‘Family holiday’ prizes… in term time?
So, you’ve spotted an amazing competition to win a week’s family holiday – but when reading the small print, you notice the holiday can’t be taken during school holidays. If you’re lucky enough to win, you’ll need to take your children out of school – and might end up with a £60 per absence (per child) fine from your Local Education Authority!
I’ve been contacted several times lately by people asking what the ‘rules’ are with advertising a family holiday, and hopefully this post will explain the situation.
The important word here is ‘family’. If a company advertises a ‘family holiday‘ then entrants naturally assume the holiday is available to children of all ages rather than babies and toddlers – and so, the winner should be able to take this trip during school holidays. So a company can’t advertise a family holiday if their blackout dates include all school holidays!
If the prize cannot be taken in any school holiday, then it’s fine for a company to advertise it as a ‘holiday for four’, for example – but they must not use the word ‘family’ or refer to activities for school-age children. They should also avoid using photographs of school-age children to advertise the holiday.
The Advertising Standards Authority have ruled against several companies who have advertised family holidays that must be taken in term time. Here are two examples:
- An Archant Life promotion to win a family holiday was branded ‘misleading’ by the ASA, as the terms and conditions stated it couldn’t be taken in school holidays.
- The ASA ruled that a Center Parcs advertisement for cheap midweek term-time breaks featuring school aged children ‘irresponsibly encouraged parents to take their children out of school’
If you’re entering a holiday competition, take the time to read all the T&Cs before you decide whether to enter. And if you notice someone advertising a family holiday that can’t be taken in school holidays, send the promoter a link to this post – or send a complaint through to the ASA.
Further reading: ‘Holiday Promotions’ – ASA.org.uk
Have you ever won a ‘family’ holiday – and were you able to take it during school holidays?