Hospitality Terminology

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Welcome to the Hospitality Terminology page. These definitions are intended to be a reference for the industry, both vendors and hoteliers alike. Feel free to add comments and suggest other terms on the discussion page.

These definitions are based on the HTNG Reference Architecture definitions, however other workgroups have begun to add to the dictionary.

Please also note that there is a section at the bottom below with more general terms that may also be useful as a reference to the industry, but they are not hospitality-specific.

Hospitality Terms

A specific type of promotional material that is a placement (possibly paid) of a specific piece of marketing collateral.
Alternative Distribution System (ADS)
Distribution using the Internet. (OTAs primarily)
The number of vacancies possibly for a specific type of accommodation for a specific set of dates.
Average Daily Rate (ADR)
Figure derived by dividing actual daily revenue by the total number of rooms sold.
Average Length of Stay (ALOS)
Figure derived by dividing the number of room nights by the number of bookings.
Best Available Rate (BAR)
The lowest non-restricted rate bookable by all guests. This rate can change several times a week up to several times a day. Also called Best Flexible Rate(BFR)
Best Rate Guarantee ( BRG)
The promise that hotels or OTAs will the best rates on their own site as compared to any other side for the same product.
Booking Engine (BE)
An application powering the hotels’ own brand site for reservation related information.
A Building represents a physical structure on the hotel Property.
Central Reservation System (CRS)
The application used to manage a hotel’s distribution and hotel room bookings. Typically will be used to reach guests via multiple distribution channels such as travel agencies (via GDS), online travel agencies (such as Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline and others), direct to the hotel website, and telephone (either via call center, direct to property or both).
Channel Management
Controlling the allocation of hotel inventory and rates across all distribution channels including website, third parties, and the GDS. Effective channel management solutions should reduce labor costs and improve efficiency by providing a centralize way to control multiple channels.
A Charge is a financial obligation for a Product or Service during a guest stay. Examples of Charges are:
  • Room Stay
  • Function Room Rental
  • Merchandise Purchase
  • Food Purchase
Close to Departure
A restriction by which the hotel can restrict any check outs on a specific day
Closed to Arrival
A room inventory control function that prevents reservations from arriving on that date. Reservations can stay through the date.
That payment that a travel agent receives from a supplier for selling transportation, accommodation or other services.
Content Template
Consists of HTML cascading style sheets and JavaScript with markers that can be used to merge other information into the template to create a web page
Someone who is purchasing product(s) and/or service(s) from a Hotel. May also include an agent acting on the Customer’s behalf.
Data Entry Clerk
The person that enters the reservation and data into the system on behalf of the hotel.
Date Roll
A system event that advances the "property date" by 1. This event system triggers a list of processes in order to effect date change in the system and affected areas of functionality.
Demand Based Pricing
Applying revenue management principles to move rate based upon demand within the marketplace and what the market will bear.
Demand Generators
Specific strategies or programs that attract or drive demand to the area or a specific hotel.
Device Asset
A Device Asset is an electronic item owned or leased by the hotel. Some of these items are traceable/accountable and some are not.
Displacement Analysis
Analyzing business (primarily group) based upon the total value of the business versus what transient business would be displaced if the business were accepted. The group value includes all food and beverage spending, meeting room rental and any additional outlet spending minus any costs involved.
Distribution Strategy
Determining when and through what channels to sell rooms based upon the cost of acquisition of the individual channel. By driving business to lower cost acquisition channels during high demand periods, hotels can maximize their profitability.
Dynamic Packaging
The ability to create packages based upon the components the customer selects.
Early Bird
A promotion only available for advanced bookings where a minimum number of days are left between the reservation and the date of check in, often a discounted rate with fencing. ;Advertisement
Electronic Distribution (ED)
Encompasses all the electronic channels of distribution, which includes GDS, Online Travel Agencies and Web Booking Engines. These distribution channels can be accessed through the Internet, an intranet or through an interfaced connection.
An Employee is a person who works for the hotel and is paid some form of salary or wage.
Fair Market Share
