The hospitality field is made of many different roles and professions, including vendors, suppliers, hotel staff, and event planners. These teams work together to generate business ending in a boost of revenue and sales –and to put on stunning events. However, each sector has its own “lingo” that isn’t familiar to all those in the hospitality industry. In order to successfully conduct business with others outside of your realm of the industry, a mutual understanding of vocabulary is essential — whether you’re an expert event planner or a hotel sales manager, and every role in between.
Submitted by professionals in the hotel and planner side of hospitality, these were the most common hotel terms, acronyms, and abbreviations that professionals need to know.
Your complete hotel terms dictionary:
Above the Line: Commission received from advertising like T.V., radio, posters, and press.
Acceleration Clause: Contract provision that accelerates deposit payment or increases prepayment in case of default or lack of credit.
Accommodation: 1) Service or space provided to a guest 2) Action taken to enable event participation for the disabled
Act of God: Natural disaster that could not have been predicted at the time of the contract signing. Parties have no control over an Act of God, thus they’re not legally bound to fulfill contract responsibilities.
Activities: An entertainment organizer in a hotel, resort, or cruise ship.
Adjusted Gross Operating Profit (AGOP): A measure of gross operating profit used to determine how much of your income is minus the hotel management base fee.
Advance Order: Order placed prior the move-in date for an exhibition.
Advance Rates: Discounted rates to entice guests to book in advance.
Affinity Group: A group formed around a common interest where members are usually of the same organization.
Agenda: The items or unfoldings that comprise the “to-do list” or schedule of an event.
Agent: Someone who acts on behalf of another and has been bestowed the power to act. (Ex: Third-party planner)
AGR (Agreed): Guest rooms contracted to a group
Allotment: The number of hotel rooms available for sale by an agent or supplier
Alternative Availability: Suggesting other available properties when the requested property is unavailable.
Amenity: Complimentary item or service provided by the hotel for guests or groups. (Ex: Toiletries)
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Legislation that prohibits public spaces or businesses from discriminating against persons with disabilities. Discover accessibility guidelines for events here.
Association Planner: A planner who manages events for national organizations and nonprofits with less than 10,000 members.
Attendance Building: Programs for marketing and promotional purposes designed to increase attendance at conventions, trade shows, meetings, and events.
Attrition: A clause included in a hotel contract to ensure an organization fulfills their contracted obligations
Attrition Fees: Fees associated with unused rooms in a room block.
Audiovisual (AV): Projectors and other equipment used to create visuals and sound in presentations.
Average Daily Rate (ADR): A metric system used in the hospitality industry to measure the average rate paid for rooms sold
ALOS: Acronym for average length of stay
Average Published Rate (APR): A rate taken by averaging all types of hotel rooms throughout the year according to high or low season.
Banquet: Dinner for numerous people that is generally ceremonial in nature.
Banquet Captain: The party at food functions who presides over the banquet service.
Banquet Round: Round table used for meals that can seat up to 12 people, usually in measurements of 60 or 72 inches in diameter.
Banquet Setup: Seating arrangement created by the grouping of banquet rounds to help facilitate food service.
Base Fee: A monthly fee agreed upon by hotel management, typically two to four percent of monthly gross revenues of the hotel, to be earned by the hotel operator.
Bed Tax: An added price to a hotel room imposed by the city or country based on where the hotel is located.
Below the Line Promotion: Free printed promotional items, such as brochures and direct mail, set to build a relationship with the consumer.
Benchmarking: A method of comparing a hotel against competitors. Subjects of comparing could include product/service, room rate, or quality.
BEO: Acronym for banquet event order
BEO Guarantees: A finalized headcount that helps provide the information for staffing, food production, and sales revenue.
Best Available Rate (BAR): A pricing system used by hotels to define a rate based on the demand and occupancy of a room.
Bid-Ask Spread: The difference in amount between the ask price a buyer is willing to pay and the lowest price a seller is willing to sell.
BKG: Acronym for booking
Blocked: Hotel rooms reserved without a deposit.
Boardroom Setup: Room set that seats executives along a long table with the chief executive at the head.
Booking Patterns: Patterns of confirmed sales in a hotel.
Boutique Hotels: Smaller luxury hotels that separate themselves from large competitors by their service and product offering.
Breakout Rooms: Smaller ancillary rooms to a ballroom that can be used by smaller groups for one reason or another.
Butler Service: Guests are served hors d’oeuvres on platters by servers.
Buyer: A person in the travel trade who is ultimately responsible for reserving room blocks
Booking Pace: Average speed of individual bookings between group booking date and arrival date.
