The advertisement which appeared through a Google search for the G Hotel offered the following information:
“5* The G from €97 - Best Rates in Galway for 25 Sites - Trivago.ie
Ad www. trivago.ie/theG-GALWAY
5* The G Hotel from €97”
The complainants, The G Hotel, said that Trivago were falsely advertising rooms through their website ‘from €97’ for their hotel. They said the G Hotel is a 5 star hotel that does not have any rooms available for €97, nor is it likely that they will have in the foreseeable future. The said the fake rate advertised by Trivago cheapened their company brand and directed potential customers to click on the Trivago website where they were presented with misleading information, instead of clicking on the G Hotel’s official website where they would be presented with accurate information. The Hotel considered that they were losing business through Trivago’s inaccurate advertising.
The advertisers stated that they had checked the price log for The G Hotel, going back a few months, and when comparing the various rates shown, they uncovered that there was a mismatch between The G Hotel and another hotel. They said that this resulted in the price for one hotel being displayed for The G Hotel. They said that they had corrected their mistake and that it should no longer be appearing in their advertising. They apologised for the inconvenience and said that they would do their best to ensure that this kind of error did not happen again.
The Executive advised the complainants of the above information, however, they responded stating that the error had not been corrected as the advertising was still appearing on Google. They noted that when the Trivago advertisement which provided the €97 rate was clicked on the rate that appeared on the Trivago website was €170, some €73 more expensive then the advertised rate of €97.
The Executive reverted to the advertisers and requested information on what basis the advertised ‘from’ price was selected together with evidence of its availability to customers.
The advertisers said that they had removed and readjusted the price shown for the hotel.
The Executive then conducted research through Google and noted that the rate for the G Hotel advertised on Trivago’s website was a ‘from’ price and had increased from the rate previously advertised.
Conclusion: Complaint upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint. They noted the advertisers’ initial response in which they had said that the price mismatch was as a result of an error.
The Complaints Committee also noted that while the initial advertisement had been amended, they were of the view that consumers were likely to have been misled by the pricing contained in the advertisement. Accordingly, the Complaints Committee concluded that the advertising was in breach of Sections 4.1, 4.4, and 4.9 of the Code.
ACTION REQUIRED: The Committee told Trivago that they should not advertise rates for hotels unless they were in a position to demonstrate that the advertised rate was available to book.