Tourism Industry Glossary


AAA – Formerly the American Automobile Association – Network of travel agencies that specialize in tour planning. Based in Orlando.

ABAAmerican Bus Association. Bus owners’ membership organization.

Affinity groups – Groups sharing a common interest. Pre-formed group.

Airbnb– online marketplace and hospitality service, enabling people to lease or rent short-term lodging including vacation rentals, apartment rentals, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms. The company does not own any lodging; it is merely a broker and receives percentage service fees (commissions) from both guests and hosts in conjunction with every booking.

Airline fares: Broad categories are:

~APEX – Advance Purchase Excursion, a heavily discounted excursion fare available on many international routes.

~Excursion – Individual fares that usually require that round-trip travel be completed within specific time limits.

~Group – Discounts from regular fares for groups of varying sizes.

~Tour-Basing – Individual fares that are heavily and variously conditioned, available only on specified routes.

All expense tour – A tour offering all or most services (transportation, lodging, meals, porterage, sightseeing) for a pre-established price. Might not include some airport taxes.

Amenities – Hotel term which covers shampoo, soap, etc. Anything beyond the room and linens.

Amenity package – A cluster of special features, such as free shore excursions, bar or boutique, or wine at dinner, usually offered as a bonus or feature to induce clients to book through a travel agency.

American Bus Associationa trade association for motorcoach operators and tour companies in the United States and Canada. Its membership consists of about 1,000 companies that operate buses or bus-based tours, about 2,800 organizations representing the travel and tourism industry, and several hundred suppliers of buses and related products and services. Its headquarters is in Washington, D.C.[1][  

 American Plan – A type of rate that includes the price of the room, breakfast, luncheon, and dinner. Commonly abbreviated as AP.

ARC – Airline Reporting Corporation – The agency which clears all airline ticket purchases, acts as the liaison between travel agents and the airline whose tickets are being sold. The term stock refers to the computer forms which are blanks, like checks. Loss of stock can result in the travel agency losing its plate, the metal imprint of the agency’s name used in validating a ticket.

ASAEAmerican Society of Association Executives, 1575 “I” Street, Washington, DC 20005-1168, 202-626-ASAE.

ASTA–Acronym for the American Society of Travel Advisors.  A private membership trade association designed to help members operate profitably and uphold the integrity of the travel industry.  1101 King Street, Alexandria, VA  22314, 703-739-ASTA

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

Attraction: Any visitor service or product that tourists would enjoy visiting or using. An attraction may not be an “attractor” but can still be an attraction. To be considered an attraction, a product must be a. Findable (clearly located on maps and street addresses, and directions provided). If tourists can’t find the facility, it is not a tourist attraction.

Average room rate – The total guest room revenue for a given period-occupied room. Since it can be related to investment, this statistic is frequently used as a measure of economic feasibility.

Back To Back–A program of multiple air charters between two or more points with arrivals and departures coordinated to eliminate aircraft deadheading and waiting; that is, when one group is delivered at a destination, another is ready to depart from that point.

Bed and breakfast – B&B – Overnight accommodations in a private home often with a full, “American-style breakfast” (eggs and meat) or “Continental breakfast” (coffee, juice, bread) included in the rate.

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

Bermuda Plan – Hotel accommodations with full American-style breakfast or Continental breakfast included in the rate.

Blackout Dates – dates where special rates/special terms are not available.  

Block – A number of rooms, seats, or spaces reserved, usually by a wholesaler, escorted tour operator, or meeting planner. For example, the Four Points “blocked” many rooms for this conference.

Bonding–The purchase, for a premium, of a guarantee of protection for a supplier or a customer.  In the travel industry, certain bonding programs are mandatory:  ATC insists that travel agents be bonded to protect the airlines against defaults.  Some operators and agents buy bonds voluntarily to protect their clients and for promotional purposes.

Booking form – A document which purchasers of tours must complete to give the operator full particulars about who is buying the tour. Includes tour options and liability clause.

Brand USAan organization dedicated to marketing the United States as a premier travel destination. Its mission is to increase incremental international visitation, spend, and market share to fuel the nation’s economy and enhance the image of the USA worldwide.

