Glossary of hotel jargon - Insights

Glossary of hotel jargon

By Sam Weston

Don't know your ADRs from your FITs? Don't worry, you're not alone. This handy A to Z hotel jargon buster will help get you up to speed with the language of the hospitality industry.


ABPCO – Association of British Professional Conference Organisers (

ABTA – Association of British Travel Agents (

ADR (or ARR) – Average Daily Rate, or Average Room Rate (calculated by dividing revenue generated from income from hotel rooms sold by the total number of rooms sold)

Advance Rates – Generally discounted rates to encourage guests to book in advance.

AGOP – Adjusted Gross Operating Profit (equal to the gross operating profit minus the hotel management base fee and any additional expenses)

Allocation – usually refers to an ‘allocation of rooms' (e.g a conference may have an allocation of rooms at an agreed rate)

Amadeus – A common GDS (Global Distribution System)

ATL – Above The Line (generally refers to mass marketing campaigns to drive awareness)

ARR – Average Room Rate (Total room revenues divided by the number of rooms occupied, excluding any rooms offered complimentary)


B&B – Rates that include Bed and Breakfast.

Back of House – Area of the hotel that is generally off limits to guests (e.g kitchens, offices, storage etc.)

BAR – Best Available Rates (typically rates that are the ‘best available' at the time of booking, often these are short lead bookings)

Base Fee – Agreed upon hotel management fee earned by the hotel operator.

Benchmarking – comparing your hotel against competitors. This could include benchmarking by product/service, room rate, quality etc.

BHA – British Hospitality Association (

Boutique Hotels – Generally refers to smaller, luxury hotels that differentiate themselves by their service and product offering. For example, a boutique hotel may have different, themed rooms etc.

BSC – Balanced Scorecard. A performance management tool for managers.

BTL – Below The Line (generally refers to niche marketing campaigns focused on return on investment)

Business Guest/Traveller – Those travelling for business.


C&B (or C and B) – Conference and Banqueting.

C&E (or C and E) – Conference and Events.

C&I (or C and I) – Conference and Incentive bookings.

CDP – Chef de Partie (in charge of a particular area of production within the kitchen)

Check In – The process by which a guests registers their arrival at a hotel and receives their key/keycards.

Check Out – The process by which a guest settles their bill and hands back any key/keycards.

Commis Chef – A basic chef in larger kitchens. May have just completed training or part of a training process.

Corporate Rates – Rates negotiated by corporates/companies with a hotel or sales team. Typically these are lower than standard consumer rates as corporates/companies can offer a high volume of annual bookings.

COS – Cost of Sale.

Cover – Refers to diners within a restaurant. E.g) A hotel restaurant achieved 30 covers (30 people dined)

CRM – Customer Relationship Management. Commonly automated to include pre and post stay elements, along with loyalty programmes etc.

CRO – Central Reservations Office – the central ‘hub' that handles bookings of behalf of a hotel (or chain).

CRS – Central/Computerised Reservations System. The system that facilitates the booking of rooms, conference etc. This might be via telephone, website, email etc.


Day Guests – Guests that arrive and depart the same day.

DBB – Rates that include Dinner, Bed and Breakfast.

DDR – Day/Daily Delegate Rate (per person rate for conference room hire, refreshments, catering etc.)

DMO – Destination Marketing Organisation. A company/group responsible for the promotion of an area (this could be regionally, nationally or town/city specific).

DND – Do Not Disturb.

Domestic Travellers/Tourism – Residents that travel within their own country.

DOSM – Director of Sales and Marketing


EcoTourism – socially responsible travel. Guests may opt for ‘green hotels' who operate with sustainable practices.

ETA – Estimated Time of Arrival.


F&B (or F and B) – Food and Beverage. Refers to restaurant and bar business.

Fam Tour/Trip – Familiarisation tours/trips generally refer to complimentary stays for corporate guests who may be considering using the hotel for their organisation (accommodation, conferences etc.)

FF&E – Furniture, Furnishings and Equipment.

FIT – Free and Independent Traveller.

FOH (or Front of House) – Generally refers to guest facing staff within the reception area of the hotel. These may include receptionists, concierge and room porters.

Full Board – Rate that includes bed, breakfast, lunch and dinner.


GDS – Global Distribution System. Network of electronic reservation systems used globally by travel agents booking hotel rooms (and airlines). Common GDS include Sabre, Galileo and Amadeus.

GM – General Manager.

GOP – Gross Operating Profit (Total revenue less expenses)

GOR – Gross Operating Revenue.

Green Hotels – Generally refers to hotels making an active effort to operate sustainably and reduce their environmental impact.

Group Rates – Negotiated rates (usually discounted against standard rates) for group travel. This can include guests attending conferences, meetings and tours etc.

GS – Guest Services.

GSM – Guest Services Manager.


Half Board – Rate that includes bed, breakfast and either lunch or dinner.

Head Chef – in charge of the kitchen, including Sous Chef(s), Chef de Partie(s) and Commis Chef(s).

HOD – Head of Department

House Count – The total occupancy of the hotel at any given moment.


IBE – Internet Booking Engine.

Independent Hotel/Property – An individual hotel that isn't part of a chain/group.



KPI – Key Performance Indicator. A target against which success can be measured. For example, an occupancy rate of 90%, an ADR of X etc.


Late Arrival – Guests that advise they will be later than the agreed time of arrival.