Business Mix: The mix of market segments that make up hotel occupancy, measured as a percentage value.
Cabaret Set-up: Cocktail tables, chairs, and a stage make up the room set. Generally, no seats will have backs to the stage.
Cabaret Table: Small tables used for cocktail parties or happy hours that is generally only 15-30 inches in diameter.
Campfire Session: Interactive breakout session in small informal groups focused on specific subject matter.
Catering Sales Manager: Hotel rep who handles food & beverage for group sales.
CRS: Acronym for central reservation system
Certified Manager of Exhibits (CME): Rewarded to planners by the Trade Show Exhibitors Association (TSEA).
Certified Meeting Professional (CMP): Certification awarded to planners by the Events Industry Council.
Channel Management: Techniques used by hotels to optimize performance across distribution channels such as OTAs.
Charter Group: An organized group of travelers with a custom itinerary.
C&I: Conference and Incentive bookings.
Closing Ratio: The percentage of calls to contacts resulting in a verified sale.
Cold Call: A solicitation of business to convince potential customers to buy from a salesperson with no previous contact prior to the call.
Competitive Set: A group of hotels by which a property can compare itself to a competitor’s performance as a whole.
Commission: Payment made to a party for bringing business to a hotel.
Commissionable Rate Commitment: Contract where a portion of the room rate is to be paid to a sponsoring group or third party such as an intermediary planner.
Complimentary Ratio: Ratio of rooms provided at no cost to number of occupied rooms. Common incentive offered when negotiating room blocks.
Confidential Tariff: Discounted prices solely quoted to wholesalers, tour operators, and travel agents (unavailable for public use).
Convention Services Manager (CSM): Individual at hotel who oversees event operations.
Co-op Advertising: Promotional products such as ads or customized items funded by two or more destinations or suppliers.
Cooperative Marketing: Programs for marketing involving two or more participating companies, institutions, or organizations.
Cooperative Partner: An independent organization that works alongside a tourism office by providing donations or cash to increase the marketing impact of the tourism office’s program.
Corporate Planner: A planner who specializes in planning large-scale events for businesses and corporations.
Corporate Rate: A special reduced rate for guests staying on business under negotiated terms.
CPOR (Cost per occupied room): Formula that calculates the average cost of occupied rooms. Used as a KPI to monitor operating costs.
Crescent-Round Setup: Seats occupy only about two thirds of a table so that no attendees have backs to the speaker. Generally used to quickly transform a meeting setup into a banquet setup.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management): System used to track customer information and leads for a business.
Cut-Off Date: Date at which all unused guest rooms in a room block will be released to the public.
Day Guests: Guests who arrive and depart the same day.
Décor: Lighting, table sets, props, and other elements used to create an aesthetic theme for an event.
Dedicated Bandwidth: Bandwidth available to only a specific group.
Definite Booking: Confirmed in writing.
Destination Management Company (DMC): Organization that aids planners via their extensive knowledge and connections pertaining to a specific locale.
Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO): Non-profit financed by occupancy taxes with the goal of promoting travel, tourism, and events in a host city.
Demand: Anticipated business for a set period in the future.
Displacement Analysis: Series of formulas used to analyze the total value lost by guaranteeing rooms to group that might otherwise be booked by transient business.
Distressed Inventory: Last-minute discounted hotel rooms to ensure a property reaches full capacity.
Distressed Sale: A desperate need to sell assets due to unfavorable conditions results in seller receiving a lower price.
Double Occupancy (DBL): The hotel rate covers up to 2 people in the room.
Early Arrival: An agreement with a hotel that allows confirmed guests to check-in before the standard time.
Ecotourism: A responsible way of traveling to natural areas that conserve the environment and sustains the well-being of local people.
English Service: Vegetables are served in bowls and readily on the table for guests to serve themselves. Main course is presented on a tray to the host at the table.
Enterprise Planner: An event planner that works exclusively for a large corporation coordinating brand events that range from internal meetings to conferences.
ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival.
ETD: Estimated Time of Departure.
Ecotourism: A responsible way of traveling to natural areas that conserve the environment and sustains the well-being of local people.
European Plan (EP): One hotel package that excludes coverage of meals
Exposition: Another term for a large exhibit or trade show.
Extranet: Back-end of a hotel sales website allowing hotels to log in and enter all their rates, availability, and restrictions.
F&B: Industry acronym for food & beverage
F&B Minimum: Guaranteed minimum dollar amount that a group must meet to secure their booking.
Familizartion Tours (FAM): Organized trips for members of the travel trade to familiarize them with tourism destinations.
Feeder City: A distant city that attracts travelers to gateway cities.