Breakage–Expenses budgeted for a tour but not used or expended, thus resulting in additional profit to the tour operator; i.e., meals budgeted but not consumed, currency fluctuations in favor of the tour operator, or the tour selling much larger numbers of passengers than anticipated.

Bulk fare – Fare available only to tour organizers or operators who purchase a specified block of seats.

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: A company that provides transportation services, such as motorcoach companies, airlines, cruise lines, and rental car agencies.

Cash Flow–Monies available to meet the tour operator’s daily operating expenses as opposed to equity, accounts receivable, or other credits not immediately accessible.

Certified Public Manager – CPM is a United States professional designation established in 1979 to improving performance and advancing best practice standards for public sector managers

Certified Tour Professional – CTP – A designation conferred upon tour professionals who completed prescribed academic study, professional service, and evaluation requirements. The program is administered by the National Tour Foundation, a part of the National Tour Association (NTA) in Lexington, Ky.

Certified Tour Industry Specialist-CTIS – A designation conferred upon tour professionals who completed prescribed academic study, professional service, and evaluation requirements. The program is administered by the American Bus Association (ABA) in Washington, DC.

Charter: To hire the exclusive use of any aircraft, motor coach, or other vehicles.

Circle tour – A journey with stopovers that returns to the point of departure without retracing its route.

City tour – A sightseeing trip through a city, usually lasting a half-day or full-day, during which a guide points out that city’s highlights.

CLIACruise Lines International Association. Non-profit trade association specializing in training affiliate travel agent members on how to sell cruises.

Closeout–Finalization of a tour, cruise, or other similar group travel project after which time no further clients are accepted.  Any unsold air or hotel space is released, and final lists and payments are sent to all suppliers.

Commercial rate – A special rate agreed upon by a company and a hotel. Lower than the rack rate.

Commission – The premium amount, which may vary, that a travel agency receives from the supplier for selling transportation, accommodations, tickets, or other services. 10-15% is common.

Commissionable tours – A tour available for sale through retail and wholesale travel agencies which provides for a profit to each level of purchase.

Common Carrier–Anyone or any organization that offers transport for a fee.

Concessionaire – Those firms which under special contract rights operate for another party food, beverage, lodging, and/or services on-site at an attraction. Morrison’s, for example, is a concessionaire at many hospitals and lodges. ARA used to be the Alabama state parks concessionaire.

Conditions–The section or clause of a transportation or tour contract that specifies what is not offered and may spell out the circumstances under which the contract may be invalidated in all or in part.

Confirmed room reservation – Not valid after 6 p.m. unless a guest has specified late arrival and confirmed with a credit card number, in which case they will pay for the room even if they do not arrive.

Consortium–A loosely knit group of independently owned and managed companies such as travel agencies, tour operators, hotels, etc., with a joint marketing distribution process.

Consumer show: A product showcase for the general public. Differs from a “trade show” as a trade show generally targets industry professionals.

Continental breakfast – At a minimum, a beverage (coffee, tea, or milk) and rolls or toast. Sometimes includes fruit juice and/or fruit.

Contractor–A land operator who provides services to wholesalers, tour operators, and travel agents.

Convention and Visitors bureau – CVBs – Nonprofit organization supported by room taxes, government budget, allocations, private memberships, or a combination. A CVB typically encourages groups to hold meetings, conventions, tradeshows in their city; assists those groups with advance preparation, and promotes tourism. A primary concern is how many room nights an event will sell.

Conversion: Getting “heads in beds” or otherwise closing the sale.

Conversion Study – Research study to analyze whether advertising respondents 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.

Co-op Tour–Selling a tour through wholesalers, cooperatives, or other outlets to increase sales and reduce the possibility of tour cancellations.

Cooperative Marketing – Marketing programs involving two or more participating companies, institutions, or organizations.

Cooperative Partner – An independent firm or organization which works with a tourism office by providing cash or in-kind contributions to expand the marketing impact of the tourism office program.

Costing–Process of itemizing and calculating all costs the tour operator will pay on a given tour.  Usually the function of the operations manager.

CTC–Certified Travel Counselor.  A designation attesting to professional competence as a travel agent.  It is conferred upon travel professionals with five years or more industry experience who have completed a two-year graduate-level travel management program offered by The Travel Institute located in Framington, MA.

