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Advertising watchdog the ASA has upheld a complaint about a claim by holiday rentals site HomeAway that owners could double their enquiries if they also subscribed to Owners Direct.
The ASA was responding to a complaint by a home owner about the claim that was included on the Expedia-owned brand’s website.
HomeAway said its 2012 figures show that home owners on both sites saw on average 132% uplift in inquiries compared to those just on HomeAway.
In response to the ASA probe, the firm said it only claimed owner “can” double their inquiries and its small print made it clear this was not a promise that this would be true in every single case.
HomeAway also provided 2015 figures that showed the average number of enquiries received by owners advertising only on HomeAway was 37, compared with an average of 78 on both sites.
However, the ASA concluded that HomeAway did not provide documentary evidence for the claim and ruled that the advert should appear in its current form without that substantiation.
The ASA ruling said: “The ASA considered holiday home owners who viewed the ad would understand the claim “Owners Direct can double your booking enquiries” to mean that if they subscribed to Owners Direct as well as to HomeAway it was likely that the number of enquiries they received about rental of their holiday homes would double.
“We noted HomeAway’s comments about their figures but they had not provided any documentary evidence to support their assertions. In the absence of evidence to substantiate the claim “Owners Direct can double your booking enquiries” we concluded the ad was misleading.”