TrafficDefender and BigCommerce announce new partnership

Netacea is pleased to announce a new partnership between its enterprise-grade virtual waiting room TrafficDefender, and leading eCommerce platform BigCommerce.

The partnership will allow retailers using the BigCommerce platform to implement TrafficDefender’s virtual waiting room quickly and easily, optimizing web traffic throughput and protecting against outages.

Go viral for the right reasons

BigCommerce gives online retailers the power to focus on building their brand, ramping up reach and accelerating success. It’s a one-stop shop with all the tools needed to market, sell and fulfil orders seamlessly.

But with quick growth comes risk. All it takes is one shoutout from an Instagram or TikTok influencer for a flood of sudden attention to take a website down unexpectedly. And then there’s high-traffic events like Black Friday to prepare for.

Such high-profile events can overwhelm and slow down websites unless they are adequately prepared. Even a one second delay in page load time causes 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions.

Some of the world’s best-known retailers call on TrafficDefender’s virtual waiting room to help maximise their ROI and maintain excellent customer experience during such times, when any downtime could spell disaster.

An all-in-one eCommerce solution

TrafficDefender’s latest partnership with BigCommerce allows retailers to remove the risk of outages and poor customer experience during peak sales events. Getting set up with a fair, unskippable online queue system is straightforward, and offers excellent customisation with white-labelled design as standard.

Get started with BigCommerce and TrafficDefender

Don’t back down from pushing your brand out to the world. With TrafficDefender and BigCommerce, ensure your site is ready to reach new heights of success without fear of costly website crashes.

Learn more and register for a free demonstration today.

International travel resumes in UK: Are tourism sites ready?

Holiday restrictions are somewhat confusing and ever changing. The destinations are limited and the flights and hotels more expensive than usual. Yet the first chance for an international holiday since the start of the Covid pandemic has drawn an incredible amount of interest from British tourists this week.

But this is only the first phase of the travel industry’s recovery, representing just one nation’s approach. There is a long way to go yet.

In 2019, tourism was worth $9.2tn to the global economy. This fell to $4.7tn in 2020. It may take years of constantly adapting business models for the travel sector to fully recover.

Bookings are still far below a normal year, yet because of England’s traffic light system restricting where we can go and under what terms, demand is very focused. While many European countries may have to wait months to welcome Brits, “green light” destinations like Portugal are enjoying a boom in tourism.

After a year of extremely limited trading, travel and tourism businesses must do everything in their power to maximize profits. In one such example, with no more landing slots available at Portuguese airports, Tui has doubled passenger capacity by replacing its usual Boeing 737s with Dreamliners on these routes.

Find out more in our live webinar: Are Holiday Websites Ready for the 2021 Booking Bonanza?

The travel industry comeback remains hard to predict

Many in the travel industry know that this week marks an important milestone as members of the public dip their toes and start going abroad once again. Planning is limited as any lifting of restrictions is reliant on uncontrollable factors, which vary from country to country.

In the meantime, operators are looking for ways to control what they can and support a sustainable growth back to full strength as more destinations become viable.

Here are some predictions for the 2021 travel landscape:

Those who do travel will be willing to spend more

Barclays recently reported that Brits have more money than ever stashed away in savings accounts, predicting an economic boom. A survey from Scott’s Cheap Flights indicated that many would-be tourists plan to spend what they saved by not travelling last year on taking a bigger trip away this year. Thomas Cook revealed than 85% of 2021 bookings to date were for four- and five-star hotel accommodation, up from 50% in previous years.

These figures imply that those who are choosing to travel in 2021 are spending significantly more money on tourism than usual.

Demand will be focused as specific destinations become available

In 2021, the world is no longer our oyster. There are very limited options for travellers currently, and the gradual lifting of restrictions will be staggered and uncoordinated across destinations.

We already saw a huge influx of demand and prices subsequently pushed up as Portugal was announced as being on England’s green list. As more destinations go “into the green” we can expect a rush of demand for flights to each.

Not everyone will be willing to board aeroplanes

While those in the airline industry will breathe a sigh of relief to see flights resuming, there is still a divide between those keen to board post-Covid flights and those who are still uncomfortable traveling by air.

In a recent internal survey, Netacea staff said they were more likely to travel for a holiday via their car than via planes or public transport.