CTP–Acronym for Certified Tour Professional.  A designation awarded to individuals employed in any segment of the group travel industry.  The CTP designation is earned through completion of prescribed academic, independent study, association service, group travel employment, and final evaluation requirements.  The CTP Program is sponsored by National Tour Association

Cultural tourism: Travel for purpose of learning about cultures or aspects of cultures

Customized Tour–A tour designed to fit the specific needs of a target market.

Customs–The federal agency charged with collecting duty on specified items imported into the country.  The agency also restricts the entry of forbidden items.

Cut-off Date–The designated day when the buyer must release or add function room or bedroom commitments.

Day Rate–A reduced rate granted for the use of a guest room during the daytime, not overnight occupancy.  Specific examples are theuse of a guest room by someone as a display room or office, or for persons delayed at transportation terminals by weather or missed connections.

Deluxe Tour -In travel usage, presumably “of the highest standard.”

Departure Tax – Fee collected from a traveler by the host country at the time of departure.

Deposit – A specified amount or a percentage of the total bill due on a specified date prior to arrival.

Deregulation -The act of deregulating the travel industry, specifically the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 amending the Federal Aviation Act of 1958.  Provided for the end of regulations over domestic airlines on January 1, 1985, for removing travel agency exclusivity, thus paving the way for carriers to appoint and pay commissions to non-travel agents, and for removal of antitrust immunity for travel agents.  The motorcoach industry was deregulated in 1982 (ex parte 96).

Destination management company (DMC): A for-profit company that operates like a CVB by providing planning and execution services for the convention and meeting market.

Destination Marketing Organization – A destination marketing organization (DMO) or convention and visitors bureau (CVB) is an organization that promotes a town, city, region, or country to increase the number of visitors. It promotes the development and marketing of a destination,  focusing on convention sales, tourism marketing, and services.

Docent: A tour guide who works free of charge at a museum.

DOT–Acronym for Department of Transportation.  Handle consumer complaints and regulations pertaining to the travel industry.  400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC  20590, 202-366-4000.

Double occupancy rate – pp (per person) – The price per person for a room to be shared with another person. The rate most frequently quoted in tour brochures. Also, used in hotel package ads. A surcharge is usually added for only one person in the room/cabin.

Downgrade -To move to a lesser accommodation or class of service.

Ecotour: A tour designed to focus on preserving the environment, or to environmentally sensitive areas.

Economy Fare or Services-In U. S. domestic airline operations, passenger carriage at a level below coach service.  In international operations, carriage at a level below first-class

Economic Impact – Net change in an economy caused by activity involving the acquisition, operation, development, and use of facilities and services.

Elderhostel–Programs offered to persons over age 60 who want to study and travel.  Accommodations are provided in college dormitories

Errors and Omissions Insurance–Coverage equivalent to malpractice insurance, insuring an agent’s or operator’s staff should an act of negligence, error or omission occur causing a client great hardship or expense, often referred to as E and O insurance.

Escort – A person who accompanies a tour from departure to return, or performs that function at a destination.

Escorted tour – A prearranged travel program with an escort who travels the length of the trip. Common among motorcoach groups.

Escrow Accounts-Funds placed in the custody of licensed financial institutions for safekeeping.  Many contracts in travel require that agents and tour operators maintain customer’s deposits and prepayments in escrow accounts.

ESTO: U.S. Travel Association’s Educational Seminar for Tourism Organizations (ESTO) is the only national forum where destination marketing professionals at the state, regional and local level get critical tools, tips and information to help them better market and grow their destinations.

Ethnic Tour–A tour designed for people of the same heritage traveling to their native origin or to a destination with ethnic relevance.

European Plan – EP-A type of rate that includes only the price of the room.

Event or Tournament Management – Process by which an event is planned, prepared, and produced. Encompasses the assessment, dentition, acquisition, allocation, direction, control, and analysis of time, ­nuances, people, products, services, and other resources to achieve objectives.

Event Manager – Responsible for overseeing and arranging every aspect of an event, including researching, planning, organizing, implementing, and evaluating an event’s design, activities, and production.

