Hotel Industry Terms to Know
Hotel Industry Terms to Know
24 JANUARY 2020 8:35 AM

Hotel News Now’s compendium of important hotel industry terms has been updated with new entries, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, chat bots, sustainable tourism, European Plan, dynamic pricing and several more.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include several new entries, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, European Plan, dynamic pricing and several more. If you have any suggestions for additional terms or have questions, please e-mail the editors.



AAA - The highest rating given to bonds by bond-rating agencies. AAA bonds are thought to have almost no default risk. Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s are the most widely used rating agencies.

ADR (average daily rate) - A measure of the average rate paid for rooms sold, calculated by dividing room revenue by rooms sold. (ADR = room revenue / rooms sold)

ADR (rate) index - The ADR index measures a hotel’s ADR performance relative to an aggregated grouping of hotels (e.g., competitive set, market, submarket/tract). An ADR Index of 100 equals fair share of ADR, compared to the aggregated group of hotels. An ADR Index greater than 100 represents more than a fair share of the aggregated group’s ADR performance. Conversely, an ADR Index below 100 reflects less than a fair share of the aggregated group’s ADR performance.

To calculate an ADR index: (Hotel ADR / Aggregated group of hotels’ ADR) x 100 = ADR index

Fair share can be thought of as the subject hotel’s “piece of the pie” in the market. For example, if the subject hotel’s ADR is $50 and the ADR of its competitive set is $50, the subject hotel’s index would total 100. If the subject hotel’s ADR totaled $60, its index would be 120, indicating the hotel has captured more than its fair share. If the subject hotel’s ADR totaled $40, its index would be 80, indicating the hotel has captured less than its fair share.

agency model - A payment structure seen with online travel agencies that requires a hotel to pay the online travel agency a commission for a guest’s booking. (See Merchant Model)

alternative accommodations – Accommodations other than hotels such as: vacation home rentals, cruise ships, home-sharing rentals, timeshares, hostels and serviced apartments.

amortization period – the timeframe during which the loan amount will be paid down to a 0 balance; most hotel loans have a 25-yr amortization period, but some may be 20-yr or 30-yr

American Automobile Association (AAA) – The American Automobile Association is a federation of motor clubs in the United States. Members of AAA can often get discounts on hotel stays. AAA gives members information on more than 27,000 inspected and approved hotels that all meet AAA’s standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. 

American Plan – The nightly rate by a hotel or resort which includes three meals a day, typically breakfast, lunch and dinner. Meals are served on property and prepared by its kitchen. The plan is not comparable to an all-inclusive plan, which includes snacks and alcoholic beverages in addition to the three main meals.

Artificial intelligence – Often referred to as AI, artificial intelligence is the development of computer systems to perform tasks that generally require human intelligence such as voice search.

auction - A system in which potential buyers place competitive bids on assets and services. The asset or service in question will sell to the party that places the highest bid. In most cases, sellers will pay a listing fee to the auctioneer, regardless of whether the item sells for the desired price. The Internet has increased the amount of exposure auctions have, and bidders no longer have to be present to participate. Online marketplaces connect buyers and sellers worldwide by allowing individuals to submit their bids (or list their products) online and send payment electronically.

average published rate (APR) - The average published rate is measured by averaging the range of published room rates for various room sizes (single, double, etc.) during different times of the year. When hotels in our census database do not report data to STR, an estimate of actual average daily rate is derived using published rates.


bankruptcy – A legal proceeding involving a person or business that’s unable to repay outstanding debts. The bankruptcy process begins with a petition filed by the debtor (most common) or on behalf of creditors (less common). All of the debtor’s assets are measured and evaluated, whereupon the assets are used to repay a portion of outstanding debt. Upon the completion of bankruptcy proceedings, the debtor is relieved of the debt obligations incurred before filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy offers an individual or business a chance to start fresh by forgiving debts that can’t be paid while offering creditors a chance to obtain some measure of repayment based on what assets are available. In theory, the ability to file for bankruptcy can benefit an overall economy by giving persons and businesses another chance and providing creditors with a measure of debt repayment.

Bankruptcy filings in the United States can fall under one of several chapters of the Bankruptcy Code, such as Chapter 7 (which involves liquidation of assets), Chapter 11 (company or individual reorganizations) and Chapter 13 (debt repayment with lowered debt covenants or payment plans). Bankruptcy filing specifications vary widely among different countries, leading to higher and lower filing rates depending on how easily a person or company can complete the process.

basis point - A unit equal to 1/100th of 1% and used to denote the change in a financial instrument. The basis point is commonly used for calculating changes in interest rates, equity indexes and the yield of a fixed-income security. The relationship between percentage changes and basis points can be summarized as follows: 1% change equals 100 basis points, and 0.01% equals 1 basis point. A bond whose yield increases from 5% to 5.5% is said to increase by 50 basis points; or interest rates that have risen 1% are said to have increased by 100 basis points.