Fenced rate: Rate that is contingent on certain requirements being fulfilled by the booking party.
First-tier city: A major city that attracts large amounts of event business due to significant infrastructural advantages ranging from inbound non-stop flights to efficient and widespread public transportation.
Folio: An overview of a guest’s hotel account including all charges and payments made, stored at the reception desk.
Forecast: An analysis that renders revenue expectations for an upcoming period.
Forecasting Model: Models or systems used to predict KPIs.
Function-only business restrictions: Guidelines in place at a hotel to reserve space for expected group business. Also known as event-only business restrictions.
Full Board: A rate that includes a bed and covers all standard meals.
Gala Dinner: Social function that generally includes speakers or performers.
Global Distribution System (GDS): A computer software company that provides travel agencies with hardware for airplane, hotel, and car reservations.
Government Planner: A planner who manages event for government functions at the city, state, or local level.
Gross Operating Profit (GOP): The result of the hotel’s gross operating revenue, minus gross operating expenses.
Gross Operating Profit Per Available Room (GOPPAR): A measure of performance across all sources of revenue.
Gross Operating Revenue (GOR): A hotel’s total operating revenue.
Group Demand: Group business predicted for a specific period or date.
Group Rate: Rate secured for all rooms in a room block for an event.
Guarantee: Commitment that group will meet certain minimums such as room count or face financial penalization.
Half-Board: A rate that includes a bed, breakfast, and a choice of lunch or dinner.
Half-Pension: Similar to a half-board, however secondary meal is dinner.
Heads in Beds: The hospitality industry’s reason for existence, to sell hotel rooms and increase the occupancy rate of the hotel.
Hollow Circle Setup: Circular room arrangement in which tables/chairs all face one another.
Hollow Square Setup: Rectangular room arrangement in which tables/chairs all face one another.
Hot Buttons: An issue that evokes emotional reactions, issues, and legal principles in hotel contracts that causes friction between planners and suppliers
Hotelligence: Historical electronic booking data reports from Global Distribution Systems (GDS) that include information on rates and length of stay patterns, business sources, for their local competitive sets, and individual subscriber properties.
House Count: The total guest occupancy of a hotel at any given moment.
House Manager: The manager underneath the General Manager in ranking that is responsible for an individual hotel, unlike the General Manager–who covers more than one.
Icon: A famous landmark or facility associated with the destination.
Inbound Tourism: The traffic of international tourists spending foreign money contributing to the export economy.
Incidental Charges: Anything that costs extra than the hotel room rate. (e.g. parking, in-room movies, and internet).
Incentive Travel: A prized or rewarded trip to stimulate the productivity of employees.
Incentive Fee: A highly negotiated management fee provided to the manager based on incremental profitability and manager’s operational expertise.
Independent Hotel: A hotel with no affiliation with a franchise or chain.
Intranet: A private computer network using Internet to securely share part of an organization’s information within itself.
Intelligent Hotels: Hotels that use state of the art technology to run operations.
InterActiveCorp (IAC): A U.S. company that owns various online travel-related businesses.
Inventory (relative to hotel distribution): Rooms available the hotel has to sell across all channels.
Island Booth/Stand/Exhibit: Aisles are created on all four sides of the booth, stand, or exhibit.
JD Power: A company that conducts guest satisfaction surveys.
Joint Venture: An agreement between two or more individuals or businesses concur on sharing profit, loss, and control in a specific endeavor.
KPI (Key Performance Indicator): Metric widely used as a measurement of business performance.
Lanai: A room that has a balcony or patio with an overlook of water or garden.
Last Room Availability (LRA): A combination of negotiated and group rates that allow agents to book a hotel’s last available room at a contracted rate.
Lead: Term for a potential booking that has shown interest but has not yet booked. Usually used for group business.
Lead Conversion: A lead that has been changed into an account, contact, or potential sale.
Length of Stay (LOS): Total nights that a guest spends with a hotel.
Look-to-book ratio: Rate of traffic that looks at a listing on a website compared to the number that book.
Market Parity: The process of assessing your product or service contribution against a competitor set to define your market price and confirm competitiveness.
Market Segments: An identified group in an overall market to which a specific service appeals. This is used in the hotel industry to determine who responds to a lead.
Market Share: A percentage of business within a market category.
Mattress Run: A traveler who is staying a number of nights in order to rack up points for their frequent stay program specific to that hotel chain.
Merchant Rate: A business model used by OTAs to markup hotel net rates to sell to the public.
MICE: Industry acronym for Meetings, incentives, Conference, & Exhibitions.
