The Need for Speed: Can Your Travel Website Keep Up?

There are many factors that make the usability of a website remarkable, but a crucial aspect that’s often overlooked is speed. A recent Google study showed that 40% of people will wait no more than 3 seconds before abandoning a travel website. That means you have 3 seconds to ensure your content appears before you lose 40% of your potential income.

Three seconds before they abandon

Unfortunately it is still common to see travel brands sacrifice page loading time in favour of adding fancy functionality, gadgets and gizmos. I’ve worked with many marketers, business owners and even CEOs that spent too much time arguing over which TripAdvisor widget to display and not enough time improving their booking process.

Accommodation business? Consider this: speed is one reason why online travel agents (OTAs) like Booking.com, Expedia and Hotels.com are stealing more and more of your direct bookings. We are all too quick to focus on the “whizz-bang” and all too slow to consider what our audience actually want – to get in and get out. In today’s world, people no longer just want instant gratification, they expect it.

And that’s without even mentioning the effect speed has on your SEO.

Taking Action To Improve Speed

If you are a small business, it may seem daunting trying to keep up with the big guys, but here are some starting points.

1. Measure your pagespeed

There are free tools to help you track your site’s pagespeed, for example:

Make sure you give consideration to both desktop and mobile devices.

2. Start with your booking engine…

Your booking funnel has the biggest need for speed. Many small travel businesses use a third party provider for their booking engine, which means you have two choices – talk to your provider to see what they can do to improve the loading time or find an alternative that offers a quicker experience.

3. Then focus on your main landing page(s)

In particular, your homepage. Talk to your web developers about what steps they can take to improve the speed – a good place to start is Google’s own tips here. Again, make sure you pay attention to mobile.

4. Look at your hosting environment

A reason for a slow website may be how it’s being hosted. Talk to your hosting company about whether there are any improvements they can make and how much cost is involved.

Still sounds like an effort? Read Kissmetric’s infographic about loading time.

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