A holiday firm has been criticised for using a generic picture of a hotel to promote packages to Malta.
The Advertising Standards Authority upheld two complaints against Holiday Gems over an advert in the regional press that supposedly showed the Soreda Hotel.
The advertising watchdog found that the image used was a generic one of a building on the island and that the advert was misleading in suggesting the property was on the waterfront when it was not.
The ASA ruled: ”Because we considered that consumers would infer that the photo represented the advertised hotel, which was on a waterfront, and because we had not seen any evidence that the photo was of the Soreda Hotel or that that hotel was on a waterfront, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.”
Holiday Gems said it had received 370 bookings at the Soreda Hotel since July 2012 and had not received any direct complaints.
The Stockport-based company said the photos used were generic images provided by the Maltese Tourist Authority and were used in good faith.
Holiday Gems told the ASA that generic images were used by numerous tourist agencies and did not always indicate the hotel or view.
It felt that, for example, a generic image of London showing Buckingham Palace or Big Ben “did not guarantee that either building would be the accommodation or represent the view from the advertised hotel”.
The ad did not state that the image used was of the Soreda Hotel, the company added.
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