Event Owner – Youth sports, multi-sport, national governing bodies (NGBs), grassroots programs and any other organization that owns events that are bid out and/or awarded.

Excursion–Journey where the traveler returns to the original point of departure.

Executive coach – A luxury motor coach with seating of 25 or less which can include such amenities as TV, gallery, wet bar, card table.

Extension-A fully arranged sub-tour offered optionally at extra cost to buyers of a tour or cruise.  Extensions may occur before, during or after the basic travel program.

Facility Guide – Document or online listing of sports facilities in the local area that can be utilized for hosting sporting events. Should include details of facilities including seating capacity, floor dimensions, lighting available, air/heating system, etc.

Fam tour – familiarization tour – A complimentary or reduced-rate travel program for travel agents and/or travel writers and travel professionals designed to acquaint them with a specific destination to stimulate the sale of travel. Do not usually cover incidentals such as bar tabs. Also, called “fams” or “familiarization tours.”

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

F.I.T. – Frequent Independent Travel – Custom designed prepared tour with many individual arrangements.

Fixed Expense–Expenses related to the tour which do not vary with the number of passengers in the group; i.e., promotional costs, tour manager’s expenses, charters, etc.

Fly/drive tour: A F.I.T. package that always includes air travel and a rental car and sometimes other travel components.

Folio–An itemized record of a guest’s charges and credits, which is maintained in the front office until departure.  Also, referred to as a guest bill and a guest statement.

Freelance Writer–An individual writer who may contract or “spec” a story for purpose of selling it to a newspaper or magazine.  Many writers will have a specific affiliation with a travel publication and with SATW.

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

Fulfillment – Servicing consumers and trade who request information because of advertising or promotional programs.

Full-service restaurants– This category includes coffee shops, dinner houses, fine dining, and theme restaurants with several menu selections and table service.

Function – A prearranged catered group activity, such as a banquet or cocktail party.

Gateway – City, airport, or area from which a flight or tour arrives.

Global Distribution System-GDS – a network operated by a company that enables automated transactions between travel service providers(mainly airlines, hotels, and car rental companies) and travel agencies.  Travel agencies traditionally relied on GDS for services, products & rates in order to provision travel-related services to the end consumers.

Governor’s Conference. The informal name of Alabama’s statewide tourism industry annual meeting. Sometimes the governor attends, sometimes not. Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism

Grassroots Event – Sports competitions featuring amateur athletes from “8 to 80”

Ground operator – A company or individual providing such services as hotel accommodations, sightseeing, transfers, and other related services. Also, known as a receptive operator.

Group inclusive tour – A prepaid tour of specified minimum group size, ingredients, and value.

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

Group Leader–An individual group member designated to work directly with a tour operator or travel agent in organizing, planning, and booking a tour group.

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

Group Tour–A prearranged, prepaid travel program for a group usually including transportation, accommodations, attraction admissions, and meals.

Guaranteed Tour-A tour guaranteed to operate unless canceled before an established cut-off date, usually 60 days prior to departure.

“Heads in Beds” – Occupied hotel rooms.

Host Organization – Sports commission, destination marketing organizations (DMO), park and recreation department, venue, and any other organization that host sporting events.

Hub and spoke tours – Tours that utilize a central destination with side trips to nearby destinations.

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

Incidentals – Charges incurred by the participants of a tour, but which are not included in the tour price.

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

Independent Contractor-Person contractually retained by another (other than as an employee) to perform certain specific tasks.  The other person has no control over the independent contractor other than as provided in the contract.  In the context of group travel, a tour manager or tour brochure designer/writer might be retained in this capacity.

Independent Tour–An unescorted tour sold through agents to individuals.  For one price the client receives air travel, a hotel room, attraction admissions, and typically, a car rental.

Intermediate Carrier–A carrier that transports a passenger or piece of baggage as part of an interline movement, but on which neither the point of origin nor destination is located.

Intermodal Tour–Tour using more than one means of transportation.  For example, a tour operator could start a tour by bus and return by plane.

ITB Berlin – (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) is the world’s largest tourism trade fair.  The companies represented at the fair include hotels, tourist boards, tour operators, system providers, airlines, and car rental companies.

