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Online Lodging Website Study Ranks Marriott  #1 Followed by Expedia and
Hotels.com for Online Customer Experience and Service Levels

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Keynote Reveals Results of Three Studies of Online Travel Sites: Airline, Lodging, Rental Car

    * Customer Support is the Primary Driver of Web User Satisfaction
    * Direct Supplier Sites Gaining Ground on Travelocity and Expedia
    * Studies Available for Purchase Now; Detailed Examination of 24 Airline, Hotel and Rental Car Web Sites

SAN MATEO, Calif. - June 10, 2008 - Keynote Competitive Research, the industry analysis group of Keynote Systems (Nasdaq:KEYN), today announced the topline results of a series of competitive research studies examining the online travel industry, including studies of airline, lodging and rental car Web sites. Collectively, the studies provide an in-depth examination of the online customer experience and service levels (responsiveness and reliability) of leading travel sites.

Customer Experience Rankings® for Online Travel Web Sites

There was no single leader that spanned the different travel markets this year. Each travel type had their own unique group of top performers as denoted by the 250+ customer experience metrics measured in each study. 

In the Airline Travel study, among the 11 online travel and airline Web sites examined, Expedia ranked #1 in customer experience followed by Southwest Airlines and Travelocity. 

In the Online Lodging study, Marriott ranked #1 followed by Expedia and Hotels.com. In past studies, Marriott has been the highest ranked site operated by a lodging supplier, however the latest study marks the first time a direct supplier has out-performed any travel service aggregator. 

Travelocity took the #1 ranking in the Rental Car Reservation study, with Budget following close behind as the highest ranked direct rental car supplier.

Keynote Customer Experience Rankings for Travel Web Sites
(Overall Customer Satisfaction and Experience)

#1  Airline Site – Expedia
#1  Lodging Site – Marriott
#1  Rental Car Site – Travelocity

“Keynote continues to see travel service aggregators compete with price & selection against suppliers who have increasingly effective customer support and booking features,” states Stephen Foster, director, competitive research at Keynote. “The lodging market is especially notable for the rise of Marriott and Hotels.com as leaders in customer experience.”

Each of the Keynote Customer Experience Rankings studies examine the online experience of more than 1,800 to 2,000 consumers as they interacted with leading Web sites in the airline, lodging and rental car industries. The studies detail how each site performs versus competitors across key business objectives, including customer satisfaction and customer acquisition, and captures more than 250+ metrics for each site. The study provides competitive rankings in dozens of categories, as well as specific and actionable steps sites can take to improve their online performance, customer satisfaction, brand appeal and customer acquisition.

As a part of the customer experience findings, Keynote’s Competitive Research group conducts an analysis of the drivers behind the users’ decisions. This driver analysis utilizes qualitative, quantitative and behavioral data to identify which aspects of the site experience have the most significant impact on site success. The top success driver for both Lodging and Rental Car sites was Customer Service, while Airline sites were resoundingly driven by Price Satisfaction.

Keynote Driver Analysis Rankings for Travel Web Sites
Top Impact Drivers

 Driver #1  Driver #2  Driver #3
Airline Sites  Price Satisfaction Design / Organization Customer Support
Lodging Sites  Customer Support Trust & Security Booking Process
Rental Car Sites Customer Support Price Satisfaction Quality / Reputation

Service Level Rankings for Online Travel Web Sites

The Keynote Service Level Rankings studies examine the technical performance of leading online travel sites, including site responsiveness and reliability. The studies provide insight into the technical performance of the sites relative to their competitors, as well as detailed data on each site’s performance across seven key measures critical to operational health of an online travel site.

This study series has highlighted varying degrees of service performance problems. “High error and outage rates, major load handling issues and the poorest and most variable overall performance plague the travel segment more than any other vertical Keynote studies,” states Ben Rushlo, senior manager, competitive research at Keynote. In the Rental Car study, there was a very wide variation in search results between sites, with the fastest sites bringing back rental car results within 1.2 seconds and the slowest taking over 20 seconds to return results. Although Expedia and Travelocity routinely exhibit less downtime, and faster responses, they did take a back seat in responsiveness measurements to Jet Blue, Alamo and Marriott in the Airline, Rental Car and Lodging studies respectively.

Keynote Service Level Rankings for Travel Web Sites

Site Reliability
(Indicator of Being Highly Available, 
Low Downtime)
Site Responsiveness
(Indicator of How Quickly Pages 
Loaded, Transactions Completed)
#1  Airline – Southwest Airlines #1  Airline – Jet Blue
#1  Lodging – Marriott #1  Lodging – Marriott
#1  Rental Car – Alamo #1  Rental Car - Alamo

The data and insights provided by Keynote Competitive Research are arrived at through the use of Keynote’s company’s commercially available test and measurement products: Transaction Perspective® for Web site performance measurements and WebEffective™ for customer experience testing. Transaction Perspective mimics the actions of consumers and measures performance from multiple geographic locations, collecting more than 6,500 data points for each site to detail online technical performance. Keynote WebEffective is an on-demand software platform for conducting in-depth user experience research which integrates the best aspects of usability, behavior and attitudinal research.

About Keynote
Keynote Systems (Nasdaq:KEYN) is the global leader in on-demand test & measurement solutions for continuously improving the online experience. As an independent and trusted third-party, Keynote provides IT and marketing executives with an unbiased view into their Internet services from around the world. For over a decade, Keynote has been providing measurement data and testing capabilities that allow companies to understand and improve their customers’ online and mobile experience. Keynote has four test and measurement businesses: Web performance, mobile quality, streaming & VoIP, and customer experience/UX. In addition, Keynote’s industry analysis group called Keynote Competitive Research publishes proprietary studies measuring customer experience and service levels across a wide range of industries.

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Contact:

Keynote Systems, Inc.
Dan Berkowitz, 650-403-3305
dberkowitz@keynote.com
 

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Also See: Hotel Websites Have Much to Do to Increase User Satisfaction and Customer Loyalty; New Report Tracking User Satisfaction and Web Site Performance Now Available / April 2004
New Survey Reveals How Sales and Revenue Managers Handle Internet Marketing and Distribution; 10% of Hotels Still Do Not Have a Dedicated Web Site / February 2006
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