Travel Agents

New advertising guidelines for ATAS members

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has released new advertising guidelines for ATAS participants which form part of their mandatory accreditation requirements.

In addition to the guidance set by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), AFTA has clarified two specific areas affecting the travel industry: two-price comparisons and component pricing.

“These two clarifications clarify the standard required for ATAS accreditation and, by doing so, seeks to protect ATAS-accredited entities from ACCC enforcement and legal action,” AFTA said in a statement.

The use of the words ‘typically’ and ‘valued at’ in advertising is deemed to be a two-price comparison and the principles of two-price comparative advertising are to apply.

Advertisers need to retain records and be able to substantiate the offer whether that be to the ATAS compliance manager or the ACCC.

This includes records of how long the product was offered for sale at the ‘was’ price (or typically or valued at); what other prices were offered during that period; and how many sales were made at the ‘was’ or ‘typically or valued at’ price, and how many sales were made at other prices.

AFTA’s new guidelines also noted that when it comes to advertising prices to customers, advertisers should state the total price.

“If you promote a price that is only part of the total price of goods or services, you must also include the total price (as a single figure) at least as prominently as the part price,” AFTA said.

Components that ATAS members are required to include are tax, duty, fee, levy, or charge payable by the consumer for the supply (and use) of the travel; resort fees; mandatory gratuities; and direct payments required to a third-party operator.

An amnesty period of three months applies for ATAS-accredited members to implement any required changes to their business.

AFTA will conduct a number of webinars on the topic for those who want to know more. ATAS members can register for the webinars here.

The new ad guidelines are available on AFTA’s website. Any member questions or feedback can be directed to Naomi Menon at naomi@afta.com.au.

Image: iStock/ibreakstock

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