The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK has ruled Holiday Inn Express advertising of ‘free breakfast’ is misleading in the InterContinental Hotels Group television commercials and the hotel brand’s website. IHG website and television advertising must remove the word ‘free’ according to the ASA ruling.
I know there is somewhat of a language barrier between US American English and UK British English, but we both speak English don’t we?
Free, complimentary, inclusive…they all mean the same thing in the context of hotel advertising, right?
Apparently not in the UK.
‘Free’ is the banned word in this case.
The case before the UK Advertising Standards Authority claimed Holiday Inn Express stating breakfast is ‘free’ at the hotel is misleading advertising.
USA Holiday Inn Express website.
UK Holiday Inn Express 2014 TV ad
IHG claimed the Holiday Inn Express breakfast is free since there is no additional hotel charge for guests to eat breakfast.
‘It is not possible for a guest to book a room that was exclusive of the breakfast. If a guest did not take breakfast, they would not obtain a reduction on their bill.’
The Advertising Standards Authority stated this meant breakfast is inclusive and not free. Since it is not possible to book a room exclusive of breakfast, then breakfast is ‘inclusive’ as a package rate and not free.
‘We do not consider the provision of breakfast to be an additional benefit that had recently been added to the hotel stay.
‘We considered that the hotel room rate was inclusive of the breakfast, regardless of whether guests chose to take the breakfast.
‘Therefore, we concluded that the claims “we give you a free breakfast” and “free breakfast” were misleading.’
The ads must not appear again in their current format and future ones must not describe breakfast as ‘free.’
UK Daily Mail June 18, 2014 – There’s no such thing as a free breakfast (if it’s already included in the room), watchdog rules as Holiday Inn TV commercial banned
Remember the next time you eat those little cheesy omelets with biscuits and gravy, the breakfast is ‘inclusive’ at Holiday Inn Express, not ‘free’.
Now it is time for me to watch again (‘rewatch’ apparently is not a real dictionary word) San Francisco KQED PBS Mystery episodes of Inspector Morse so I can brush up on my command of the UK English language.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
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