Minimum Acceptable Rate (MAR): Lowest rate that a hotel will accept from a group, determined via displacement analysis.
Net Rate: A hotel rate given by travel agents and tour companies that can be marked up and sold at a higher rate to the end customer.
No-Show: Term for reservations where the confirmed party does not show up without contacting the hotel to cancel or change.
Occupancy: The measure of fill by dividing the total number of rooms occupied by the number of rooms available.
Occupancy Forecast: A prediction of occupancy for a set period that helps hotels define their business goals. Usually communicated as a number of rooms or percentage of total rooms available.
Occupancy Rate: An average of occupancy over a defined period of dates.
Offsite: A company meeting or function that occurs off company grounds and requires external space.
OTA: Acronym for Online Travel Agent/Agencies such as Expedia.
Other Revenue: Term for group revenue that is not made from room blocks or food and beverage.
Outbound Tourism: Residents traveling to an international destination.
Outside Vendor: Any supplier that is not in-house nor a preferred vendor of the hotel.
Overbooking: When more rooms are sold than are physically available to sell.
Owner’s Priority: An incentive fee included in hotel management agreements earned by a manager after the owner receives a return of a specified portion of the investment in the property.
Owner’s Total Investment: Includes total amounts spent to acquire, develop, construct, and finance the hotel.
Partition: Portable wall or barrier that is wheel-mounted and can be used to divide a large space into smaller spaces.
Pax: Another term for number of people or passengers.
Peak Night: Term for the date of an event where the room block is the largest.
Peak Season: Season or set of dates where occupancy for a hotel is at its highest.
Pipe & Drape: Tubing and drapery that separates individual booths or stations. Usually constructed of lightweight aluminum.
Pitfalls: A danger or problem that is hidden or unexpected.
Positive Space: A confirmed reservation.
PPPN: Industry acronym for per person, per night.
PRPN: Industry acronym for per room, per night.
Press Trip: Travels with the main purpose of writing about that destination.
Preferred Rate: A negotiated rate between the hotel and a specific client.
Programme: A schedule that gives the details and times for pieces of the event agenda.
Profits Per Available Room (ProPAR): A metric that calculates net revenue per available room. Also known as Net RevPAR.
Property Management System (PMS): A software hotels use to manage all operations.
Proprietary Booking Engine: An individual or group of hotels that own and operate their Internet reservation system.
Proposal: General information about what services and products a hotel can offer for customer’s meeting or event.
Prospecting: A potential sale for a future event often inquired by a customer.
Protected: A guarantee from a supplier or wholesaler to reimburse an agent commission and client on prepaid confirmed bookings, regardless of cancellation.
Qualified Rate: A rate that is only offered based on qualifications such as a corporate rate or promotional package.
Qualifying Questions: Particular questions from hotels used to examine potential business.
Quick Set: A setup template that reduces turnover times and work between events and thus results in a price break for the group.
Quin: Refers to hotel rooms that can accommodate five people.
Rack Rate: The original price of a hotel room before any discounts or promotional rates are applied.
Rate Parity: Under certain conditions, a travel supplier, such as a hotel, keeps the same price across all different distribution channels.
Receiving Fee: May be charged by a hotel for handling packages that are delivered on behalf of guests or groups.
Receptive Operator: Specialists who handle arrangements for incoming visitors, such as airport transfers, restaurants, and accommodations.
Refreshment Break: Period between sessions of an event that is accompanied by snacks and beverages.
Refundable Deposit: Deposit that may be returned if certain conditions are not met by the supplier.
Repeat Business: Returning business generating increase in profits
Repeat Booking: When repeat business is booked on behalf of the same client.
Request for Information (RFI): Sent to a hotel or venue to request further details as to the property and event space.
Request for Proposals (RFP): Document containing the services and requirements for an event that is sent to hotels to solicit a bid.
Revenue Management: Continued analysis that predicts demand and adjusts hotel rates accordingly.
RevPar: Revenue per available room calculated on the number of rooms available to sell in a hotel.
RevPAR Index (RPI): Metric that indicates how a specific hotels RevPar compares to that of its compset.
Revenue Per Available Square Foot (REVPAS): A metric that used to calculate the performance of a hotel in regards to event space bookings. RevPAS = Total space rental revenue / total square feet of event space.
Room Block: A specific set or count of rooms that are reserved for guests in a group.
Room Class: A grouping of rooms based on similar value characteristics.
Room Nights: Rooms blocked or occupied multiplied by the number of nights the rooms are reserved.
