November 3, 2011, 11:51 AM

Site performance for the Alps

Travel site Tiscover.com hiked bookings by 49% after improving site performance.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

Lead Photo

Tiscover.com is a place to go for finding and booking ski trips and other outings to Europe’s multi-country Alpine region. But with about 3 million unique visitors arriving on the site each month from many types of computer devices, operating systems and web browsers, it was tough sledding to manage good site performance and keep all those travelers booking tickets, says Peter Starzacher, technical director of Tiscover. “Performance management for the Tiscover Alpine Portal is a business-critical issue,” he says.

Tiscover, until last spring, had used a number of web site performance monitoring services and tools to check if certain web pages were properly loading. But with visitors viewing about 25 million pages per month, that wasn’t enough to improve customers’ online experience, Starzacher says. “These tools were helpful, but they only allowed us to measure the performance of specific pages, and from various hubs but not from the users themselves,” he tells Internet Retailer.

Innsbruck, Austria-based Tiscover decided it needed a different approach. The travel site in April started using dynaTrace 4, a web application performance management system from the dynaTrace Software division of Compuware Corp.  “Tiscover now generates accurate views of all user experiences and performance of applications with tremendous breadth and depth—including behavior and performance in terms of browsers, bandwidth, speed, transactions and so on,” Starzacher says.

Since deploying new application performane management system, Tiscover has experienced a steady improvement in site performance and customer activity, Starzacher says. That’s led a 49% bump in online bookings between May and July 2011, he says. Site performance and user experience has continued to improve since the dynaTrace deployment, he adds.

The new system provides Tiscover with a new capability to immediately identify performance issues related to any one of its web servers and take remedial action, instead of having to find the source of a problem within a cluster of servers, Starzacher says. It also lets Starzacher and his team drill down into particular problems, he adds. It learned, for example, that some site visitors using particular web browsers in combination with a poor download speed viewed error messages on specific pages of Tiscover.com. “By using the drill-down function of dynaTrace 4, we could easily see the cause of the problem,” he says. “Once we saw the cause, it was quite easy to for us to solve it.”

The new system also has helped Starzacher’s web technology developers show other in-house as well as outside technical people, such as a vendor or consultant, that a particular JavaScript or PHP code was producing a problem with web page performance. “Finding an easy way to achieve a common perspective on code issues and how those issues related to the experience for end-users was a real challenge,” he says. “DynaTrace helped us tremendously with this.”

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