TRAVELODGE WAGES WAR ON RIP OFF RIVALS
13th Jan 2006
Travelodge has today issued a consumer alert via the national press to highlight misleading advertising by four major hotel companies - Hilton, Marriott, Macdonald and Swallow. The budget hotel chain has also written to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) requesting that they clamp down on this type of adverts that conceal rip-off rates and supplements.
Travelodge has complained that some hotel companies' national press advertising is leading on a 'price per person' and not the total cost the room - the room rate. Consumers are drawn in by cheap headline prices but small print states that the rate is based on two people sharing for a minimum of two nights i.e a £30 deal could actually mean paying £120.
Travelodge's CEO, Grant Hearn said, "We have issued a warning to consumers in a national paper today because we are absolutely sick of seeing these misleading adverts. In some cases, when customers get to reservation stage, they are being quoted four times the headline advertised price. If hotels cannot offer cheap rates they should at least be up front and offer the true cost to the consumer."
Travelodge complained to the ASA in November about a Holiday Inn press advert that led with a per person rate and the complaint was resolved with the company altering their price to room rate. The budget chain is hoping that the advertising body takes a firm stance with these latest examples to clear up consumer confusion.
Grant Hearn said, "We know price is a key driver for hotel customers so it's vital that rates are advertised in a transparent way. We even see hotels offering a free night's stay but only if you pay for dinner - it's confusing and unfair. All hotel companies have a responsibility to be clear on their rates so that customers know what they are paying for."
The Travelodge pricing team is currently compiling a dossier of misleading advertising to submit to the Consumers Association and are keen to discuss how the industry can be fairer on price in the future.