A hotels individual percentage of the market they should reasonably expect to capture all things being equal based upon their competitive set. Calculated by dividing the number of rooms at the hotel by the total number of rooms in the competitive set (inclusive of the subject hotel).
Rate rules that may include restrictions such as advance booking cutoffs or non-refundable payments.
Flash Sales
A promotional sale by a hotel that is available for purchase by the customers for a limited time only
A Folio is a collection of Charges and Payments incurred or made by a Guest or corporate account, or in-house account, etc
Full-Time Employee
A Full-Time Employee is someone that is employed by the hotel company on a full-time basis and paid a salary or hourly wage, and eligible for benefits
Global Distribution System (GDS)
A reservation platform started by code saring airline partners to enable reseravtions for Airlines. Later on hotels, cars and cruise companies came on board. There are 4 major GDS companies. Sabre, Galileo, Amadeus and WorldSpan (Galileo and WorldSpan are owned by Travelport) offer a comprehensive travel shopping and reservation platform to travel agents worldwide. Agents use one of these systems to book airline, car, hotel and other travel arrangements for their customers. OTAs also use one or more GDS to power some or all of their content on their site.
Gross Operating Profit Per Available Room (GOPPAR)
Calculated as room revenue minus expenses divided by total rooms available. It is the new RevPAR for owners.
A Guest is a person that is currently registered to stay at a property and/or has stayed at a property.
Headlines deliver your message to Galileo travel agents at the point of sale during the shopping and booking process. Click here for more information on Galileo Headlines.
Hosted Payment Collector
A system, typically hosted by the Tokenization Service, designed to collect Payment Card information without going through any Hotel System.
Hosted Payment System
The system that presents a web page where payment information is securely collected; this system also provides a place to store Hotel provided Content Templates
An individual property, or an enterprise that owns, manages, or franchises one or more properties.
Hotel Clerk
A staff member employed by the Hotel or the Hotel’s agent, who interacts with the Customer
Hotel Content Publisher
Publishes Content Templates to the Hosted Payment System to match web site look and feel
Hotel Market Intelligence
Hotel Market Intelligence is the gathering, analysis and dissemination of information relevant to hotel markets. This information's purpose is to help you make effective decisions concerning the distribution of your hotel's room nights. Is your hotel's pricing competitive Is your hotel performing well across channels? How are you doing head-to-head versus your nearby competitors?
Hotel Revenue Management
Hotel Revenue Management is the process of understanding, anticipating and reacting to consumer behavior to maximize revenue. Yield Management is also referred to as Revenue Management.
Hotel System
Any system within the Hotel.
Hotel Web Site
The web site provided by the hotelier; the web presence for the Hotel that can be used to make reservations and/or to create and update Customer profile information.
Housekeeping Asset
A Housekeeping Asset is a consumable item used to maintain a Room-Type such as toilet paper, cleaners, soaps, shampoo, etc. All items are not accounted for.
Housekeeping Request
A Housekeeping Request is a request for housekeeping services to be performed.
Independent Contractor
An Independent Contractor is someone that is not employed by the hotel but is rendering services to/for the hotel and is compensated for services. Since these resources are not considered employees, typical personnel functions and responsibilities do not rest within the responsibilities of the hotel.
Interactive Voice Response System
An Interactive Voice Response (IVR) module, typically part of a telephone system that allows a caller to enter information, via keypad or voice commands.
Internet Distribution System (IDS)
Distribution using the Internet. (OTAs primarily)
Inventory (relative to hotel distribution)
The rooms available that the hotel has to distribute/sell across all channels.
Inventory (relative to Internet Marketing)
The number of ad impressions available for sale on a Website. Ad inventory is determined by the number of ads on a page, the number of pages containing ad space and the number of page requests.
An Invoice is a request for payment made by the hotel to a company with which is does business.
Last Room Availability
Usually used in conjunction with negotiated or consortia rates. It allows agents to book the last room a hotel has available at the contracted rate.
Linen Asset
A Linen Asset is an item used to maintain a Room-Type that is re-used after laundering such as sheets, blankets, towels, etc. These items quantities are tracked, but not the individual assets.
"Lookers to Bookers"(L2B)
Refers to the conversion of online shoppers to actual buyers; often communicated in a ratio.
A Loyalty Program is a marketing program that offers rewards to guests for regular or frequent business. A loyalty program may also be a partnership with loyalty programs of other businesses (airlines for example). Loyalty may be tracked by points or other means.
Maintenance Asset
