Haven Holidays’ Teletext ad offered four-night family breaks in Yorkshire from £136 but a viewer trying to book one was told that the cheapest available was £218.
Who: ITC and Haven Holidays, Holiday Index,n Holidays, Holiday Index, Holidays by Phone and Worldwide Travel of East Anglia
When: July 2000
It was four "complaint upheld" findings out of four holiday ads in the ITC’s reports of Advertising Complaints for July 2000. Haven Holidays’ Teletext ad offered four-night family breaks in Yorkshire from £136 but a viewer trying to book one was told that the cheapest available was £218. It turned out that high demand had led to all holidays at the advertised price being snapped up in a few days and the viewer in question had called before the weekly update changed the price. With a fast moving medium like Teletext the ITC were surprised updates were not more frequent and Teletext were reminded of their obligations to ensure prompt ad updating.
Holiday Index advertised an all-inclusive Majorca holiday for £219 but when a viewer called to book they were sold out. The original ad stayed on air for 8 days after the enquiry. Holidays by Phone mistakenly described a response number in their teletext ad as "freefone" when it was standard national rate, whilst Worldwide Travel of East Anglia’s teletext ad offered "£50- per adult plus 20% discount plus free insurance" asterisked to "Booking conditions apply" and "Selected hols." An enquirer was told there were no discounts if children were included in the booking. The ITC held that such an important condition should have been stated on the teletext screen and upheld the complaint.
Why this matters:
All four cases show how classic errors in communicating offers can lead to trouble.
Holiday/travel advertisers must ensure that significant restrictions on availability of offers are flagged up in all advertising material and that, particularly in a teletext context, delay or unavailability of product leads swiftly to copy changes.