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

Itinerary: Travel schedule provided by a travel agent for his/her customer. A proposed or preliminary itinerary may be rather vague or specific. A final itinerary however provides all details (flight numbers, departure times, reservation confirmation numbers) and describes planned activities.

IPW– the travel industry’s premier international marketplace and the largest generator of travel to the U.S.—it is not a typical trade show.

Land Operator-A company that provides local services, transfers, sightseeing, guides, etc.

Lead Time-Advance time or length of time between initiating a tour and its departure date.

Leg – A portion on a journey between two scheduled stops.

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

Letter of Agreement-A letter from the buyer to the supplier accepting the terms of the proposal.  This may also be the supplier’s initial proposal that has been initiated by the buyer.

Load Factor–Average number of seats occupied.

Local Organizing Committee (LOC) – Group of individuals in the community who form an ad-hoc committee to manage the procurement and running of sports events.

Low season – That time of year at any given destination when traffic, and rates, are at their lowest. Off-peak or off-season.

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

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

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

Mystery tour – A tour to an unpublicized destination. The passengers are not told their destination until en route or upon arrival.

NTA National Tour Association – A membership organization of motorcoach suppliers and buyers based in Lexington, Ky. Its major event is the November convention.

Net wholesale rate – A rate usually slightly lower than the wholesale rate, applicable to groups of individuals when a hotel is specifically mentioned in a tour folder. Marked up by wholesalers.

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

Occupancy – The percentage of available rooms occupied for a given period. It is computed by dividing the number of rooms occupied by the number of rooms available for the same period.

Off-peak – A reference to a fare during the slowest time of year.

OMCAOntario Motorcoach Association.   The strong inclusive network of interdependent businesses producing results greater than the sum of their individual parts. Membership required.

Operations-Performing the practical work of operating a tour or travel program.  Usually involves the in-house control and handling of all phases of the tour, both with suppliers and with clients.

 Operations Manager-Individual in charge of performing the practical and detailed work of tour operations.

Operator-A term that may mean contractor, tour operator, or wholesaler, or a combination of any or all those functions.

 Option Date–The date agreed upon when a tentative agreement is to become a definite commitment by the buyer.

OTA – Online travel agency.

Outbound–Travel departing locally, headed for destinations out-of-state or out of the country.

Outbound Operation–A company that takes groups from a given city or country to another city or country.

Outbound Tour–Any tour which takes groups outside a given city/country to another city/country.  In contrast to inbound tours.

Overbook–Accepting reservations for more space than is available.

Override–A commission over and above the normal base commission percentage.

Pacing-Fullness or emptiness, fastness or slowness of a tour itinerary.  The scheduling of activities within an itinerary to make for a realistic operation and to give a certain balance of travel time, sightseeing, social events, and free time and rest.

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.

Passport-Government document permitting a citizen to leave and reenter the country.

PAX – Industry abbreviation for passengers.

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.”

Port of Entry-Destination providing customs and immigration services.

Pre-formed Group – A group of people who want to travel together.  The group requests a tour operator to plan their trip. Pre/Post Trip Tours–Optional extension or side-trip package before or after a meeting, gathering, or convention.

Press Trips – Organized trips for travel writers and broadcasters for purpose of assisting them in developing stories about tourism destinations. Often, journalists travel independently, though with the assistance of a state’s office of tourism or local DMO.

Pricing-Decision making process of ascertaining what price to charge for a given tour once total costs are known.  Involves determining the markup, studying the competition, and evaluating the tour value for the price to be charged.  Usually a management function.

Primary Market-Foreign countries where the U. S. Travel & Tourism Association (USTTA) maintains an office.

Proof of Citizenship-A document, necessary for obtaining a passport, that establishes one’s nationality to the satisfaction of a foreign government.

Protected-As in “commissions protected,” “agents protected,” or “all departures protected”:  a guarantee by a supplier or wholesaler to pay commissions, plus full refunds to clients, on prepaid, confirmed bookings regardless of subsequent cancellation of a tour or cruise.  See guaranteed tour.

Property – A hotel, motel, inn, lodge, or another accommodation facility.

Rack card: The typical tourism brochure sized 4” x 9” and used primarily in tourism racks

Rack rate – Regular published rate of a hotel or other tourism service. Usually, the highest rate can be discounted for groups or on weekends to entice traffic.