A Maintenance Asset is an item used by the facilities maintenance staff such as a light bulb, caulk, bolts, screws, brooms, carts, mops, etc. Some of these items are traceable/accountable and some are not.
Maintenance Task
A Maintenance Task is a unit of work performed by a Engineer at the hotel that is part of facilities operations of the Property. A Maintenance Task may be performed in response to a Work Order or requested by a Staff Member who may be acting as an agent for a Guest. A Maintenance Task may be defined by a Job Standard and may be routine, scheduled, or on-demand.
Marketing Campaign
A Marketing Campaign is an activity designed to promote and increase the awareness of the hotel and one or more of its services.
Marketing Channel
A Marketing Channel is any individual or company used in making the hotels products and/or services available to its customers.
Marketing Collateral
Marketing Collateral is the collection of media used to support the sales of a product or service. The media typically describes the hotel and one or more of its services and may be targeted to a specific audience. Source Wikipedia
The difference between the hotel’s selling and the merchant’s price offered to the consumer.
Maximum Length of Stay
A room inventory control function that limits the number of nights a reservation can stay when arriving on a certain date.
Meeting Planner
A person or company that is making reservations on behalf of a group of individuals
Minimum Length of Stay
A room inventory control function that requires a reservation to meet or exceed a certain length of stay (2 or more) in order to complete the reservation.
Multi-Use Tokenization Method
A method of tokenizing Payment Card Data that always maps the same input PAN to the same token.
Night Audit
A Night Audit is a reconciliation of the previous 24 hours of transactions.
"Fill" measure of a hotel calculated by dividing the total number of rooms occupied by the total number of rooms available times 100, e.g. 75% occupancy.
Online Travel Agencies (OTA)
Websites offering comprehensive travel shopping and Reservations Solutions to consumers. Examples include Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline, and many local and regional sites.
Open Travel Alliance
A trade group developing a common standard for the exchange of information in the travel industry.
The practice of booking rooms beyond the capacity of the hotel in anticipation that some guests will not show up
A collection of components being sold at a single price, where the component prices may or may not be known to the consumer.
Part-Time Employee
A Part-Time Employee is someone that is employed by the hotel company on a part-time basis and paid a salary or hourly wage and not eligible for benefits.
A Payable is a liability that the hotel must pay.
A Payment represents remuneration made by the Guest against a specific Folio. A Payment can be in any form such as:
  • Credit-Card
  • Corporate-Account
  • Cash
  • Promotion
  • Loyalty Redemption
  • Purchase Order
  • Tour voucher
Payment Card
Any physical credit or debit card, or electronic representation thereof, that is processed through the electronic payment industry network.
Payment Card Data
The information on a Payment Card that is required for the processing of a transaction.
Payment Service
A party that can authorize and settle payment-card transactions.
Payment Terminal
A physical device capable of capturing and encrypting Payment Card data from the Payment Card presented by the Customer (either by swipe or keypad entry or both), such that it can only be decrypted by the Tokenization Service.
PCI Data Repository
A secure system for storing unformatted or file based Payment Data.
Price Match Guarantee (PMG)
The promise that hotels or OTAs will offer the lowest rates or match the lowest rate available across any channel for the same product.
A Product is a tangible item that can be inventoried and can be offered to a Guest.
A Property is a location owned or operated by the hotel management company.
Property Management System (PMS)
The application used by the hotel to control onsite property activities such as check in/out, folios, guest profiles, room status, requests, etc. PMSs can have interfaces between other applications such as the hotel point-of-sale (POS) or central reservations system (CRS).
Proxy Vault
A secure system that stores sensitive data in a secure manner, preferably in an encrypted form
Purchase Order
A Purchase Order is an agreement made by the hotel to spend a specific amount of money for a specific set of services with one of companies it does business with.
Rate Parity
The strategy that all distribution channels of a hotel should reflect the same rate for the same conditions for a particular room type. Rate parity strengthens customer loyalty and encourages guests to book directly with the hotel where terms/policies may be more flexible, given the same pricing as in other channels.
A Receivable is an amount of money that the hotel must collect. A Receivable may be a Folio or an Invoice.
The record of a request to set aside a room or other resource for use in the future. Source for the following: American Heritage Dictionary via
1. An arrangement by which accommodations are secured in advance, as in a hotel or on an airplane.
