When someone wins a trip in a sweepstakes or contest, they usually expect that the prize will be for two people so they can bring a travel companion along on their journey. If your promotion requires winners to fly solo, you need to make that very clear in the rules and any accompanying advertisements or other promotions. It needs to be very conspicuous that the trip is only for the winner.
Assuming your prize does include a travel companion, you need to be aware of several issues. First, the minimum required age for the companion is important. If the person accompanying the winner is under 18 years old (or is considered to be a minor in their state of residence) then the minor’s parent or guardian must grant permission before the companion can be allowed to accompany the winner on the trip. The companion also must agree to execute an affidavit of eligibility and publicity and a liability release form similar to that required of the winner. Again, if the companion is a minor, a parent or guardian needs to sign the affidavit as well.
The winner’s travel companion must also agree to participate in the prize on the same conditions agreed to by the winner and travel on the same itinerary as the winner. Those conditions may be set forth in a number of documents, including the official rules for the contest or sweepstakes, a supplemental prize description, the prize provider agreement, and the terms and conditions of the airline, hotel, or event sponsor.
You may also want to consider requesting that the companion agree to grant the sponsor the right to use any images of or comments from them in future advertisements. If such language is already in the rules, this may be a belt-and-suspenders approach. But it’s a good practice to follow, particularly if the prize includes participation in videos or photos of the trip, or games or competitions that the sponsor intends to use in future ads or promotional materials.
All of these requirements should be clearly explained to the companion even if they are set forth in the official rules and reiterated in the affidavit that the companion (or his or her parent or guardian) signs before the prize is delivered.
Making certain that both the winner and the travel companion understand the requirements for taking the trip together will help you avoid unnecessary problems when the prize is awarded.
This post was written by retired Thompson Coburn partner Dale Joerling. If you have any questions about the topics discussed in this post, please contact Thompson Coburn partner Hap Burke.