Advertising watchdogs have investigated Skytrax’s web site www.airlinequality.com and found that is was unable to back up a number if its claims.
Skytrax provides an airline and airport review site that generates a rating system based on customer reviews that are said to be “checked and trusted airline reviews” from over 5m passengers.
However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) stated said there was no evidence that Skytrax had followed the robust procedures it claimed it had in place to check all its reviews were genuine. Although Skytrax argued that every review underwent a four-stage authentication process, it said it was unable to provide proof it had in fact followed its own procedures as customer emails were deleted 24 hours after a review was submitted.
The investigation was launched following concerns raised by online reputation management business KwikChex. The ASA pointed out that Skytrax did not hold sufficient evidence to substantiate the claims “Checked and trusted airline review” and “REAL travellers with REAL opinions!”.
The ASA ruled that airlinequality.com’s claim that it offered 5m reviews was misleading as the site contained only 400,000. Skytrax claimed it had received 5.4m reviews since 1999, but said the oldest ones had been archived. However, the ASA said readers would be misled into thinking they could read 5m reviews on the site.
Skytrax was also found to have misled the public by claiming to provide an “Official Quality Star Ranking” system as it was unable to prove its claim that it had launched its programme with the backing of the airline and (later) airport industry. The ASA also said there was no evidence that several titles used by the site, including “5 Star Airlines” were trademarked, as claimed by Skytrax.
In its ruling, the ASA said: “We told Skytrax not to imply that the reviews on their site were checked, trusted and genuine unless they could provide substantiation to that effect. We also told them not to make claims regarding the number of reviews on their site and the frequency with which they reviewed airlines’ Star Rankings or to state that titles were trademarked, unless they could provide evidence to substantiate those facts, and not to use the term “Official Quality Star Ranking (TM)” unless they could show that this programme had been created in co-operation with the airline industry as a whole.”
Like misleading the public on prices for travel products, the issue is one of integrity and trust. To be brought into question by an official body is clearly damaging to Skytrax. Many Airports and Airlines strive to achieve their “5 Star ratings” and celebrate awards that are handed out. If the claims they make are proven to be misleading, this leads to a whole host of follow on questions….
Source: The Travel Marketing Store www.thetravelmarketingstore.com – Travelmole