2. The record or promise of such an arrangement.
3. The accommodations so secured.
Revenue Management System (RMS)
The software application hotels to control the supply and price of their inventory in order to achieve maximum revenue or profit, by managing availability, room types, stay patterns (future and historical), etc.
Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR)
Calculated by taking the daily room revenue of a hotel and dividing it by the total rooms available at that hotel.
Revenue Per Occupied Room (RevPOR)
Calculated by taking the total daily revenue (including ancillary revenues) and dividing it by the total number of occupied rooms at the hotel.
A Room is an inventoried physical space in the hotel that can be rented by a Guest. A Room is an atomic unit and can not be subdivided for inventory purposes.
Room Block
A Room Block is a group of rooms. Room Blocks may be created to organize rooms in various configurations to aid in planning and sales or other management tasks. Examples of Room Blocks might include: associating rooms with a single fixed price, a single Guest, a Channel, or a single team of Staff Members that manage or maintain the rooms in the block.
Room Inventory
The set of rooms available for stays for a particular date or range of dates.
Room Type
A Room Type represents some form of categorization, set, or collection of rooms with some common element at the hotel that must be managed for marketing purposes within the hotel. For example, a Room-Type might be a suite or a single Room with a double bed, poolside or ocean-side. A Room may belong to multiple Room Types.
A Service is an intangible benefit that can be offered to a Guest.
Service Contract
A Service Contract is a legally binding exchange of services promised and agreements between the hotel and service provider that the law will enforce.
Examples of services are:
  • Telephone service
  • Cable TV and movie service
  • Temporary or other non-employee personnel
  • Alarm and control systems
Service Request
A Service Request is a request for guest services.
Single Image Inventory
The distribution to be such that the consumers should finds the same rates at the same time for the same accommodations, regardless of the booking channel they choose; technology capability that supports/enables this strategy.
Single-Use Tokenization Method
A method of tokenizing Payment Card Data that does NOT map the same input PAN to the same token.
Staff Member
A Staff Member is someone that works at the hotel. A Staff Member can be either employed by the hotel or work for the hotel through a Contract.
Static Pricing
Charging one price for a product regardless of the time of year or the demand in the marketplace.
The period of time that a customer is a guest of a hotel.
Stay Record
A record of a guests previous visit to a hotel.
System of Record
A System of Record is the system that has the core responsibility for collecting and maintaining a specific type of data or information.
Third Party System
A system that accepts and tokenizes credit card data (into a Tokenized Payment Method Record), that may eventually be sent to a Hotel System.
Token Exchanger
A party that will take a token from one Tokenization Service and exchange it for a token from a different Tokenization Service.
Token Retrieval Token
A token that can be used by a specific Third Party System to retrieve raw Payment Card Data from a Tokenization Service.
Tokenization Service
A party that can accept payment card data and return a tokenized or encrypted representation of that data that can be applied to a Payment Service.
Tokenization Service Identifier
An unique identifier for each Tokenization Service
Tokenization Service PAN Viewing Application
A web-based, secure-connection (like SSL) application provided by the Tokenization service which allows entry of a tokenized payment method record identifier in order to display a PAN in a browser.
Tokenized Payment Method Record
A token issued by a Tokenization Service, representing specific Payment Card Data, together with ancillary information such as the Payment Card issuer, card type, and last four digits; also the Tokenization Service Identifier.
Total Revenue Per Available Room (TrevPAR)
Calculated by taking the total revenue of a hotel and dividing by the total inventory of rooms.
Unconstrained Demand (True Demand)
The concept explains the total demand that exists for a certain time period irrespective of the capacity to accommodate it.
User Agent
Browser or application directed by the customer to complete a transaction on their behalf.
One or more rooms available to accommodate guests.
Work Order
A Work Order is a request maintenance work to be performed.
Work Queue
A Work Queue is a set of Tasks or Work Orders that must be performed by a specific set of Staff Members.

General Terms

Query parameters
Examples of potential query parameters include name, email, postal code, phone number, account number.

Key Performance Indicators

These definitions are from The Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry 10th Revised Edition published in 2006 by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute with support from the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals.

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