Late Charge – Charges that may be passed on to a guest after their departure from a hotel. For example, telephone calls or mini bar charges that weren't determined before the guest left.

Late Check Out – When a guest leaves the hotel later than the agreed time of departure. This may be at an agreed ‘Late Check Out' fee.

Late Show – A guest who arrives later than the agreed time of their reservation.

Lead Time – The length of time between when a booking is made and the actual stay date. Typically hotels prefer long lead times as it allows them to plan room inventories/rates.

Leisure Guest – Those travelling for pleasure.

Limited Service – A hotel that may not offer the full range of services typically expected of a hotel. E.g no restaurant services is available.

LOS (or Length of Stay) – The duration of a guests visit. E.g 3 nights.

Loyalty Programme – A rewards programme for those that stay at the hotel regularly. Rewards can vary, but typically include free stays, dining vouchers etc.


M&IT – Meetings and Incentive Travel.

MCI – Meetings, Conventions and Incentives.

MICE – Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions.

MLOS – Minimum Length of Stay.

MOM – Month on Month.

Mystery Guest – A quality control measure whereby an undercover employee (usually of an external organisation) poses as a guest to evaluate the performance of a hotel.


Net Rate – A wholesale rate to allow a third party markup.

NS (or No Show) – A guest who doesn't show up, despite having a reservation.


Occ (or Occupancy) – The rate of occupation of a hotels total rooms, at any given time. For example, an occupancy rate of 95% would mean that 95% of a hotels room inventory is presently occupied.

OOO – Out of Order.

Operator – Could refer to a hotel management company managing a hotel under a management agreement.

OTA – Online Travel Agent/Agency. A 3rd party who often sells a hotels room inventory on their behalf (and is paid a commission for any bookings referred) Examples of some of the main OTA's include Expedia,, etc.


Pax – Number of people/passengers. E.g) 6 pax would be 6 people/passengers.

PDQ – Payment terminals that allow merchants to ‘Process Data Quickly'

PIP – Property Improvement Plan (refurbishment)

PMS – Property Management System

POS – Point of Sale.


QA – Quality Assurance.


Rack Rate – The standard or default rate for a room, before any discounts (for example, advance purchase discounts) are applied.

RDR – Residential Delegate Rate (per person rate for conference room hire, refreshments, catering including overnight accommodation)

Refurbishment – The process of restoring, renovating or modernising a hotels rooms or public areas to bring them up to a certain standard.

Res – Reservation.

RevPAR – Room Revenue, Per Available Room. The gross room revenue is divided by the amount of rooms to calculate the RevPAR – a common figure used to benchmark performance (based on rates and hotel occupancy levels)

RFP – Request For Proposal. Often requested by corporate guests. E.g) They may require a hotel to provide a response to a RFP to outline negotiated rates for the following year.

RMS – Rate Management System

ROH – Run of House. No room has been allocated to a guest before arrival, so they will get any room available.

ROI – Return on Investment.

Room Night(s) – Essentially refers to an occupied room. E.g) Guest A has booked 5 room nights (they are staying for 5 nights) or Corporate Guest B accumulated 20 room nights last year (they stayed for a total of 20 nights)

Room Inventory – the volume of rooms available to be sold.

Room Only – A rate for the room only, no extras included.

Rooms Yield – Average revenue of all rooms, divided by the number of rooms in a hotel, divided by 365 nights.


S&M (or S and M) – Sales and Marketing.

Short Lead – refers to bookings made at short notice (e.g on the day of arrival or within a few days of arrival).

Snag List – Generally refers to a list of problems/issues that need addressed (usually as a result of a new hotel launch).

Soft Launch/Opening – Partial launch of a hotel property, perhaps at a reduced service level, usually to test the service offering prior to launching in earnest.

Sous Chef – ‘Under Chef'. Second in command after the Head Chef.

SRP – Special Rate Plan.

Sustainable Tourism – Generally refers to environmentally conscious hoteliers/guests. They may request details of the hotel's carbon footprint etc. Some corporates may select a hotel based on its sustainable practice.


TA – Travel Agent (or can sometimes be used to refer to TripAdvisor).

TAC – Travel Agents Commission.

TRA – The Restaurant Association.


Upgrade – Process by which a guest is offered a better room than he/she booked.

Upsell – Process by which a guest is offered (at a cost) additional services or upgrades (often at the point of purchase or upon arrival to the hotel).


VisitBritain – The name used by the British Tourist Authority, the tourist board of Great Britain incorporated under the Development of Tourism Act 1969, to promote tourism in Britain.

VisitEngland – Tourist board for England.

VisitScotland – Tourist board for Scotland.

VisitWales – Tourist board for Wales.


Walk In – A guest that hasn't pre-booked, but simply walks in and reserves a room. Often they'll pay a higher rate (even Rack Rate) accordingly.

WBE – Web Booking Engine.

WTM – World Travel Market.

WTO – World Tourism Organisation.

WTTC – World Travel & Tourism Council.



Yield – Hotel's profit margin when a room is sold (less any commissions etc.)

Yield Management – The practice of raising or lowering prices based on demand.

YOY – Year on Year.


For updates, as we add to the glossary, click  on Hotel Jargon Buster on

About the author

Sam Weston is a Senior Account Manager at Occupancy Marketing, an internet marketing agency for the travel and tourism sector. The company's focus is on increasing all types of conversions from phone calls and wedding brochure requests, to all-important online hotel bookings.

Spotted something Sam's missed? Drop him email and we'll add it in!

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