Hospitality & Tourism Glossary

by Jason Morehouse

The hospitality and tourism industry can be a complicated place to navigate, especially when dealing with large vendors and distributors. Here is a quick glossary of some of the more commonly used terms.

ABA
American Bus Association; comprised of bus companies, operators and owners

Attendance Building
Marketing and promotional programs designed to increase attendance at conventions, trade shows, meetings, and events.

Attractions
General all-inclusive term travel industry marketers use to refer to products that have visitor appeal, like museums, historic sites, performing arts institutions, preservation districts, theme parks, entertainment and national sites.

AVHRM
Association of Vacation Home Rental Managers.

Bed Tax (Transient Occupancy Tax of TOT)
City or county tax added to the price of a hotel room.

Blocked
Hotel rooms held without deposit

Booked
Hotel rooms, airline tickets or other travel services held for a specific client.

Booking
Term used to refer to a completed sale by a destination, convention center, facility, hotel or supplier (i.e. convention, meeting, trade show or group business booking).

Business Travel
Travel for commercial, governmental or educational purposes with leisure as a secondary motivation.

Buyer
A member of the travel trade who reserves room blocks from accommodations or coordinates the development of a travel product.

Carrier
Any provider of mass transportation, usually used in reference to an airline.

Chambers of Commerce
Typically, a Chamber of Commerce will specialize in local tourism promotion.

Charter Group
Group travel in which a previously organized group travels together, usually on a custom itinerary.

C of C
Chamber of Commerce

Commission
A percent of the total product cost paid to travel agents and other travel product distributors for selling the product to the consumer. tourism marketing organizations specializing in developing conventions, meetings, conferences and visitations to a city, county or region.

Conventions and Trade Shows
Major segment of travel industry business. Trade shows differ from conventions in that they have exhibit space that provides product exhibition and sales opportunities for suppliers, as well as information gathering and buying opportunities for customers.

Conversion Study
Research study to analyze whether advertising respondents actually were converted to travelers as a result of advertising and follow-up material.

Co-op Advertising
Advertising funded by two or more destinations and /or suppliers.

Cooperative Marketing
Marketing programs involving two or more participating companies, institutions or organizations. tourism office by providing cash or in-kind contributions to expand the marketing impact of the tourism office’s program.

Cover
Each diner at a restaurant.

CTRLA
Car and Truck Rental and Leasing Association.

CVB
Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Destination
A hotel, resort, attraction, city, region, or state.

Destination Marketing
Marketing a city, state, country, area or region to consumers and trade. tourism marketing organizations, such as convention and visitors bureaus or chambers of commerce.

Discounted Fare
Negotiated air fare for convention, trade show, meeting, group and corporate travel.

Discover America
Theme used by the Travel Industry Association and its marketing partners to market travel within the United States.

Fam Tours
Organized trips for travel agents, tour operators, tour wholesalers or other members of the travel trade for the purpose of educating and familiarizing them with tourism destinations. By seeing the destinations where they are sending travelers, the travel trade is better prepared to answer customer questions and promote travel to the location. Also called fams or familiarization tours.

Feeder Airport/City
An outlying city which feeds travelers to hubs or gateway cities.

FIT (Free Independent Travel)
Individual travel in which a tour operator has previously arranged blocks of rooms at various destinations in advance for use by individual travelers. These travelers travel independently, not in a group, usually by rental car or public transportation.

Frequency
The number of times an advertisement appears during a given campaign.

Fulfillment
Servicing consumers and trade who request information as a result of advertising or promotional programs. Service often includes an 800 number, sales staff and distribution of materials.

Gateway or Gateway City
A major airport, seaport, rail or bus center through which tourists and travelers enter from outside the region.

GIT (Groups Independent Travel)
Group travel in which individuals purchase a group package in which they will travel with others along a pre-set itinerary.

Group Rate
Negotiated hotel rate for convention, trade show, meeting, tour or incentive group.

