Performance bytes: how TUI Group improved website performance

Getting customer insight is vital for any company, and the recent 2017 European Digital Travel Summit showed just how optimising a website is vital in doing this

Website Performance Customer Insight

Decreasing TTFB (time to first byte) is often used in the online space as a good measure of performance improvement. TUI were able to decrease TTFB by a whopping 80%

TUI Group – the largest leisure, travel and tourism company in the world – excel in their website performance capability, and will be used as the case study for this article.

Faster performance and better security have helped TUI Group to drive both greater conversions across web and mobile, while protecting against malicious traffic and bots.

>See also: Digital transformation is ‘changing the role of the website’

A household name, TUI has several leading travel brands across Europe including Thomson, FirstChoice, Falcon, Crystal Ski, Thomson lakes & Mountains, Gulliver sports travel, Holiday hypermarket and many more.

Challenges which first influenced the company to look for a better performance, included areas such as poor existing web delivery performance, a requirement to standardise on content delivery for all the TUI companies, poor service from existing providers and consistent high costs – not just on subscription but also on lack of synchronisation.

Like all travel companies, TUI have a huge inventory of digital assets, particularly images (just think of the amount of pool and palm tree photos you see on travel sites), which all take up a huge amount of space.

To deal heavy images while at the same time NOT degrading the customer experience, TUI use advanced compression, adaptation and transcoding capabilities, allowing for maintaining superior performance, and thereby end user experience. This gives TUI the flexibility to have no restrictions on image types, volume or size.

>See also: 3 things that can be learnt from a web outage

Decreasing TTFB (time to first byte) is often used in the online space as a good measure of performance improvement. TUI were able to decrease TTFB by a whopping 80%.

Speaking of which, it’s often difficult to precisely equate a revenue figure to the impact of better performance and end-user experience.

Instart Logic is quoted as a contributing factor to increasing conversions by north of 10%. Additional metrics the team tracks include an improvement on TUI’s main site by an average of 2 seconds per page and on the operational front, TUI were able to save money by reducing their internal bandwidth consumption by about 40% which helped make sure there was no risk of site outage due to unexpected or excessive load.

One great piece of context is that TUI have now rolled this capability out to multiple brands and geographical markets in the TUI portfolio.

>See also: One size doesn’t fit all: website testing must be tailored individually

Artificial traffic is a real pain for the travel industry when you look at areas such as “screen scraping” and the “clogging up” of bandwidth – and its associated compute usage.

Whilst some “Bots” are good bots, e.g. partner companies, most artificial traffic is unwanted. Using Instart Logic’s “Bot Defence” capability has allowed TUI to tackle this problem and make reductions in both bad traffic and in compute requirements.

 

Sourced by Andrew Bartlam, VP EMEA, Instart Logic

 

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