Travelodge’s ad campaign disallowed

Monday 29, March 2010


Travelodge’s ad campaign disallowed


Budget hotel chain Travelodge’s campaign comparing its prices to Premier Inn has been banned for being “misleading”.



A national press ad, for Travelodge hotels, was headlined “Travelodge. Big cities. Small prices”. It included a table that compared Travelodge prices with those of Premier Inn.


Premier Inn Hotels challenged whether the ad was misleading, because:


1. they believed the price comparison was not fair and was inaccurate, partly because it was structured so that Premier Inn promotional rates were not included;

2. it did not make sufficiently clear that the Travelodge prices shown included promotional rates;

3. it did not make sufficiently clear that the Travelodge prices applied only to online bookings, and

4. it did not set out how the comparison could be verified.


For its part, Travelodge Hotels said price data for hotels across the UK had been sourced on their behalf by an independent market intelligence provider. They extracted data from Travelodge's website and those of their competitors daily to obtain a total of over 1,300 room prices, including 569 rooms in the Premier Inn chain and 369 Travelodge rooms.


Travelodge also pointed out that small print in the ad stated “Quoted prices are an average of each brands room rates for stays between 7 and 30 days after the date of the price check, using the lowest rates available to book online ... “, which they believed made clear the prices applied only to online bookings. Travelodge said they were not currently running the price comparison press ads however if they did so in future they would include text to explain that a list of the hotels used in calculating the price averages could be obtained by writing to them.




The ASA stated, “We noted the ad made clear the dates the comparison was conducted but considered it did not explain adequately that the average prices stated were likely to be representative only of a comparison between promotional prices and everyday prices; they were not necessarily representative of the savings consumers could generally expect from Travelodge. We concluded that the ad was misleading.”


“We noted Travelodge were willing to amend future price comparison ads to state that a list of the hotels used in calculating the price averages could be obtained by writing to them. We considered however such a list was not likely to be sufficient to provide clear and easily understandable details of how the comparison itself was arrived at. We noted the ad did not set out how the comparison could be verified and concluded that the ad was misleading.”






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