Hotel industry example: Red Lion’s hotel direct operating profit for the fourth quarter of 2007 increased 19.4% to $5.8 million from the prior-year period, a 205 basis-point increase to 15.7% versus 13.6% in 2006.

bid-ask spread - The amount by which the ask price exceeds the bid. This is the difference in price between the highest price a buyer is willing to pay for an asset and the lowest price a seller is willing to sell it. If the bid price is $20 and the ask price is $21, then the bid-ask spread is $1. The size of the spread from one asset to another will differ mainly because of the difference in liquidity of each asset.

bleisure – Bleisure travel refers to the phenomenon of business travelers combining their business trips with leisure outings, often extending their duration of travel.

bondholder - The owner of a government or corporate bond. Being a bondholder is often considered safer than being a shareholder because if a company liquidates, it must pay its bondholders before it pays its shareholders. Being a bondholder entitles one to receive regular interest payments, if the bond pays interest (usually semiannually or annually), as well as a return of principal when the bond matures.

Bonds are perceived as being low risk, but the level of risk depends on the type of bond in question. For example, holding corporate bonds will yield higher returns than holding government bonds, but they come with greater risk. Bonds also are subject to interest rate risk, reinvestment risk, inflation risk, credit/default risk, liquidity risk and rating downgrades. An advantage of being a bondholder is that some bonds are exempt from federal, state or local income taxes.

boutique - Properties that have historically been described as unique in style and design-centric, and are either independent or affiliated with a brand system. This term has expanded to include many types of hotels and is often open to interpretation. – A broad term used to refer to hotel companies’ (or other brands) first-party websites, which are used as a primary portal for consumers to book directly with said company.


capital expenditure - Also known as CapEx. Money spent by a business to acquire or maintain fixed assets such as land, buildings and equipment.

capitalization rate - The capitalization rate (or cap rate) for a hotel is used as a way to compare potential returns on  various real estate investments. Different operating metrics can be used, however, net operating income is most frequently cited. To determine a hotel’s cap rate, divide the NOI (or other metric selected) by the hotel’s total value.

Hotel industry example: According to a 2019 sales and capitalization rate trend report by HVS, as of year-end 2018, implied lodging REIT cap rates had increased by 230 basis points compared to year-end 2017 because of the stock market correction and concern regarding slowing hotel NOI growth mixed with higher interest rates.

capital markets - A market in which individuals and institutions trade financial securities. Organizations/institutions in the public and private sectors also often sell securities on the capital markets to raise funds. This type of market is composed of the primary and secondary markets. 

The stock and bond markets are parts of the capital markets. For example, when a company conducts an IPO, it’s tapping the investing public for capital and is using capital markets. This also is true when a country’s government issues Treasury bonds in the bond market to fund its spending initiatives.

cash-on-cash return – ratio of annual NOI after debt service to the total cash invested in the hotel; the cash investment includes the equity investment in the hotel plus any additional cash invested in capital improvements by the owner; = (NOI – debt service) ÷ cash investment

census - The total number of hotels and rooms in STR’s database in a particular segment.

Central business district – A central business district, often referred to as CBD, is the commercial and business center of a city.

chain scales - Chain scale segments are a method by which branded hotels are grouped based on the actual average room rates. Independent hotels, regardless of their average room rates, are included as a separate chain-scale category. The chain-scale segments are:

Luxury chains
Upper upscale chains
Upscale chains
Upper midscale chains
Midscale chains
Economy chains

Chatbots – A type of software that handles a wide range of services, such as booking reservations and answering customer service inquiries as well as checking guests in and out. 

class – (Luxury, upper upscale, upscale, upper midscale, midscale, economy) Class is an industry categorization which includes chain-affiliated and independent hotels. The class for a chain-affiliated hotel is the same as its chain scale. An independent hotel is assigned a class based on its ADR, relative to that of the chain hotels in its geographic proximity.

collapsed submarket class - Class is an industry categorization which includes chain-affiliated and independent hotels. The class for a chain-affiliated hotel is the same as its chain scale. An independent hotel is assigned a class based on its ADR, relative to that of the chain hotels in its geographic proximity. The classes are:

