Consumers are increasingly going direct to hotel and airline websites at the expense of online travel agencies.

According to the latest statistics released by web intelligence firm, Hitwise, travel websites continue to take a larger share of visits to websites across all sectors, but this is buoyed by growth in visits to travel suppliers, rather than travel agents.

Speaking at the CIMTIG and Designate co-ordinated debate at this year’s World Travel Market, Hitwise director of research, Heather Hopkins said that the share of total UK online visits taken by travel grew by 8 per cent in October year-on-year, to take a 4.5 per cent slice of all UK visits to the web.

But she added: “Suppliers like hotels and airlines have been fuelling this growth for travel while visits to online travel agents have remained stable.”

Visits to hotel websites grew 18 per cent year-on-year to October 2005, while visits to airline sites grew 17 per cent and to car rental sites grew 16 per cent.

Commenting on the statistics, Designate head of strategy, Craig Hanna said: “That implies to me that people are learning how to use the web better and find what they want.”

Get the full story at TravelMole