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Industry Terminology


Amadeus is the largest global distribution system (GDS) provider, serving over 200 markets around the world. Amadeus serves many different companies including airlines, travel agents, hotel operators and car rental companies.


Apollo – Apollo is a global distribution system (GDS) operated by Galileo International. Marketed in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa under the Galileo name and in the United States. Canada, Mexico, and Japan as Apollo.


Average Daily Rate (ADR) - Figure derived by dividing actual daily revenue by the total number of rooms sold


Best Available Rate (BAR) - The lowest non-restricted rate bookable by all guests.


Blocked         1. Group of rooms held  for a specific customer with a negotiated rate

                          2.  Inventory closed


Booking - Term used to refer to a completed sale or reservation.


Booking Engine – The behind-the-scenes system that provides reservations functionality for an Internet site.  A GDS, PMS or Reservation service provider (such as a switch company) may provide this functionality.


Central Reservation Office (CRO) – A phone center (typically toll-free) operated by hotel companies to process telephone reservations and electronic reservations as well as to perform other marketing functions.


(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).


Chain Code – The two-character code used to identify hotel chains within a GDS. Chain codes may vary by GDS.


Chambers of Commerce - Typically, a Chamber of Commerce will specialize in local economic development that can include tourism promotion.  (C of C - Chamber of Commerce)


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.


Closed to Arrival - A room inventory control function that prevents reservations from arriving on that date but not through the date.

Close out - Hotel rooms made unavailable


Commissions - A percent of the total reservation cost paid to travel agents. Industry standard for travel agents is 10%


Competitive Set - The group of competitive hotels within the market.  A hotel’s competition.


Connectivity – The data communication process linking global distribution systems to hotel company central reservation systems. The most common mode is seamless connectivity.


Consortia - Marketing organizations that link together small to medium sized independent travel agencies to leverage purchasing power and marketing opportunities.


Convention and Visitors Bureau - These organizations are local tourism marketing organizations specializing in developing conventions, meetings, conferences and visitations to a city, county or region.  (CVB - Convention and Visitors Bureau.)


Direct Connect Availability (DCA) – Sabre’s seamless connectivity product that enables users to view rates, availability and other property information drawn directly from hotel central reservation systems.


Distressed Inventory – Hotel rooms normally discounted at the last minute to ensure that the property will fill to capacity.


Dynamic Packaging-The ability to create packages based upon the components the customer selects.


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.


Expedia.com - an online travel agent, offers hotel, air and car suppliers worldwide.


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 City - An outlying city which feeds travelers to hubs or gateway cities.


Galileo – A global distribution system serving users in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa.

The Galileo system is managed by Galileo International, a subsidiary of Cendant Corporation, and uses “RoomMaster” for hotel bookings.

GDS (Global Distribution Systems) Sabre, Galileo, Amadeus and Worldspan 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.


Geo-coding – The process of defining locations using degrees of longitude and latitude.


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


Hotel Booking Solutions – (HBSI) develops and provides unique, revolutionary solutions to connect and manage bottom line results for the hospitality industry. Its premier product, hobooBox TM , is a channel management software which increases hotel occupancy, minimizes labor costs and increases the efficiency of hotels' reservation systems, by allowing hotels to manage multiple distribution channels seamlessly from their PMS or CRS.


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


Hit - An action on the website, such as when a user views a page or downloads a file.


Home Page - The page designated as the main point of entry of a Website (or main page), or the starting point when a browser first connects to the Internet.


Hospitality Industry - Another term for the Travel Industry.


Hotelligence - Hotelligence reports provide historical electronic booking data from the Global Distribution Systems (GDS), including information on business sources, rates and length-of-stay patterns, for both individual subscriber properties and their local competitive sets.


Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA) – The organization of hotel marketing automation staff formed in 1991 to advance communication, procedures and technology for the sale of hotel accommodations through the Global Distribution Systems.


Hotwire - is a leading discount travel site for airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, cruises and vacation packages. Launched in 2000, Hotwire negotiates deep discounts from its travel suppliers to help distribute their excess inventory.


Interface - A connection between two networks without intermediary.  Most often refers to a connection between a PMS/CRS and an OTA. Also known as Integration, Direct Connect and Interfaced Connections.


International Air Transport Association (IATA) – Geneva-based association of airline companies that operate international services and establish standard practices. IATA accredits would-be travel agents throughout the world. This certification includes issuance of an ID-code, termed an IATA number. IATA numbers are used as the travel agent identifier in reservations to allow suppliers, including hotels, to pay commissions.


Internet Distribution System (IDS) - Distribution using the Internet, World Wide Web, Intranets, extranets and on-line services.


Inventory (relative to hotel distribution) - The rooms available that the hotel has to distribute/sell across all channels.


Last Room Availability (LRA) - 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.


Lead Time Restriction - A room inventory control function that requires a reservation to meet or exceed a specified advance notice in order to complete the reservation.


Length of Stay (LOS) - Figure derived by dividing the number of room nights by the number of bookings.


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


Lookers to Bookers - Refers to the conversion of online shoppers to actual buyers; often communicated in a ratio.


Markup - The difference between the hotel’s selling and the merchant’s price offered to the consumer.


Market Share - The percentage of business within a market category.


Merchant Rate Program – A Net rate provided to travel sites such as Orbitz.com, Priceline.com, Travelocity.com, and Expedia.com. Commonly includes marketing and preferred placement for the hotel participant.


