Holiday firms rapped for misleading ads

TENERIFE SUR AIRPORT, TENERIFE, CANARY ISLANDS - JANUARY 17, 2014: A Thomson Holidays Boeing 757 taking off from Tenerife south

Two big travel companies have had their ads banned for making misleading claims about savings.

Jet2holidays sent out an email on January 14 with the subject line 'Psst! Our £100pp sale has started!'. It promised £100 off all holidays and city breaks for three days.

SEE ALSO: How to spot a holiday booking scam


See also: Brits tighten belts when planning this year's holiday



But one sharp-eyed customer that received the email had been told by the firm that the sale had started on January 1 - and it eventually emerged that it had in fact begun on Christmas Day.

In any case, the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) ruled, the '£100 off' claim was pretty meaningless, given the way prices fluctuated from day to day.

"Despite having an appreciation of these price fluctuations, in the absence of further information about the basis of any savings claims made, consumers would be unable to have an informed understanding of whether or not the discounted price constituted a genuine, meaningful saving," it says.

Meanwhile, Tui has also had its knuckles rapped for misleading claims about savings.

Websites for the company's First Choice and Thomson brands offered deals on hotels in August, promising discounts of £162 and £180 per person - but didn't make it clear that these 'savings' were simply the difference between the company's online and in-store prices.

Both companies have been ordered to pull their ads.

It's by no means the first time that travel companies have been caught out making misleading claims about savings - last year, for example, we reported on a very similar ruling against a Tui ad that promised 'up to 27% off' holidays in Mexico.

Again, fluctuating prices made the claim meaningless, said the ASA.

Unfortunately, there's unlikely to be any compensation for customers who feel they've been misled - so it's important to be sure that savings are really what they seem.

The best advice is to ignore claims about 'special offers' and 'free' this and that, and simply focus on the bottom-line price. You'll get a better deal leaving things early or late.

Check comparison sites like TravelSupermarket to see if there's a cheaper offer on the same or a similar holiday - and don't be afraid to try and haggle.

15 PHOTOS
Best beach holidays for 2017
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Best beach holidays for 2017
Dubai is our number one destination for a family beach holiday this year, as it continues to offer glorious sunshine, world-class attractions and plenty to keep both the adults and children entertained. Southall Travel says Dubai is its most popular long-haul beach destination for 2017, proving that Britons' love for the Middle Eastern hotspot continues. This year has also seen the opening of the highly anticipated LEGOLAND Water Park, with over 20 water slides, a Build-A-Raft River, Wave Pool and Joker Soaker water playground. Southall Travel offers an October half-term holiday to Dubai from £1,505 per person, staying at five-star family favourite Atlantis, The Palm, with flights from the UK and seven nights' half-board accommodation.

Go off the beaten track in the Caribbean and explore the Spanish Virgin Islands for a piece of paradise on your beach getaway. The Moorings has introduced sailing holidays around the lesser-known islands for 2017 after The Discovery Channel named the island of Culebra's Flamenco Beach the second most beautiful beach in the world. Located east of Puerto Rico, the unspoilt islands allow you to enjoy a new beach every day while experiencing a yacht holiday complete with a captain, chef and host to handle everything so you can just relax and discover your surroundings by paddle board or kayak. A holiday in May costs from £2,517 per person, including seven nights on an all-inclusive basis (based on ten sharing). Flights extra.

If your plan is to holiday at home this year, you can soak up the idyllic views of Anglesey on a beach escape in North Wales, which was recently voted one of the best places for a holiday in the UK. When the sun comes out, there is mile after mile of safe sandy beaches - all completely unspoilt and with hardly anyone on them. Those in the know recommend the southern tip of the island as the place to visit and beaches don’t get much better than the sweeping golden sands at Newborough. Welsh self-catering specialist Quality Cottages offers accommodation at several properties within walking distance of Newborough Beach, including Stabal, an eco-friendly former stable which sleeps six and has contemporary, Scandi-style interiors. A seven-night stay costs from £505, based on up to six sharing on a self-catering basis.

Fresh from celebrating 50 years of Independence at the end of last year, 2017 is the 'Year of Sport' in Barbados, when the Caribbean island will host a busy calendar of world-class sporting events, as well as offer opportunities for visitors to liven up their usual beach holiday by spectating or getting involved. Highlights include exhilarating contests in sailing, polo and golf, plus international cricket - hosting England vs. West Indies in March. The adults-only SoCo Hotel provides superb ocean views and a great base for exploring, with lively St Lawrence Gap nearby. Tropical Sky offers seven-night stays from £1,229 per person on an all-inclusive basis, including flights.

An excellent alternative to popular Southeast Asian beach spots such as Bali, Malaysia and southern Thailand, which have been drawing British travellers for decades, the Philippines and its 7,000 plus islands offers a road less travelled with stunning beaches from the pink sands of Sila Island to the black sands of Dauin. Evaneos Travel offers a 21-day island hopping adventure for travellers to truly discover the must-see beaches and beautiful coastline, including stays at Bohol, Pangulasian Island and Boracay, from £5,010 per person. Flights extra.

