New rules for marketing on websites that affect your listing
Since 1st March 2011 the rules that apply to advertising across all media now apply to marketing on websites too, which has important implications for the information provided in online property adverts on including on HomeAway.co.uk. Therefore, we requested a website audit of our two sites from the Committee of Advertising Practise (CAP). This audit included advice on the proper advertising practises for paid for property listings on our sites.
We strongly encourage you to read these guidelines because if the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) receive a complaint about an advert on a HomeAway UK site, they will treat the property owner as accountable. However, the HomeAway UK site on which the listing appears may also be named in injunction, or possibly held in secondary responsibility, so it is extremely important all advertisers seek to comply with the code in order to help us protect the integrity and reputation of our sites. The report provides advice on the two most frequently appearing issues:
accuracy of information
accurate description of products, availability and prices
evidence must be held for all claims of objective substantiation (i.e. things that can be proved in some way) on the websites, whether implied or direct
The website: relevant rules of the CAP code
Adverts must not mislead. Subjective claims must not mislead the consumer. Obvious exaggerations, or “puffery”
that are unlikely to be taken seriously are acceptable.
Price statements must not mislead. They must relate to the featured product.
Quoted prices must include non optional taxes; VAT exclusive prices can only be given if the majority of customers (i.e. guests in the case of your clients) would not pay VAT.
Describing a holiday home as “superior”
implies a high standard of quality capable of objective substantiation. There is no checklist to measure these standards, but the ASA recommend a “common sense”
approach, for example if you describe your property as luxury customers will expect extra features and facilities.
Do not use leading claims such as “Our apartment has the best view in Majorca.”
Make the claims more conditional and non leading, e.g. “An unrestricted view of the beach”
or “A beautiful view”
Measurements and distances
All measurements, location information and distances quoted on a property advert must be accurate. You must be able to back up your claims with evidence. This is important. The ASA recently ruled against a hotel that claimed to be “just ten minutes away”
from Bristol airport.
If you round distances up or down to the nearest kilometre, you must state that the distances given are approximate distances.
Sales promotions & Travel Deals
When conducting sales promotions, promoters must do so fairly, promptly, honourably and not mislead the customer or cause unnecessary disappointment.
Set out terms and conditions. Include a closing date, how to participate, and restrictions and explain other major factors that would influence a purchaser’s decision.
When promoting a travel deal which is restricted to a limited time, must be clear and prominent. By prominent we mean the condition must be stated near the top of the advert, not just in the small print near the bottom.
For a "from"
price to be acceptable the property must be available at that price for at least 10% of the rental year.
For more help and advise on creating a HomeAway.co.uk advert download our Holiday Home Advertising Checklist for free Download Now