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New Travel Marketing Help Note: Preparing your campaign for take-off

27 May 2010

Airport signAs one of the most dynamic and often turbulent consumer markets to work in, the importance of effective advertising is perhaps nowhere as conspicuous as in the Travel Sector. Assertive marketing strategies have often been employed to great effect, but with travel remaining amongst the ASA’s top 10 most complained about sectors, the pitfalls of advertising in this area are clear.

CAP’s recently published Travel Help Note contains significant revisions to the previous guidance and, having been written in close consultation with the industry, aims to address these potential pitfalls by bringing together, in one document, advice relevant to a broad cross-section of travel marketers.

The Help Note’s expanded scope now encompasses fares, promotions, availability, comparisons of journey times and environmental claims, alongside new dedicated sections for air, rail and cruise travel and travel agent marketing.

As ever, key ASA adjudications underpin the guidance, with demonstrated principles providing a benchmark for future compliance. Take, for example, the use of the word ‘free’; whilst far from being an issue unique to the travel industry, the ASA has considered the use of the term in relation to cut-price journey tickets and has found that when such an offer is dependent on the purchase of something else, such as accommodation or return tickets, it should be qualified (Grand Central Railway Company).  

The new Help Note now also includes a clear steer on “availability” versus “seats sold” data, in order to satisfy the long established 10% requirement for ‘from’ prices. This is an often complex area and we have sought to explain the need for a “reasonably even spread” throughout promotional periods (British Airways), as well as providing examples of what may be considered “significant periods of lower availability”.

Another noteworthy extension of the guidance appears under the heading “Environmental Claims”, with pointers as to what may or may not constitute robust substantiation for comparative and absolute claims (National ExpressEurostar and Finnair).

The sheer breadth of the Help Note indicates the abundance of considerations to be taken into account when preparing a campaign and though extensive, the guidance obviously cannot be definitive, with many issues dependant on context.

The Copy Advice team is best placed to consider individual ads and is on hand to provide free and timely bespoke guidance in this area: contact us on 020 7492 2100 or advice@cap.org.uk.

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