Upper upscale
Upper midscale

collateralized debt obligation - An investment-grade security backed by a pool of bonds, loans and other assets. CDOs don’t specialize in one type of debt but are often nonmortgage loans or bonds. Similar in structure to a collateralized mortgage obligation (CMO) or collateralized bond obligation (CBO), CDOs are unique because they represent different types of debt and credit risk. In the case of CDOs, these different types of debt are often referred to as tranches or slices. Each slice has a different maturity and risk associated with it. The higher the risk, the more the CDO pays.

commercial loan - A debt-based funding arrangement a business can set up with a financial institution. The proceeds of commercial loans may be used to fund large capital expenditures and/or operations a business may otherwise be unable to afford.

Because of expensive upfront costs and regulation related hurdles, smaller businesses don’t typically have direct access to the debt and equity markets for financing purposes. They must rely on financial institutions to meet their financing needs.

Similar to consumer credit, businesses have a variety of lending products to choose from. A line of credit, term loans and unsecured loans are examples. Small businesses should shop at different institutions to determine which lender offers the best terms for the loan.

commercial mortgage-backed securities - A type of mortgage-backed security secured by the loan on a commercial property. A CMBS can provide liquidity to real-estate investors and to commercial lenders. As with other types of MBS, the increased use of CMBS can be attributable to the rapid rise in real-estate prices throughout the years. Because they’re not standardized, there are many details associated with CMBS that make them difficult to value. However, when compared to a residential mortgage-backed security (RMBS), a CMBS provides a lower degree of prepayment risk because commercial mortgages are most often set for a fixed term.

Hotel industry example: Mag Mile Capital secured a $7.5 million 10-year fixed rate, non-recourse CBMS loan on behalf of The Ponce St. Augustine Hotel in St. Augustine, Florida, with a 25-year amortization at a small interest rate that paid off the borrower’s current loan, closing costs and provided them with a cash-out.

competitive set - A competitive set consists of a group of hotels by which a property can compare itself to the group’s aggregate performance. There must be a minimum of four hotels in any competitive set, excluding he subject hotel. To protect proprietary data, a single hotel or brand cannot exceed 50% of the competitive set. A single hotel company (i.e. Marriot brands, Choice brands, etc.) may only comprise 70% of the competitive set room supply.

compound annual growth rate (CAGR) – The mean of annual growth rates over a multiple-year period. It is found using a specific formula involving an investment’s ending value, beginning value and the number of years included in the time period.

Continental Plan – The nightly rate includes breakfast, usually set buffet-style, on property for each guest that occupies a room overnight.

construction loan – financing for a development project; typically these loans are short-term, covering the construction timeframe (1 to 3 yrs); after construction is completed, the developer usually pays off the construction loan by refinancing with a Permanent Loan – a standard loan for existing hotels.

contract rooms - Contract rooms are occupied at rates stipulated by contracts – such as for airline crews and permanent guests. Room allotments that do not require guaranteed use or payment should not be classified as contract. Rooms sold under such allotments should be classified as transient.

credit agreement - A legal contract in which a bank arranges to loan a customer a certain amount of money for a specified amount of time. The credit agreement outlines all the rules and regulations associated with the contract. This includes the interest that must be paid on the loan.

A credit agreement can be a lengthy and detailed document that explains all the terms of the contract. For the most part, all types of loans (ranging from credit cards to mortgages) have some credit agreement, which must be signed and agreed on by the bank or lender and customer. The contract doesn’t come into effect until the document has been signed by both parties.


Data science – A way to allow hotels to predict consumer behavior by using technology such as artificial intelligence. Some global hotel chains employ data scientists and analysts to develop and deploy dynamic pricing models based off of data from competitors.

debt – money owed by a property to entities other than the owner; typically, this is the mortgage, but may include other obligations (mezzanine loan, taxes, etc.)

DCR - debt coverage ratio/DSCR - debt service coverage ratio – the ratio of net operating income to annual debt payments; obviously, lenders want the property cash flow to be higher than the debt payments; generally lenders require DCR/DSCR to be 1.2 or higher; = NOI ÷ debt payment

debt service - Cash required during a given period for the repayment of interest and principal on a debt. Monthly mortgage payments are a good example of debt service.

debt yield - The return a lender gets on its loan to a borrower.

default - 1. The failure to pay interest or principal promptly when due. Default occurs when a debtor is unable to meet the legal obligation of debt repayment. Borrowers may default when they’re unable to make the required payment or are unwilling to honor the debt. Defaulting on a debt obligation can place a company or individual in financial trouble. The lender will see a default as a sign the borrower isn’t likely to make future payments.