This means that demand is likely to continue to grow for domestic holiday venues in response to the same changes affecting international travel. These businesses must also prepare for the rapidly changing holiday landscape.

How this affects online bookings

Online travel bookings are just as unpredictable in their volume and velocity as the rest of the industry at present. An unexpected pandemic announcement by the government can flood travel sites with visitors looking for information or wanting to make bookings before things change.

There is such a thing as too much web traffic at once however, if web infrastructure is not correctly configured. Should servers start to struggle to keep up with an influx of user requests, web page load times could be hampered; even a one second delay in page load time causes 11% fewer page views, a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction, and 7% loss in conversions.

There can be even more serious consequences such as errors and outages, in which case visitors are likely to go straight to a competitor site.

Maximizing bookings with a virtual waiting room

These unwanted consequences of erratic traffic patterns can be controlled using a virtual waiting room. By placing excess visitors into a fair online queue, those using the site can browse and book unimpeded, delivering the optimal user experience even at peak times.

TrafficDefender provides a white-labelled virtual queue page so our travel and tourism clients can deliver an excellent experience even to those who do have to queue. Queued visitors can read up on the latest Covid guidelines or view photos and videos of their dream destination and hotel.

We also advise keeping queued guests informed of their estimated wait time and queue position, so expectations are always managed smoothly.

Want to know more about how virtual waiting rooms can help travel websites optimize revenue in uncertain times? Join our upcoming webinar for an in-depth panel discussion on Thursday, May 20th at 4pm BST: Are Holiday Websites Ready for the 2021 Booking Bonanza?

Contact us today to arrange a free demo to learn how TrafficDefender is helping travel sites keep holiday bookings under control in 2021.

How an Expertise in Bot Management Leads to More Intelligent Online Queuing

Online events such as product launches and sales attract higher than usual traffic, both from genuine customers and from bots. Servers can quickly become overwhelmed, potentially causing issues like website crashes and slowdowns.

TrafficDefender’s virtual waiting room can control the flow of traffic into the website, but online queues can also be targeted by bots.

What are bots and what harm can they do?

Bots, or automated traffic, account for nearly 50% of all web traffic today. They can launch business logic attacks that cause harm to websites and users, as well as quickly clogging up servers and slowing websites to a crawl.

Specialist tools and expertise are needed to block unwanted bots whilst allowing the right kind of traffic through.

Can a bot beat a queue?

Virtual waiting rooms are targeted by bots just the same as other websites. Once a bot has made it through the queue to the target site, they will carry out their attack. For example, scalper bots will snap up limited stock items for resale before genuine customers are able to.

Other bots will simply sit in the queue until they reach the front, before passing back control to a human.

Under certain circumstances, specific “good” bots may be allowed to bypass a queue to carry out their tasks on the website. For example, the functionality of Google crawlers or uptime checkers would be compromised by being placed into a queue, therefore they are whitelisted to allow immediate entry to the target website.

However, harmful bots will aim to side-step the queue by masquerading as a “good” bot or whitelisted user to carry out attacks like:

Even bots that can’t bypass online queues can still create a “denial of queue position” situation, which is similar to the common bot threat of “denial of inventory”. Bots will flood the queue, extending wait times to excessive levels, making it harder for genuine customers to get through and make purchases.

Read more detailed information about bots on the Netacea website.

Keeping bad bots at bay

TrafficDefender helps businesses protect their websites at times of peak traffic. Such events also attract malicious bot traffic.

Unlike any other virtual waiting room provider, TrafficDefender works closely with a Forrester-recognised leader in bot management to offer a solution. Netacea uses advanced machine learning and AI to monitor all web traffic, detect bot activity and protect businesses and their customers against automated threats.

Netacea and TrafficDefender can be managed through one online portal, allowing you to analyse bot traffic and control virtual queues all in one place. This puts you in full control over bot traffic and uptime during peak traffic events.

If you are interested in learning more about how bot management and virtual waiting rooms can work together, contact our team and we’d be happy to help.

Is the Staycation Industry Ready for a Boom in 2021?

From PlayStations to staycations, demand for anything to distract us from the pandemic is causing websites to struggle.

It is well known that problems can occur when people flock to the same website at once. Slow loading pages, broken functionality and crashed websites deprive customers of their desired items, and businesses miss out on sales.

