Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
A website for holiday rental company Travelopo, www.travelopo.com, seen on 21 May 2021, featured text that stated “WHERE TO? #1 holiday website on the planet”. Below that were the Tripadvisor logo with an image of four and a half stars and the number “92%”; the Trustpilot logo with an image of five green stars and the number “95%”; the Facebook logo with an image of four and a half stars and the number “93%”; and the HomeAway logo with an image of four and a half stars and the number “94%”.
The complainant challenged whether:
1. the claim "#1 holiday website on the planet” was misleading and could be substantiated; and
2. the ad was misleading, because they understood that Travelopo did not hold the stated ratings on the review platforms listed in the ad.
ResponseRental Republic Ltd t/a Travelopo did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Rental Republic Ltd's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
We considered that the claim “#1 holiday website on the planet” would be interpreted by consumers to mean that Travelopo had the largest turnover of any holiday rentals when compared to their global competitors. However, because we had not seen any evidence to demonstrate that was the case, we concluded that the claim was misleading.
On that point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.33 (Comparisons with identifiable competitors).
We noted that Tripadvisor, Trustpilot, Facebook and HomeAway were all platforms that allowed consumers to review businesses and give them ratings out of five stars. We considered that consumers would understand the star logos and ratings figures shown in the ad to mean that Travelopo held the relevant ratings on those platforms. However, we understood that Travelopo in fact held a rating of three stars out of five on Trustpilot’s website at the time the complainant had seen the ad, and did not hold rated scores on the other platforms stated.
Because the ad gave the impression that Travelopo held the ratings stated on those platforms when they did not, we concluded the ad was misleading.
On that point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), and 3.7 (Substantiation).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Rental Republic Ltd to ensure that they did not to state that they were the number one holiday website globally unless they held adequate comparative evidence. We also told them to ensure that their future marketing communications contained up-to-date scores from third-party review websites. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.