Head in Beds
Industry slang referring to the primary marketing objective of accommodations and most destinations – increasing the number of overnight stays.

Hospitality Industry
Another term for the travel industry.

Hub
An airport or city which serves as a central connecting point for aircraft, trains or buses from outlying feeder airports or cities.

Hub and Spoke
Air carriers use of selected cities as hubs or connected points for service on their systems to regional destinations.

Icon
A facility or landmark which is visually synonymous with a destination.

Incentive Travel
Travel offered as a reward for top performance and the business that develops, markets and operates these programs.

Inclusive Tour
A tour program that includes a variety of feature for a single rate (airfare, accommodations, sightseeing, performances, etc.)

International Marketing
Marketing a destination, product or service to consumers and the trade outside the of the United States.

Leisure Travel
Travel for recreational, educational, sightseeing, relaxing and other experiential purposes.

Market Share
The percentage of business within a market category.

Market Volume
The total number of travelers within a market category.

Mission (Sales)
A promotional and sales trip coordinated by a state travel office, conventional and visitors bureau or key industry member to increase product awareness, sales and to enhance image. Target audiences may include tour operators, wholesales, incentive travel planners, travel agents, meeting planners, convention and trade show managers and media. Missions often cover several international or domestic destinations and include private and public sector participants. Mission components can include receptions, entertainment representatives of the destination, presentations and pre-scheduled sales and media calls.

Motorcoach
Deluxe equipment used by most tour operators in group tour programs. Amenities include reclining seats, bathrooms, air conditioning, good lighting and refreshment availability.

Net Rate
The rate provided to wholesalers and tour operators that can be marked up to sell to the customer.

No Show
A customer with a reservation at a restaurant, hotel, etc. who fails to show up and does not cancel.

NTA
National Tour Association, comprised of domestic tour operators.

Occupancies
A percentage indicating the number of bed nights sold (compared to number available) in a hotel, resort, motel or destination.

Package
A fixed price salable travel product that makes it easy for a traveler to buy and enjoy a destination or several destinations. Packages offer a mix of elements like transportation, accommodations, restaurants, entertainment, cultural activities, sightseeing and car rental.

Peaks and Valleys
The high and low end of the travel season. Travel industry marketers plan programs to build consistent year-round business and event out the peaks and valleys.

Person Trip Visit
Every time a person travels more than 100 miles (round-trip) in a day or stays overnight away from their primary domicile, whether for business or leisure purposes, they make one person trip visit.

Pow Wow
The largest international travel marketplace held in the United States, sponsored by the Travel Industry Association of America.

Press/Publicity Release
A news article or feature story written by the subject of the story for delivery and potential placement in the media.

Press Trips
Organized trips for travel writers and broadcasters for the purpose of tourism destinations. Often, journalists travel tourism of a DMO.

Property
A hotel, motel, inn, lodge or other accommodation facility.

Rack Rate
The rate accommodations quote to the public. Group rates, convention, trade show, meeting and incentive travel rates are negotiated by the hotel and program organizers.

Reach
The percentage of people within a specific target audience reached by an advertising campaign.

Receptive Operator
Specialists in handling arrangements for incoming visitors at a destination including airport transfers, local sightseeing, restaurants, accommodations, etc. Receptive operators can be a travel agent or tour operator.

Repeat Business
Business that continues to return, thereby generating increased profits.

Reservation Systems (Automation Vendors)
Computerized systems leased to travel agencies offering airline, hotel, car rental and selected tour availability and bookings. Systems are affiliated with major carriers, including American (Sabre), United (Apollo), Eastern (System One), TWA (PARS), and Delta (DATAS II) and feature flight schedules of the sponsoring and other carriers, plus additional travel products.

Retail Agent
A travel agent.

Retailer
Another term for travel agents who sell travel products directly to consumers.

Room
Double: No guarantee of two beds; Double Double: Two double beds (or two queens or kings); Twin: Two twin beds (or two doubles or queens)

Room Blocks
Several rooms held for a group.

