to have a significant impact on revenue.
“Most importantly, we noted that if you rank the four sites based on their median search time, they are exactly in order of revenue. So the website with the best performance is the most successful.”
TestPlant also asked developers and manager in the UK travel sector why they are not performance testing their websites.
Edwards said: “Lots of different points were discussed, but every discussion raised the same core issue – that online travel agents (especially aggregators) are extremely complex at the network protocol-level and so using the typical performance testing approach is just not feasible.
“They are too asynchronous, too multi-threaded, too heterogeneous, and are updated too frequently. Many of the discussions also highlighted that at least 50% of their traffic is from mobile devices and most performance testing tools don’t address mobile.”
TestPlant cited a KissMetrics study that found 51% of mobile internet users say that they have encountered a website that crashed, froze, or received an error.
KissMetrics also estimates 40% of shoppers abandon a website that takes more than three seconds to load.
It claims a one second delay in page response can result in a 7% drop in conversions.
The global online travel industry is expected to generate $483 billion in revenue in 2015 which means that even a second drop in overall performance could see around $93 million worth of business going to competitors every day.