Travelling responsibly is more important than ever and with significant concerns that increasing tourist numbers in Cuba are quite literally taking food off local people’s plates, you'd do well to consider getting your Caribbean fix from less-burdened Belize. The Central American country has an excellent model of sustainable tourism, offers stunning beaches to enjoy alongside wildlife and cultural adventures. Responsible Travel offers an active holiday in Belize that blends beach and adventure with crystal-clear Caribbean waters. Alongside the kayaking you’ll be treated to some world-class snorkelling on the world’s second largest barrier reef, with plenty of time to relax on the Caribbean beaches. A 13-day holiday costs from £1,650 per person. Flights extra.

A European Capital of Culture for 2017, Paphos is a beach location that both couples and families will adore. This year it's hosting a wide range of events to celebrate and as the whole city of Paphos is UNESCO-protected, holidaymakers can add a touch of culture and history to their holiday in this Cypriot hotspot. Affording great year-round temperatures, historical sites just a stone's throw from the water and terrific day trips, such as a Jeep safari in the Troodos Mountains, there's something for everyone in Paphos. Prestige Holidays offers a seven-night half-board holiday at adults-only The Asmina Hotel from £1,039 per person, including return flights departing 24 April.

Paradise beaches, lush scenery and vibrant cuisine make this Indian Ocean island a place for all. Tourist numbers in Mauritius are up and continue to rise in 2017. If it's the luxury spas and sandy stretches you're after, Shanti Maurice offers beach bums a true taste of Mauritian island life, with views of the Indian Ocean from each of its 17 villas and untouched beaches for a peaceful getaway. The hotel's Sleep Retreat means you can return home feeling completely refreshed and well rested after adding yoga, guided meditation and reiki to your holiday. A five-night package costs £2,750 per person. Flights extra.

Bermuda's pink sand beaches are the setting from which to catch this year's major sailing event, the Louis Vuitton America's Cup, which takes place in June. As well as the sailing buzz, the island has introduced a whole range of things to do for visitors, from sailing programmes and restaurant weeks to yoga retreats. Plus, with just a seven-hour direct flight from the UK with British Airways, it offers a great mid-haul beach destination. Prestige Holidays has a week's holiday in June staying at Grotto Bay on a room-only basis with flights from Gatwick starting at £2,829, including three on-water spectator tickets per person for the 8, 10 and 11 June Challenger Playoffs.
Scotland's Outer Hebrides were recently voted the happiest place in the UK - and with beaches like Luskentyre it's not hard to see why. The archipelago affords a unique environment, culture and wildlife that make it an enchanting beach destination for a walking holiday. Wilderness Scotland's High Points of the Outer Hebrides tour takes in unrivalled views of Scotland’s wildest islands, offering an insight into the islands’ old way of life with a visit to the traditional dwellings at a black house village and, of course, dipping a toe into the Atlantic from the white sand beach of Luskentyre. The trip costs from £1,495 per person, including seven nights’ full-board accommodation for the 6 May or 10 June departure.

Need a digital detox this year? Head for the all-inclusive, private Palm Island, a beach haven in the Grenadines which is only accessible by boat, where hammocks are scattered around the mobile-free beaches, making them perfect for switching off. Visitors can spend their days lazing around with a book or just taking in the paradise views, while picnics can be delivered straight to the beach. Blue Bay Travel offers seven nights at the Palm Island Resort from £2,099 per person on an all-inclusive basis including flights, with departures in June and September.

If affordability is key this summer, then Sicily is the ideal location for a budget-friendly beach break with the family. Flights to Comiso in May cost as little as £78 per person and while staying in a villa with direct access to the beach and a private pool can be pricey, we've found an attractive option which costs just £185 per person per week. Villa Renata offers direct access to the powder-soft sands of Fontane Bianche beach, on the south-eastern tip of Sicily. For a change of scene, the horseshoe-shaped Calamosche beach is a few miles to the south. The four-bedroom villa has a pretty Mediterranean-style garden and plenty of space for soaking up the sun. One week in May costs from £1,292 (sleeps seven) with Wish Sicily.

Providing an island escape on your doorstep, Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, is just a short flight from London and offers a unique blend of English and European influences. The island is small but big in personality, where you are never more than ten minutes from the coastline. Beach lovers can enjoy the golden sandy bays in the south, Atlantic waves on the west coast and the sheltered coves and hidden rock pooling spots on the north and east. A seven-night holiday for a family of four at the three-star Beausite Hotel including flights in the summer costs £1,444.

If a classic European beach holiday is what you have planned, make it a relaxing one by heading to a spa fit for couples on a grown-up holiday in Mallorca. The luxurious Cap Rocat, a former 19th century military fortress, is set to unveil a new spa for 2017, which is brilliantly carved from the limestone depths of the fortress for a mesmerising location where romantic travellers can disappear to. The hotel, situated in the most secluded area of the beautiful Bay of Palma, features a private beach, a swimming pool with views over the bay and secret spots for sunset dinners. Stays cost from €450 per night on a bed and breakfast basis.
Mexico is one of the best-value long-haul destinations for 2017 thanks to the weak peso. This provides the perfect opportunity to upgrade to a luxurious beach holiday without breaking the bank. Spring will see the opening of the adults-only Unico Hotel Riviera Maya on the Caribbean Coast, bringing a new all-inclusive offering that connects travellers to real Mexican culture. November is the ideal month to visit when you can combine relaxation on the beaches with the colourful Day of the Dead celebrations and visit a local cemetery where the fun events are held. The Holiday Place offers a seven-night holiday from £1,449 per person on an all-inclusive basis, including flights and transfers, based on a 31 October departure.
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