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Principal Hotel Company panned for ‘misleading' room pictures

30 May 2018 by
Principal Hotel Company panned for ‘misleading' room pictures

Principal Hotel Company (PHC) has been criticised for using "misleading" guest room pictures on its website.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it was not clear that some of the rooms at the company's De Vere Horsley Estate were in a separate building from the manor house pictured on the home page.

The ASA noted that the website featured the headline "De Vere Horsley Estate. A striking 19th-century mansion house in the heart of the Surrey countryside" alongside a large photo of the mansion house. In the absence of additional information to indicate otherwise, the ASA said guests would probably be expecting to stay in the mansion house advertised.

PHC said the website's booking engine clearly stated where each room type was located (the Towers or the adjacent management centre, Horsley Place) and in the first line of the room description if a room was "located within our adjacent training centre".

The company said that its image gallery showed other areas of the estate with appropriate image descriptions. It said it would add an additional qualification to their home page: "When it's time to unwind, our collection of modern bedrooms await, whether you choose to stay in the historic towers or the contemporary Horsley Place."

During the investigation PHC also agreed to amend its advertising to include bold text alongside each of the room listings and on the website's booking engine stating the room locations.

However, because most photos on the website were of the mansion house, with no external photos of Horsley Place beyond a bird's eye photo and limited indication that some guest rooms were not located in the mansion house, the ASA concluded the advertising was likely to mislead and PHC was told to prominently state if rooms were not in the mansion house.

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