Internet savvy travellers are increasingly researching travel agency websites and then booking directly with airlines and hotels, a survey shows.

Internet monitors Hitwise said although website visits to online travel agents remained stable in 2005, visits to hotel and airline websites grew almost 20 per cent.

The US-based company, which daily monitors more than 25 million internet users, said "overall, in both the consumer and business travel markets, there is a big push to book directly with airlines and hotels at the expense of the online agents".

However, Graeme Wood, the chief executive of online accommodation booking company Wotif.com, said he did not believe the trend could be applied to Australia.

He said the US market was very different. "The hotel chains over there are fighting against intermediaries because they have the power to do it ... and the chains have also been paying exorbitant margins," he said. "We entered the market on a very low margin and the hotels here treat us more as friends than enemies, which is exactly reverse of the case in North America."

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