The double-edged sword of huge demand in internal tourism is set to hit leisure, travel and hospitality businesses hard in 2021. What can they do to prepare?

What is a staycation?

Simply enough, a “staycation” (a portmanteau of “stay” and “vacation”) is a holiday where vacationers stay within their home country, perhaps going to the countryside or coast. As well as being more economical and eco-friendly than flying across continents, internal tourism has spiked in popularity in the last year due to concerns and bans over international travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sudden demand for staycations

ONS figures show that the pandemic hit these leisure, travel and hospitality businesses hardest, with turnover dipping to 9.3% of their February levels in May 2020.

There was a short reprieve for the leisure industry in the summer of 2020 as some local restrictions were relaxed, leading to a short boom in demand, but this was soon shut down by further restrictions as the second wave of COVID-19 struck.

Members of the public are eager for a well-earned holiday after over a year of lockdowns. With the (provisional) end to all restrictions expected in the UK on June 21st, and the government imposing fines of £5,000 for anyone leaving the UK for a holiday, an even bigger staycation boom is expected this year. This presents a difficult yet very welcome challenge to hotels, resorts and leisure complexes across the country looking to recoup lost business from the pandemic.

Making the most of opportunity in the hospitality industry

As holidaymakers seek out UK-based destinations, resorts have a unique opportunity to gain new customers who could return year after year if their experience exceeds expectations.

Good first impressions are crucial. The online booking experience needs to be seamless, despite the expected flood of interest and web traffic. If the booking platform is slow, buggy or even crashes, most would-be visitors will simply go elsewhere.

One of TrafficDefender’s clients, a well-established domestic holiday provider, has set an excellent example for others in the industry by ensuring that their online booking platform, as well as their resorts, are ready for this spike in demand.

Providing an excellent customer service throughout the journey, from a smooth online booking experience to saying “see you next year” as happy guests leave the resort is key to their strategy.

However, it is not just the larger businesses and attractions that should expect a massive increase in interest. The BBC reports that many smaller or independent holiday destinations within the UK have been inundated with bookings.

These smaller destinations must make up for losses in 2020 whilst ensuring this year’s customers will happily return and recommend their trip away to friends and family.

Be prepared for peak web traffic

TrafficDefender provides a ready-to-go solution for coping with peak web traffic, no matter how large or sudden the demand.

By offloading excess traffic to a virtual waiting room away from your booking system, we provide your customers with a fair first-in, first-out virtual queuing experience. This ensures every visitor gets a chance to make their booking whilst protecting your website against outages or technical problems.

Book a demo of the TrafficDefender virtual waiting room today or read more about our solution.

How Can Covid Vaccination Booking Sites Avoid Crashing Despite Overwhelming Demand?

No vaccine in history has been researched, developed and approved as rapidly as for Covid-19While this scientific feat is an incredible achievement and a huge relief to millions around the world, it presents a new challenge – ensuring the vaccine is now distributed in a fair and accessible way across the global population as soon as possible.

This is a huge problem in the US especially. Unlike countries where vaccines are being delivered by one central organisation (in the UK’s case, the NHS), the American healthcare system is decentralised from the government level to the state and county level, and in some cases all the way to individual hospitals and clinics.

Due to the incredible demand, the limited supply of vaccine shots in each area are snapped up as soon as they become available. Creating a fair system in this situation is challenging in its own right, but this has been made even more difficult by the limitations of the technology currently in place.

Technology unable to the meet demand

The US government has provided no unified platform for allocating vaccination appointments, leaving each individual healthcare provider to deliver its own solution.

Because of the unprecedented speed at which the vaccine was approved, these technology teams were not given much notice to prepare systems capable of serving so many people.

Given the increased risk the virus poses to the elderly, who may be less tech-savvy, it’s important for these systems to be uncomplicated, reliable and fair to make the vaccine accessible to those who need it most. Unfortunately, in many instances this has not been the case, leading to frustration, disappointment and exasperation.

Massachusetts COVID 19 vaccine website down again. #COVID19 #Massachusetts way to go @MassGovernor

— andada (@andada) February 18, 2021

The process is so difficult to fathom that entrepreneurial individuals have built independent tools such as TurboVax to manually centralise available appointments for their local areas.

It is unsurprising that many local healthcare services have struggled to provide a robust solution to citizens. Many systems have either been repurposed beyond their capabilities, or immature solutions have been pushed out in a hurry to meet very tough deadlines.