Reach – The percentage of people within a specific target audience reached by an advertising campaign or social media post.

Receptive operator – An operator who specializes in services for incoming visitors. Inbound.

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

Request for Proposal (RFP) – A document that outlines the requirements to host an event/meeting/. Should include requirements for the following: hotel rooms, bid fee, facility, estimated # of participants, complimentary services, meal service, etc.

Reservations Systems-Computerized systems leased to travel agents offering hotel, airline, car rental, and other travel arrangements.  Systems affiliated with major carriers:  Sabre (American), Apollo (United), PARS (TWA), and DATAS II (Delta) feature flight schedules for major carriers plus additional travel products, usually at reduced rates.

Resort-Nearly all resorts are in regions associated with recreation and leisure, such as the mountains, seashore, or natural or man-made attractions.   A resort hotel or motel offers or is located near facilities for sports and recreational activities such as tennis, swimming, sailing, etc.

Responsibility Clause–That section of a brochure that spells out the conditions under which a tour is sold.  It should include the name(s) of the company(ies) that is financially responsible.

Retail pricing  – full ticket price without discounts

Retailer-Travel agent/tour operator companies that sell travel packages (full or partial) directly to consumers.

Risk Monies-Funds that an agency would not recoup should a tour not materialize; i.e., non-refundable deposits to suppliers, promotional expenditures, printing expenses.

ROI – Return on Investment

Rooming list – Alphabetized list of names of arriving group.

Room nights – The number of rooms multiplied by the number of nights used by a group.

SATW –   Society of American Travel WritersA professional organization comprised of the travel industry’s most experienced journalists, photographers, editors, broadcast/video/film producers, bloggers, website owners, public relations experts, and hospitality industry representatives from the United States, Canada and beyond.

STS – Southeast Tourism Society – Membership organization-non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism throughout the Southeast United States. Comprised of fourteen regions: Alabama, Arkansas, The District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia.

Sales Mission/Blitz – Where suppliers from one DMO travel together to another state or country to collectively promote 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 wholesalers, or other members of the travel trade congregate to receive briefings about tourism destinations

SeasonsHigh Season-The period of the year when occupancy/usage of a hotel/motel/attraction is usually the highest.  High usage also invariably means higher prices for rooms or admission.  Also, referred to as on-season, peak season, peak fare, peak rate.  Low Season-The period of the year when occupancy/usage of a hotel/motel/attraction is normally the lowest.  Low usage also invariably means lower prices for rooms or admission.  Also, referred to as off-peak, off-season, value season.  Shoulder Season-That period when there is neither a high nor a low demand for a destination.  Usually spring and fall months for areas.

Series Operator-A travel agent, wholesaler, tour operator or broker, etc., who blocks space in advance for a series of movements over a given period, not necessarily on a back-to-back basis.

Service charge – A 10-15% fee imposed which relieves a guest of tipping.

Shore Excursion–Land tours, usually available at ports of call, sold by cruise lines or tour operators to cruise passengers.

Sightseeing Guide-A guide who narrates while driving a vehicle.

Single Supplement-An extra charge assessed to a tour purchased for single accommodations.

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 plan.

Special Event Tour-A tour designed around an event, i.e., Shrimp Festival, Mardi Gras, or W. C. Handy Festival.

Special Interest Tour-A tour designed to appeal to clients with curiosity or a concern about a specific subject.  Most such items provide an expert tour leader and usually visit places and/or events of special interest to the participants.

Special Market-Foreign countries with high potential for U. S. travel, but without a USTTA office.  U. S. promotional activities under the guidance of Visit USA Committees.  Often with the cooperation of the U. S. and Foreign Commercial Service, an agency of the U. S. Commerce Department.

Sports Commission – Organization created to support the development and hosting of amateur sporting events in their community. May be born out of a chamber of commerce, destination marketing organizations (DMO), or be a department within a bureau.

Sports ETA Sports Events & Tourism Association As the only non-profit 501(c)3 trade association for the sport tourism industry. Formerly known as the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC). IT is the most trusted resource for sports commissions, destination marketing organizations (DMOs), vendors, and sports event owners.