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.


National Business Travel Association (NBTA) – The National Business Travel Association

(NBTA) is the collective and authoritative voice of business travel management. They provide a forum for the constructive exchange of information and ideas among members. NBTA is dedicated to enhancing the educational advancement and image of the profession. Direct members are corporate travel managers with the support of allied members such as airlines, hotels, car rental companies, etc


Negotiated Rate – A term used in global distribution systems to describe rates negotiated by a hotel company with a specific client. Viewership of these rates in the GDS (by a travel agent or other GDS user) is restricted, and the rate may be booked only after entry of either the agent or client identification code.


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


Next Generation Seamless GDS Connectivity - An interface or connection between a CRS system and the four major GDS channels. The term “Next Generation Seamless” is used to illustrate the tight, reliable integration between a CRS and a GDS.


No Show - A customer with a reservation who fails to show up and does not cancel.


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


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 (OTA) – A non-profit organization working to establish a common electronic vocabulary for use in the exchange of travel information.


Orbitz.com - is an Internet travel company based in Chicago, and owned by the Cendant Corporation.


Organic Search Listings - Organic search listings are those sites that appear on search results pages (SERPs) that have not been paid for as part of a pay per click or pay for position campaign.


Overbooking – The practice of taking more reservations for a given date than there are hotel rooms in expectation that the number of cancellations and no-shows will bring the number of reservations to or below maximum occupancy.


Passenger Name Record (PNR) – The GDS file or record that contains information about a passenger’s travel plans, including flight itinerary, hotel booking segments, car rental booking segments, and related details.


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.


Pegasus - distribution service offers "seamless connectivity" between the GDSs (above) and the hotel central reservations systems through its GDS Seamless Interface. This allows travel agents to "search and shop" for the right hotel room on a real-time basis.


Priceline.com –A leading Internet-based travel auction site, is powered by the Worldspan GDS. Priceline.com offers leisure airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, vacation packages and cruises. Priceline.com owns and operates the retail travel Web sites Travelweb.com, Activereservations.com, Lowestfare.com, RentalCars.com and BreezeNet.com.


Preferred Placement - Providing enhanced visibility for hotels on travel agent terminals (GDS) and Internet Travel Sites through ranking strategies.


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).


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


Pseudo-City Code (PCC) – Identifier that distinguishes one travel agency location from another and can also be referred to as a Subscriber ID. A Pseudo-city code (PCC) is usually a three to five character code (alpha, numeric, or combination) depending upon the GDS. PCCs are necessary when adding negotiated rates, as these rates can be “defined” or secured to an agency by using their PCC.


Rack Rate - The standard publicly sold rate plan. (Traditionally the highest priced rate plan)


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.


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


Representation Company – An organization that provides reservation services, including processing of voice reservation requests and/or GDS connectivity for hotels or small hotel companies that prefer not to operate these services and systems themselves.


Request for Proposal (RFP) – A company’s formal solicitation for bids on business from suppliers such as travel agencies, hotels or car rental companies.


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.


Run Of House (ROH) – Refers to a basic room type with no guarantee of specific amenities.   


Sabre – is a GDS offered by Sabre Holdings. Sabre Holdings is a provider of travel technology services and electronic travel distribution for the travel and transportation industries.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - The process of increasing the amount of visitors to website or page by ranking high in the search results of a search engine.  The higher a Website ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that that site will be visited by a user. SEO helps to ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be found by the search engine users.


Sell Through – A hotel CRS inventory control function. Indicates that arrivals or short multiple night reservations cannot be confirmed for this date, but reservations with arrival on a previous date and a long length of stay can be confirmed.


Switch Company – An organization that provides communication connections, data communication and data reformatting services to link global distribution systems and hotel central reservation systems. The two principal switch companies are Pegasus Solutions and WizCom International.


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


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 typically 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.


Travelocity.com - is an online travel agency that pulls most of its hotel rooms through the GDS operated by parent company Sabre . Travelocity is the sixth-largest travel agency in the US. In addition to its primary US consumer site, Travelocity operates a full-service business agency, Travelocity Business, and comparable websites in Canada, Germany, France, Scandinavia, and the UK, and is a partner in Asian travel hubs Tabini and Zuji. Other brands include Site59.com, World Choice Travel, and Showtickets.com.


TravelWeb.com - is owned by Priceline.com, and powered by the Pegasus. Travelweb offers specially negotiated published-price accommodations for thousands of quality hotels around the world, including those owned and affiliated with Travelweb's founding hotel partners: Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Starwood and Pegasus Systems.


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.


Walk – Hotel industry term for placing an arriving guest at a substitute hotel due to lack of available accommodation at the initially reserved property. Often the oversold hotel will pay for the substitute room for the first evening as well as for taxi fare to the second property and one or two telephone calls.


Web Analytics - The process of analyzing visitor activity on a website. Web analytics also includes the measurement of metrics to determine site effectiveness.


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


Worldspan is a GDS that provides software used by travel agents to book airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, etc. Worldspan was formed in early 1990 when Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, and Trans World Airlines decided to merge their reservations systems into a single system.


Yield Management - Hotel Yield Management is the process of understanding, anticipating and reacting to consumer behavior to maximize revenue.  Yield Management is also referred to as Revenue Management.