Sales Mission
Where suppliers from one DMO travel together to another state of country for the purpose of collectively promoting travel to their area. Sales missions may include educational seminars for travel agents and tour operators.

Sales Seminar
An educational session in which travel agents, tour operators, tour wholesales or other members of the travel trade congregate to receive briefings about tourism destinations.

Shells
A marketing and sales promotional piece that depicts a destination, accommodation or attraction on the cover and provides space for copy to be added at a later date. Usually shells fit a number 10 envelope.

Site Inspection
An assessment tour of a destination or facility by a meeting planner, convention or trade show manager, site selection committee, tour operator, wholesaler or incentive travel manager to see if it meets their needs and requirements prior to selecting a specific site for an event. After site selection, a site inspection may be utilized to make arrangements.

Spouse Program
Special activities planned for those who accompany an attendee to a convention, trade show or meeting. Note that programs today are not simply for women, but rather for men and women, spouses and friends. Programs must be creatively designed to interest intelligent and curious audiences.

Supplier
Those businesses that provide industry products like accommodations, transportation, car rentals, restaurants and attractions.

Target Audience/Market
A specific demographic, sociographic target at which marketing communications are directed.

Target Rating Points
TRPÕs are a statistical measurement which allows one to evaluate the relative impact of differing advertising campaigns.

Tariff
Rate of fare quoted and published by a travel industry supplier (i.e. hotels, tour operators, etc.) Usually an annual tariff is produced in booklet form for use in sales calls at trade shows.

TIA
Travel Industry Association of America.

TOT
Transient Occupancy Tax.

Tour Operator
Develops, markets and operates group travel programs that provide a complete travel experience for one price and includes transportation (airline, rail, motorcoach, and/or ship), accommodations, sightseeing, selected meals and an escort. Tour operators market directly to the consumer, through travel agents and are beginning to be listed on computerized reservation systems.

Tour Wholesaler
An individual or company that sells tour packages and tour product to travel agents. Tour wholesalers usually receive a 20% discount from accommodations, transportation companies and attractions and pass on a 10 to 15% discount to the retail agent. Tourism

Tourist /Visitor /Traveler
Any person who travels either for leisure or business purposes more than 100 miles round-trip in a day or who stays overnight away from his/her primary domicile.

Transient Occupancy Tax
TOT or bed tax is a locally set tax on the cost of commercial accommodations and campgrounds.

Travel
Leisure and other travel including travel for business, medical care, education, etc. tourism.

Travel Agent
An individual who arranges travel for individuals or groups. Travel agents may be generalists or specialists (cruises, adventure travel, conventions and meetings.) The agents receive a 10 to 15% commission from accommodations, transportation companies and attractions for coordinating the booking of travel. They typically coordinate travel for their customers at the same or lower cost than if the customer booked the travel on his/her own.

Travel Product
Refers to any product or service that is bought by or sold to consumers of trade including accommodations, attractions, events, restaurants, transportation, etc.

Travel Seasons
Travel industry business cycles including: Peak: Primary travel season Off Peak: Period when business is slowest Shoulder: Period between peak and off peak periods when business is stronger, but has room for growth.

Travel Trade
The collective term for tour operators, wholesalers and travel agents.

Traveler
Definitions very, but in general a traveler is someone who leaves their own economic trade area, (usually going a distance of a minimum of fifty to one hundred miles) and stays overnight.

Visitors Center
Travel information center located at a destination to make it easier for visitors to plan their stay; often operated by a convention and visitors bureau, chamber of tourism promotion organization.

Vouchers
Forms or coupons provided to a traveler who purchases a tour that indicate that certain tour components have been prepaid. Vouchers are then exchanged for tour components like accommodations, meals, sightseeing, theater tickets, etc. during the actual trip.

Wholesaler
Develop and markets inclusive tours and individual travel programs to the consumer through travel agents. Wholesalers do not sell directly to the public.

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