2. The failure to perform on a futures contract as required by an exchange. Defaulting on a futures contract occurs when one party doesn’t fulfill the obligations set forth by the agreement. The default usually involves not settling the contract by the required date. A person in the short position will default if he fails to deliver the goods at the end of the contract. The long position defaults when payment isn’t provided by the settlement date.

deferred maintenance - Refers to the practice of delaying maintenance on a property.

delinquent mortgage - A mortgage for which the borrower has failed to make payments as required in the loan documents. If the borrower can’t bring the payments current within a certain time period, the lender may initialize foreclosure proceedings. Foreclosure is a last resort for lenders because it’s an expensive procedure, and they typically lose money in foreclosure proceedings. A forbearance agreement is a potential option to foreclosure if the borrower’s financial difficulties are temporary. A deed in lieu of foreclosure is another option to foreclosure.

direct booking – The practice of guests booking, whether online, via phone reservations or other channels, that deal directly with a hotel company or property and not a third-party like a GDS or OTA.

discount rate - the combined return % on an investment for both the equity and debt investors; essentially, the IRR on a hotel assuming there is no debt; sometimes referred to as Yield Rate; the Discount Rate/Yield Rate will always be at a level between the interest rate (the lender’s return rate) and the IRR (the investor’s return rate)

distressed sale - An urgent sale of assets because of negative conditions. For example, securities may have to be sold because there is a margin call. Because a distressed sale happens under unfavorable conditions, the seller generally receives a lower price.

distribution channel – The different methods with which guests can book stays at a hotel. This is broadly includes of things like global distribution systems and online travel agencies, along with first party channels like phone reservations and online booking at

dual-brand hotels – A property that combines two hotels that operate separately but share economies of scale deriving from the sharing of resources such as back-of-house operations. Usually such properties combine two brands from one hotel parent company, but there are examples of one building containing two flags from different hotel companies. There are also some cases of multibranded hotels with three or more brands represented.

due diligence – A review of a potential investment including an analysis of financial records.

Dynamic pricing – A strategy of pricing goods or services based on changing market conditions.


EBITDA – earnings before Interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization – similar to NOI, but excludes deductions for reserve for replacement; = NOI + Reserve for Replacement.

EB-5 – an immigration program that provides a method of obtaining a U.S. visa by investing  in the U.S. and creating new jobs within specified Regional Centers defined by the government; if a foreign investor develops a hotel and creates new jobs in these areas of the U.S., their family members have an easier process of obtaining visas; essentially, they’re buying their way into the U.S.

equity – the property value attributed to the owner; often this is the cash invested in the property; = Value - Debt

European Plan – The quoted nightly rate does not include any meals, only lodging. Food provided by the hotel is billed separately as well as taxes and tips. The European Plan is not limited to hotels in Europe, as hotels across the globe offer it.

extended stay - Extended-stay hotels focus on attracting hotel guests for extended periods of time, typically more than five consecutive nights. These hotels quote weekly rates.

feasibility – A feasibility study is an analysis of economic and other conditions that affect a potential investment or development.

financial distress - A condition in which a company can’t meet, or has difficulty paying off, its financial obligations to its creditors. The chance of financial distress increases when a firm has high fixed costs, illiquid assets, or revenues that are sensitive to economic downturns. A company under financial distress can incur costs related to the situation, such as more expensive financing, opportunity costs of projects and less productive employees. A company’s cost of borrowing additional capital will usually increase, making it more difficult and expensive to raise the much-needed funds. To satisfy short-term obligations, management might pass on profitable longer-term projects.

FIT - Free and independent travel, or business that is not part of a package or group.

focused-service hotel - (See Select-Service Hotel)

food & beverage (F&B) revenue - Revenues derived from the sale of food (including coffee, milk, tea and soft drinks), beverages (including, beer, wine and liquors), banquet beverages and other F&B sources. Other F&B sources include meeting room rentals, audio-visual equipment rentals, cover or service charges or other revenues within the food-and-beverage department (includes banquet services charges).

foreclosure - A situation in which an owner is unable to make principal and/or interest payments on its mortgage; so the lender, be it a bank or building society, can seize and sell the property as stipulated in the terms of the mortgage contract. In some cases, to avoid foreclosing on a property, creditors try to make adjustments to the repayment schedule to allow the owner to retain ownership. This situation is known as a special forbearance or mortgage modification.

franchisor - a company that sells franchises.

franchisee - an individual or company buying or leasing a franchise.

full-service hotel - Full-service hotels are generally mid-price, upscale or luxury hotels with a restaurant, lounge facilities and meeting space as well as minimum service levels often including bell service and room service. These hotels report food-and-beverage revenue.

furniture, fixtures and equipment - often referred to as FF&E, these are the hard-good items found in a hotel.