Supporting IT teams under siege

The – typically small – regional healthcare IT teams often consist of generalist staff who are not equipped to build systems capable of handling the sudden crushing wave of traffic hitting these sites. One website covering vaccinations in Boston reported a surge of 70,000 requests per minute – a dramatic increase from their usual 1,000 per minute.

As a result, there are reports of websites immediately crashing under the sheer volume of traffic as soon as the booking page is shared to the community they serve. The urgency of wanting to secure a vaccination, either for oneself or a vulnerable relative, means users continually refresh pages and flood other local county websites with requests simultaneously. This makes it even less likely these sites will be accessible.

Getting in line, online for a Covid vaccine

Generally, the US technology community is very well versed in cybersecurity with many solutions available. However, this problem is distinct from a malicious attack by hackers.

Every website has a limit to how many visitors it can serve simultaneously, after which the site will buckle and crash. This is usually associated with events like Black Friday for retailers or popular concerts for ticketing websites, but it applies to any situation where demand suddenly spikes for anything online.

Because regional healthcare providers are unlikely to be able to dramatically scale up their infrastructure in a cost-effective and technically proficient way, especially at short notice and given these extreme surges in traffic, an excellent way to protect vaccine websites against overwhelming traffic and ensure a manageable flow of visitors is by utilising a virtual waiting room.

Virtual waiting rooms, such as those provided by TrafficDefender, give the ability to place website visitors into a fair “first in, first out” queue as they attempt to enter the website. Each visitor is given their position in the queue and an estimated wait time. Once they reach the front of the line, they are allowed into the website to make their booking.

By using a virtual waiting room, vaccination websites can offload traffic into a secure system built to handle the volume of traffic comfortably before drip feeding users into their own system at a pace it can handle. This ensures everyone using the site gets a fair chance to make their vaccination booking.

Is your Covid-19 vaccination booking website getting overloaded with traffic?

TrafficDefender is a well-established, tried and tested solution trusted by some of the world’s largest retailers, ticketing businesses, travel sites and government agencies to keep their websites protected against failure during massive spikes in demand.

Whether you are US based or otherwise, we are ready to help and our solution is quick to implement on any website. Read more about our virtual waiting room and online queuing product or get in touch to find out more today.

TrafficDefender helps businesses cope with shoppers’ Covid-19 lockdown demand

TrafficDefender, powered by Netacea, puts the power to control online traffic in the hands of your organization, with enterprise-grade queue technology.

We take a secure, DNS-based approach to queue technology, that protects against queue jumpers who bypass other JavaScript-based solutions to ensure that essential amenities are available to the public 24/7, no matter how busy the website becomes.

Providing a fairer online user experience

At TrafficDefender, we value fairness and transparency, that’s why we created a virtual waiting room solution that gives your business complete control of your website traffic. Our technology enables you to determine your own limit to the number of concurrent visitors on your site, guaranteeing website availability no matter how long customers remain on your site.

TrafficDefender, which has already been rolled out by organizations throughout the UK, US, EMEA and Asia, sits in front of your website to protect the entire technology stack with a secure, fair and non-bypassable first-in-first-out queue that guarantees the flow of traffic even if the volume exceeds capacity.

TrafficDefender in action

Virtual waiting room for the public sector

Implementing TrafficDefender enabled a European government providing financial aid to hospitality businesses, to remain available for the 20,000 organizations queuing for the service on a website that typically has capacity for 200 companies registering at once.

Virtual waiting room for retail

During a period of unprecedented traffic, a large UK retailer used TrafficDefender’s “VIP” queuing functionality to both provide dedicated access to its customers with previous orders in place and, allow key workers to access its website ahead of the queues or within specific timespans.

Andy Still, co-founder and CTO at TrafficDefender and Netacea, stated:

“For many organizations, this technology has never been more critical as they seek to accommodate unprecedented levels of traffic throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, and ensure customers can access critical services.”

Jeremy Gidlow, co-founder and CEO at TrafficDefender and Netacea, said:

“Over the last six weeks, we have been working hard to ensure that retailers, grocers, governments and public services are available. TrafficDefender provides an essential solution to businesses that need to stay online during surges of traffic.”

Download the Black Friday Guide 2020 and learn more on how you can guarantee website uptime during peak traffic periods.