The Dummies Guide to Hospitality Abbreviations!

Let us be frank here, we all think we know all the abbreviations in the hospitality industry but be honest now, there is some new or not so new ones that pop out of nowhere (well feels like nowhere) and take us by surprise. Thankfully, we have compiled what we call a “dummies guide to hospitality abbreviations” to make you feel all so powerful again – don’t worry we won’t tell anyone your secret 😉

Some of the abbreviations we have included you may have heard or seen before, but with our “guide” we would like to think we are enlightening someone out there, far far away in the world of hospitality.

We would like to start off with including a bit more of a description on your standard or well-known abbreviations. The goal thereof to better equip you with the knowledge of how to utilise these abbreviations and their purpose in your future endeavours.

Further to our detail on some of the abbreviations, we have also included a list below of your self-descriptive abbreviations which is worth a browse through, not too long I promise! We do believe with such a list in hand, one can go and conquer – it is like your typical term “street smart” but specifically in the hospitality abbreviation realm.

It is amazing to see once you get started, on how many abbreviations and unique terms exist and can be used in the hospitality industry. Going forward, we see abbreviations as an interesting subject to be delved into, discussed and shared.


ADR = Average Daily Rate

This is your actual daily room revenue and can be calculated by dividing revenue generated from income from hotel rooms sold by the total number of rooms sold.

ARR = Average Room Rate

For those wanting to go “out the norm” and be unique, here’s an alternative term you can use to Average Daily Rate.

BAR = Best Available Rate

The most dreaded rate structure by some……just joking! This is your “best available” rate at the time of booking for guests. It can be amended several times a day or week depending on the establishment’s occupancy or revenue strategy.

RN = Room Nights

This can sometimes be confused with Bed Nights (give me a minute, I’ll get to it) and is rather calculated by the rooms blocked or occupied multiplied by the number of nights each room is reserved or occupied. Bed Nights, on the other hand, is the number of guests in the rooms occupied – this is more useful in establishing how many sales opportunities there are in terms of a number of breakfasts, dinners or other extras.

LOS = Length of Stay

The number of nights that a guest stays at an establishment – something which we ultimately want to be a big number, the bigger the better. This value is the difference between the departure date and the arrival date.

OCC = Occupancy

I’m sure you all know this term, but did you know how to calculate it?

Here’s me throwing a spanner in the works now 😉

Occupancy = total number of rooms occupied / total number of rooms available x 100 (e.g. 75% occupancy).

Neat hey?


STO = Sell to Operator

I bet you thought it meant something else?

This is your typical term used in the hospitality and travel industry whereby you provide a discounted rate or a suggested selling price to travel agents or tour operators. The difference being their gross profit or commission.

ROI = Return on Investment

A proper description thereof is to measure the gain or loss generated on an expense or investment strategy relative to the amount of time or money invested. A typical example hereof would include a promotion or special with a decreased rate in an attempt to maximise the number of room nights or extend the length of stay.

OTA = Online Travel Agent/Agency

A third party, examples of such include sites such as and Expedia, which sells your room inventory on your behalf and who is then paid a commission from any bookings received from this channel. For those of you that know us OTA Consultants at Proactive, and for those of you that don’t……well, let me tell you something we wonder workers manage, assist and maximise your potential in the online world.   

And finally, ladies and gentlemen introducing you to our complete guide of abbreviations and terms. Some of which we have included a mini-me description, whereas others we see as pretty self-explanatory.

ARI = Availability, Rates and Inventory

B2B = Business to Business

B2C = Business to Customer


BNB = Bed and Breakfast

CMS = Channel/Content Management System

A very useful system used by establishments to manage and control the allocation of hotel inventory and rates across the countless distribution channels, including websites, third part sites, local sites and GDS.


Constrained Demand

The quantity of rooms that are expected to be sold for a date.

Considers limitations such as a hotel’s capacity or restrictions on bookings. 

COMM = Commission 

COS = Cost of Sale 

COW = Cost of Walk

The cost of turning away a guest when the hotel is unable to provide the promised accommodation, which may include the cost of a hotel room, complimentary gifts, and probable lost future business.


CR = Conversion Rate

CRM = Customer Relationship Management

CTA = Call to Action

CXL = Cancelled/Cancellation

Days to Arrival

The number of days prior to an Arrival Date used to measure information such as a booking pace, hotel performance and forecast performance.


ECO = Environmentally Friendly

ETA = Estimated Time of Arrival

FB = Full Board

FIT = Free Independent Traveller

Free Sell

Function-Only business restrictions or event-only business restrictions are guidelines put in place at the establishment to ensure space is available for groups within their typical booking window.


GDS = Global Distribution System

Comprehensive travel shopping and reservation platforms that travel agents use to book airline, car, hotel and other travel arrangements for their customers.

HTI = Hospitality and Tourism Index

KPI = Key Performance Indicator

A key performance indicator has become more popular term to use and is defined as a measurable factor that indicates how effectively an establishment is achieving key business objectives. Key performance indicators examples include: Average Daily Rate (ADR), Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR), Occupancy Rate, Profits per Available Space-Time (ProPAST), Profits per Occupied Space-Time (ProPOST) and Function Space Utilization Percentage.


LRV = Last Room Value

The maximum amount of room revenue that a hotel can expect to make from the last room available for sale. The system uses the Last Room Value as a restriction control for low-value rates during busy periods and opens all rates during slow times.


MTD = Month to Date

NB = NightsBridge

NEG = Negotiable


The case where some customers with a reservation do not show up to use the room(s) reserved for them, without explicit cancellation.


ORM = Online Reputation Management

OTP = One Time Password


The practice of selling more rooms that are physically present in the hotel to account for cancellations and no-shows. The goal of overbooking is to maximize revenue by achieving as close to 100% occupancy as possible on any given day.


PAR = Per Available Room

PAX = Person(s)

PMS = Property Management System

POS = Point of Sale

PPS = Per Person Sharing

PREF = Preferred


ROAR = Right of Admission Reserved

Room Block

A group of rooms that may be created to organize rooms to aid in planning, sales or other management tasks. Examples include associating rooms with a single fixed price, a single guest, a channel, a group or a single team of staff members that manage or maintain the rooms in the block.


SC = Self-Catering

SEO = Search Engine Optimization

Shoulder Nights

Nights of less occupancy on either side of peak nights.


SLA = Service Level Agreement

SOP = Standard Operating Procedure

SMM = Social Media Marketing  

T&C’s = Terms and Conditions Apply


TGCSA = Tourism Grading Council of South Africa


Total Revenue Performance

The intelligent calibration of demand across all hotel functions to meet overall business objectives. It is the ability to instantly and systematically decide which business to accept across multiple revenue streams at all times, based on the greatest overall value to the asset.

YTD = Year to Date

ZAR = South African Rand

Phew…..ok maybe I lied about the list not being too long!

We doubt we have covered every single term or abbreviation out there, but you got to make a start somewhere, right?


Looking at the list above, we feel as proud as a peacock to be in the hospitality industry and know there is an endless list of useful terms.

We hope we haven’t blown your mind, well actually we do 😉

Written By The Proactive Team 2019