FFO – funds from operation – used  by REITs to define cash flow from overall operations; includes deductions for depreciation and amortization.


global distribution system (GDS) – Centralized reservation systems utilized by several large companies and travel agents to book multiple travel related services, including hotel rooms, airfare and rental cars.

GOPPAR - Gross operating profit per available room. The metric measures performance across all revenue streams.

group rooms - Group rooms are sold simultaneously in blocks of a minimum of ten rooms or more (e.g. group tours, domestic and international groups, association, convention and corporate groups).

historic tax credits – Programs, offered in the U.S. both on a federal and state level, that offer tax relief for the preservation (and in some circumstances) improvement to properties deemed to hold historic value.

hold period – the timeframe that an investor owns a hotel; in underwriting, owners typically assume a 5-year or 10-year hold period.

HOST Almanac – The HOST (Hotel Operating Statistics) Almanac contains information on hotel revenues and expenses broken down by departments including rooms, food and beverage, marketing, utility costs and maintenance. This report is published annually by STR and the results are based on the operating statements of more than 5,000 U.S. hotels. Custom HOST Reports are also available for entire states, metropolitan areas or competitive sets.

hotel occupancy tax (HOT) – Taxes, set in the U.S. by state and local governments, that tax revenues from roomnights.

hotel types - Hotel classifications are driven primarily by rebuilding structure and, secondarily, by service level. Chain management has provided STR with hotel type classifications for a significant number of locations. Hotel types include:

  • All-inclusive: Property with rooms sold only as a complete package, bundling overnight accommodations and value-added amenities and services (i.e., food, beverage, activities and gratuities, etc.) 
  • All-suite: Property with guestroom inventory that exclusively consists of rooms offering more space and furniture than a typical hotel room, including a designated living area or multiple rooms.
  • Bed and breakfast/Inn: Independently owned and operated properties that typically include breakfast in the room rates, 20 rooms or fewer and a resident/owner innkeeper.
  • Boutique: Property that appeals to guests because of its atypical amenity and room configurations. Boutiques are normally independent (with fewer than 200 rooms), have a high average rate and offer high levels of service. Boutique hotels often provide authentic cultural, historic experiences and interesting guest services.
  • Condo: Property with individually and wholly-owned condominium units. Inventory is included in a rental pool operated and serviced by a management company.
  • Conference center: Property with a major focus on conference facilities. This type of establishment must adhere to the guidelines of the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC).
  • Convention center: Property with a minimum of 300 rooms and large meeting facilities (minimum of 20,000 square feet) and not part of the Conference Center Group (CCG).
  • Destination resort: Property that appeals to leisure travelers, typically located in resort markets, and considered a destination in and of themselves with extensive amenity offerings. These properties are typically larger and full-service.
  • Extended stay: Properties typically focused on attracting guests for extended periods. These properties quote weekly rates. The typical length of stay average for guests is four to seven nights. STR currently classifies Extended Stay properties in the U.S. only.
  • Full-service hotel: Typically Upscale, Upper Upscale and Luxury properties with a wide variety of onsite amenities, such as restaurants, meeting spaces, exercise rooms or spas.
  • Gaming/casino: Property with a major focus on casino operations.
  • Golf: Property that includes a golf course amenity as part of its operations. A property does not qualify if it only has privileges on a nearby course.
  • Hotel/motel: Standard hotel or motel operation.
  • Limited-service hotel: Property that offers limited facilities and amenities, typically without a full-service restaurant. These hotels are often in the Economy, Midscale or Upper Midscale class.
  • Lifestyle brand: Group of hotels operating under the same brand that is adapted to reflect current trends. See Boutique, Soft Brand.
  • New build: Property built from the ground up, not a conversion or building that was not previously a hotel.
  • Ski: Property with onsite access to ski slopes.
  • Soft brand: Collection of properties that allows owners and operators to affiliate with a major chain while retaining their unique name, design and orientation. See Boutique, Lifestyle Brand.
  • Spa: Property with an onsite spa facility and full-time staff offering spa treatments.
  • Timeshare: Property that typically is a resort condominium unit, in which multiple parties hold property use rights, and each timeshare owner is allotted a period of time when the property may be used.
  • Waterpark: An indoor or outdoor waterpark resort with a lodging establishment containing an aquatic facility (minimum of 10,000 square feet of waterpark space) and inclusive of amenities (slides, tubes and a variety of water play features).