Sports Tourism Industry – Niche of the tourism industry that uses the hosting of sporting events to attract visitors to communities.

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.

Stakeholders: Parties who may be affected by agency decisions and actions (i.e., user groups, elected officials, commercial interests, environmentalists, park managers, tourism industry representatives, consumers, host countries, host communities, funders and financiers, and others).

“Stay to Play”– Rule used by some events which require participants to utilize certain hotels to be eligible to participate in the competition.

Step-on guide: A highly knowledgeable guide who “steps-on” an incoming motor coach and provides narrative interpretation for the experience. Some CVBs offer step-on guides for free. Sometimes an independent company offers this service for a fee.

Stripped Package-(a) A package that includes the bare minimum of ingredients necessary to qualify it for an IT number; (b) Any package or tour offering inferior accommodations and/or omitting some of the many features usually included in an inclusive tour.

Supplier – The actual producer of a unit of travel merchandise: airline, hotel, restaurant, attraction. Also, CVBs. At NTA, if you are not a “buyer” or tour operator, you are a “supplier.”

Surety Bonds–Insurance to guarantee that an insuree will carry out the specific work he or she was hired to do.

Tariff-(a) Fare or rate from a supplier; (b) Class or type of fare or rate; (c) Published list of fares or rates from a supplier; (d) Official publication compiling fares or rates and conditions of services.

Themed/Special Interest Tour-A tour designed around a specific theme with special interest to the participants, such as fall foliage.

SYTA Student and Youth Travel Association-non-profit, a professional trade association that promotes student & youth travel and seeks to foster integrity and professionalism among student and youth travel service providers.

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

Target Rating Points – TRPÕs is a statistical measurement that allows one to evaluate the relative impact of different advertising campaigns.

Tiered pricing: When suppliers offer different prices to receptive operators, tour operators, and group leaders, so each party can earn a profit by marking up the supplier’s price while still offering a fair price to customers.

TOT – Transient Occupancy Tax.

Tour Catalog-A publication by tour wholesalers listing all their tour offerings.  Catalogs are distributed to retail agents who make them available to their customers.  Bookings by retail agents are commissionable.

Tour Departure-The date of the start of any individual or group of a travel program; by extension, the entire operation of that single tour.

Tour Operator – Develops, markets, and operates group travel programs that provide a complete travel experience for one price and include 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 voucher – Documents issued by tour operators to be exchanged for accommodations, meals, sightseeing, and other services. Sometimes called coupons.

Tour Wholesaler – An individual or company that sells tour packages and tour products 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 – is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours.

Trade mission – Group tour with a business rather than a vacation purpose. Usually planned for business or government representatives traveling overseas to secure new business.

Trade show: A product showcase for a specific industry. Generally, it is not open to the public. Differs from a “Consumer Show” in that a trade show targets the professional industry, while a consumer show targets consumers.

Transfers – Local transportation and luggage handling from an airport to a hotel. Included in packages.

TBEX – Travel Bloggers Exchange-largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands, and industry professionals.

TMP – Travel Marketing Professional-certification received upon completion of the three-year Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College held at the University of North Georgia.

Travel South USA – An agency formed by Southern state tourism directors that promote international travel to the South.

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 Blogger – someone whose main income-generating activities are derived from the site or sites that they own and manage. Travel bloggers need to travel to constantly produce new material to keep their sites fresh and bring in traffic to please their advertisers

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.

U.S. Travel Association.  A non-profit organization that represents all segments of the travel industry.  Its mission is to promote travel to and within the United States.  1100 New York Avenue NW, Suite 450 Washington, DC  20005, 202-408-8422.

Value season – The time of year when prices are lowest.

Vendor – Hotels, sports publications, insurance companies, consulting and research ­firms, housing services, and any other company that supplies products and services to the sport tourism industry.

Viator – a large online booking company that specializes in attractions and experience ticketing.  Viator, a Tripadvisor company, makes it easy to find and book travel.

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 commerce or tourism promotion organization.

VRBO – Vacation Rentals By Owners- a website where you can book a stay at a property that the owner or manager is not personally using now, and has instead made available for rent.

VRMA– Vacation Rental Management Association

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

WTMWorld Travel Market– International Travel Trade Show