The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an advertisement for a company that helps Airbnb hosts prepare and manage their properties for short lets.
The advertisement came from Airsorted which claimed on Facebook in May that it was “"The world's largest management company for Airbnb and more".
Rival short lets management firm Hostmaker challenged whether the claim was misleading and could be substantiated, and whether it was verifiable.
After being contacted by the ASA, Airsorted said it used the term “World’s largest” because it operated in more cities and more countries than competitors.
It provided a list of competitors that had operations in both one country and at multi-country level.
Airsorted also stated that based on publicly available information from competitors, it managed more properties overall; it stated that the information was verifiable on both its own and competitors’ websites.
However, the authority says in its assessment that it considers that the claim “The world’s largest management company for Airbnb and more” would be interpreted by consumers to mean that Airsorted was the largest company in the world to offer the service of Airbnb management, by way of the most properties managed around the world.
“We noted that Airsorted stated that they managed more properties in total than their competitors. However, because Airsorted had not provided any evidence to demonstrate that was the case, we concluded that the claim was misleading” says a statement released today by the authority.
“We considered that the claim would be understood as a comparison between the services offered by Airsorted and all of their competitors, and that it was a comparison with identifiable competitors.
“The ad did not provide any information to ensure consumers were able to check the comparative claim, nor did it include a signpost to information on the basis of that comparison. Therefore, because the ad did not allow consumers to verify the comparison, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.”
In conclusion the ASA says: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Airsorted to ensure that future ads did not make claims by comparison with identifiable competitors, unless they possessed robust documentary evidence, and that such comparisons were verifiable.”