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20+ Hospitality Industry Terms Defined


Here is an inconclusive list of various hospitality industry terms, words, phrases, buzzwords, neologisms, jargon, and more related definitions.

Updated: 2019-04-20.

In this post, I am concentrating on words related to the hospitality industry, and focusing on the accommodations and restaurant sectors.

There are some great buzzwords here that I have used often, especially lately, without even thinking about it.

(Also, check out the Dauntless Jaunter Travel Glossary for more!)

Couchsurfing – This is a neologism that, though around for a bit now as a description for staying with friends, is just recently starting to enter common travel parlance. Couchsurfing, the travel version, is when a traveler, often due to budget restrictions, stays at a private house in a spare room or on the couch while visiting, hence “couch surfing”. The traveler may have met this Samaritan through friends or family, or through an online site, such as couchsurfing.com. A great way to experience the true culture of the place where you are visiting, because you will experience the daily life of a local and taste more authentic food.

Average Daily Rate (ADR) – The ADR is the total revenue income from rooms sold, divided by the number of rooms. For instance, if a hotel made $150,000 while selling 200 rooms, its ADR would be $150000 / 200 = $750. This is useful to determine the average costs of hotel rooms when searching for rooms by price.

Average Published Rate (APR) – This is the rate obtained when a hotel averages all the various room-types they offer(single, double, suite, penthouse, etc.) throughout all the seasons of the year(different times of the year has different rates), in order to get one average rate for the hotel.

Extended Stay (hotel type) – This is a term that usually means that the hotel or resort property quotes their prices in longer segments than daily rates. Usually, the property will quote per week, and this kind of accommodation is more suitable for families or groups, as it typically has more amenities; extended stay properties usually must have a kitchenette that includes a stove-top burner. Generally, a 5-night stay is the minimum for an extended stay hotel.

A La Carte – When referring to food, perhaps in a room-service or restaurant menu, this indicates that each single item is priced separately. Menu items that are a la carte are priced per item, not as part of a set meal.

Bed Tax – Also known as Transient Occupancy Tax, it is a City or County tax added to the price of the room.

Person Trip Visit – A term that is used to denote every time that a single traveler goes over 100 miles or stays overnight away from their primary domicile; whether for business or for leisure, a person doing completing either of the two is making one person trip visit.

Rack Rate – The list price of a hotel room before any discounts or promotions.

Mattress Run – I’ve listed this before, but figured that I’d better include it here, since it deals with hotels. Similar to a mileage run, a mattress run is executed when a traveler, who is a member of a hotel chain’s frequent stay program, stays a few nights at a hotel with the sole purpose of bulking up on whatever points the hotel’s program offers.

The benefits of doing mattress runs include possible free nights earned, higher status in the program, and more amenities, services, and upgrades offered as the result of the higher status. Hotels typically have offers where guests can earn an increased number of points for stays during these promotions, which are when a lot of mattress runs are undertaken.

American Plan – Sometimes referred to as the Full American Plan, Full Pension, or Full Board, this is a plan where the room rate includes three full meals per day and per guest.

Modified American Plan – A rate plan where breakfast and dinner is included in the price, but not lunch. Also called half pension or demi-pension plan.

Continental Plan – A hotel rate that includes a continental breakfast, but no other meals.

American Breakfast – A breakfast, usually either a self-serve buffet-style, including juices, coffee, cereal, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and other various things. Much more food than the “continental breakfast”.

Continental Breakfast – A small breakfast including items such as coffee, tea, juices, pastries, bagels, rolls, and fruit. Typical in lower-rate hotels and motels, as well as in Europe.

Quin – When referring to hotel rooms, it is a hotel room that can accommodate five people.

Familymoon – A term used to describe a type of honeymoon a newlywed couple can make along with their children from previous relationships.

Junket – A trip that is usually sponsored by another party, outwardly resembling a business trip, at times, but really for pleasure and enjoyment. Many casinos will sponsor junkets to some high rollers, to get them to come back to their casino and gamble money by comping their rooms and meals.

Shoulder Season – The time between high and low seasons, or peak and off-peak seasons. Usually rates are lower than high season, but with temperature and crowds that are similar. Cynics might say that the shoulder season is a term that hotels and airlines use to charge the high rates of peak season, while being able to offer attractions, staff, and resources typical of the off-peak season.

House Limit – The maximum amount the the hotel will allow on credit before requesting payment.

Press Trip – Travels where the main purpose is to write about the destination visited.

E-Key – Electronic Key. Key that is used to prevent hotel guests from entering their rooms. May be used when a guest goes over the house limit and doesn’t pay.

Trundle Bed – Bed that stores itself under another bed, usually on casters.

Frequent Lodger – The hotel industry’s equivalent of a frequent flier; one who stays at a particular hotel chain of properties, mostly to reap rewards from a frequent lodger program.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading these terms, as much as I have learning them. Check back soon for another segment of lingo from another area of the travel industry. Also, check out the Glossary for an immediate definition of the travel term you are looking for.

Christian Eilers
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Christian Eilers
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