Room Rack: A continually updated card index system reflecting occupied and vacant rooms
Rooms Management Module: An application from a computer-based property management system used in the front office to maintain up-to-date information on the status of rooms, assists in the assignment of rooms during registration, and helps coordinate various guest services
Rooms to Space Ratio: The amount of space a meeting uses for every guest room they occupy.
Rooms Yield: An equation averaging revenue from all rooms, divided by number of rooms in a hotel, divided by 365 nights.
Run Of House (ROH): ROH in hotel terms means a basic room type with no guaranteed specific amenities.
Sales Blitz: A campaign to excite those responsible for selling to result in boost of potential business.
Sales Yield: The income or profit arising from sales.
Scout Lead: A research tool to scope out potential sale lead.
Second Tier City: More appropriately referred to as a midsize city. Term for popular event city that does not meet infrastructural requirements such as convention space to be considered a first-tier city.
Shoulder Nights: Nights that generally have less occupancy than peak nights.
Shoulder Season: Period adjacent to the peak season with lower occupancy, but not the lowest occupancy of the year.
Site Inspection: In-person evaluation of the hotel and event space by a planner.
SIT: Special Interest Travel.
Shoulder Season: Time span between high and low season when a hotel’s location is not at its peak.
SMERF: An acronym for the group travel market for social, military, educational, religious, and fraternal segment.
Smith Travel Research (STR) Rate: A series of reports, monthly, weekly, or daily, tracking supply and demand data for the hotel industry.
Social Event: An event with the primary purpose of networking or celebrating a life event such as a wedding.
Source of Business: A breakdown structure a hotel uses to track how business brought in and which channel it came from.
Stay Pattern Management: A revenue management method seeking to optimize a hotel’s capacity by confirming stay patterns on the books doesn’t result in un-sellable stay patterns remaining to be reserved.
Stop Sell: The act of stopping the hotel from being booked on distribution channels, used when hotel is sold out during a certain time period.
Third Party Planner: An experienced intermediary who may coordinate site selection or end-to-end event management for a planner.
Total RevPAR: Total revenue per available room. The sum of net revenues from all operating departments in addition to rentals and other income per available room for the time period, divided by total available rooms during a specified time period.
Trade Show: Industry-specific exhibition of products or services. An exhibition of products and/or services held for members of a common or related industry. Not open to the general public.
Transient Business: Segment of business comprised of individual bookings as opposed to bookings from a group.
Transient Demand: Prediction for business from the transient segment for an upcoming period.
Transient Occupancy Tax: City or County tax added to the price of a hotel room.
Trial Close: A technique used to close a sale by ensuring the stakeholder understands the conditions of purchase and is serious about buying.
Turn: The process of completely changing a meeting room set-up from one event to the next.
Two-pack Hotels: A conjoined property of two hotels that share resources, such as back-of-house operations, but operate separately.
Unconference: Conference where the agenda is dictated in real-time by participants. Usually favors discussion and interaction.
Unconstrained Demand: The demand for a hotel regardless of any capacity limitations.
Unqualified Rates: Rates offered to hotel guests without restrictions or conditions for booking.
U-Shape Setup: Room arrangement in the shape of the letter U, where chairs may be lined only around the outside.
Very Important Person (VIP): Individual who should receive special or elevated treatment based on their role or relationship to an event.
Voice: Taking a hotel reservation over the phone.
Walk: Moving guests to a nearby hotel when overbooking occurs.
War Room: Another term for the office for meeting on-site staff.
Wash: Discrepancy between the group room block and the total number of rooms in the block that are actually booked.
Wholesaler: A third-party organization that sells hotel rooms such as sites, distribution channels, extranets, or merchants.
“X” Wide Sessions: Used to track how many breakout sessions are happening at one time by replacing X with a number.
Yield Management: Process of understanding, anticipating, and reacting to consumer behavior to maximize revenue. Also known as Revenue Management.
Z Hotel: A boutique hotel set in various locations around the world.
Now you know the most common hotel terms!
Although some hotel terms may be recognizable, others can now be added to your business vocabulary. Refer to this hotel terms dictionary to make sure your “lingo” means the same while talking with business partners.
Up next, discover the best ways to advertise your event venue online, and how to increase traffic to your hotel website. Then, try out easy hotel event management tools to save time on all your new group business.
Have more questions about hotel terms?
The hospitality industry is the broader industry that includes the hotel industry. It also includes, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruises, and more.
Daily Delegate Rate – A per person rate for conference room rental, refreshments, catering, and any other services that a conference/meeting might require.
Room Revenue Multiplier – A multiplier used in determining the value of hotels. Equal to the hotel’s value divided by the Revenue per Room. Talking in terms of RRM helps level the playing field when discussing different types of hotels.