hybrid bonds - A single financial security that combines two or more different financial instruments. Hybrid securities, often referred to as “hybrids,” generally combine both debt and equity characteristics. The most common type of hybrid security is a convertible bond that has features of an ordinary bond but is heavily influenced by the price movements of the stock into which it is convertible.

index - An index measures a hotel’s performance relative to an aggregated grouping of hotels (e.g., competitive set, market, submarket). We utilize indexes to measure performance in three key areas: occupancy, ADR and RevPAR.

An index of 100 means a hotel is capturing a fair share compared to the aggregated group of hotels. An index greater than 100 represents more than a fair share of the aggregated group’s performance. Conversely, an index below 100 reflects less than a fair share of the aggregated group’s performance.

See Occupancy (Penetration) Index, ADR (Rate) Index and RevPAR (Yield) Index

interest rate – the rate of return paid to the lender; the interest rate on a Fixed Rate loan remains the same throughout the lifetime of the loan; the interest rate for a Floating Rate loan varies with a variable base rate; LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate – the average interest rate for lending among banks) is typically the base rate for floating rate commercial real estate loans; such loans may be LIBOR + 150bps (Basis Points); 100 basis points = 1.00%

internal rate of return (IRR) - The discount rate often used in capital budgeting that makes the net present value of all cash flows from a project equal to zero. Generally the higher a project’s internal rate of return, the more desirable it is to undertake the project. IRR can be used to rank several prospective projects a company is considering. Assuming all other factors are equal among the various projects, the project with the highest IRR would probably be considered the best and undertaken first. IRR is sometimes referred to as economic rate of return (ERR).

Think of IRR as the rate of growth a project is expected to generate. While the actual rate of return that a given project ends up generating will often differ from its estimated IRR rate, a project with a substantially higher IRR value than other available options still would provide a much better chance of strong growth.

IRRs also can be compared against prevailing rates of return in the securities market. If a company can’t find any projects with IRRs greater than the returns that can be generated in the financial markets, it may choose to invest its retained earnings into the market.


joint venture - The cooperation of two or more individuals or businesses—each agreeing to share profit, loss and control—in a specific enterprise. This is a way for companies to partner without having to merge. JVs typically are taxed as a partnership.

Hotel industry example: In October 2019, MGM Resorts International announced it has agreed to sell the Bellagio to Blackstone for $4.25 billion in a 95%/5% joint-venture sale-and-leaseback deal for an initial annual rent of $245 million.


leverage – Leverage is a term that refers to a company’s approach to borrowing. High-leveraged companies carry more debt than low-leveraged companies.

lifestyle brands - Prescribed franchised products that are adapted to reflect current trends.

limited-service hotel (See Select-Service Hotel)

loan servicing - The administration aspect of a loan from the time the proceeds are dispersed until the loan is paid off. This includes sending monthly payment statements and collecting monthly payments, maintaining records of payments and balances, collecting and paying taxes and insurance (and managing escrow and impound funds), remitting funds to the note holder, and following up on delinquencies.

Loan servicers are compensated by retaining a relatively small percentage of each periodic loan payment known as the servicing fee or servicing strip. This is usually 0.25% to 0.5% of the periodic interest payment. For example, if the outstanding balance on a mortgage is $100,000 and the servicing fee is 0.25%, the servicer is entitled to retain ((.0025 / 12) x 100,000) = $20 of the next period payment before passing the remaining amount to the note holder.

Loan servicing trades in the secondary market much like mortgage-backed securities. The valuation of mortgage servicing is similar to the valuation of MBS IO strips. Servicing strips are subject to a great deal of prepayment risk and tend to show negative convexity.

loan term – the timeframe during which the loan will be paid off; the loan matures at the end of the term, forcing the owner to pay the remaining balance; this is different from the amortization period; a loan can be amortized over 25 yrs, but may have only a 5-yr term in which case the balance on the loan needs to be paid at the end of 5 yrs (typically paid by refinancing the loan).

lodging tax – (See Hotel Occupancy Tax)

LTV – loan-to-value – the percentage of the loan to the overall property value; the value may be the purchase price, the development cost, the appraised value, or the current value + renovation costs; typically between 60% and 70%; = loan ÷ value

location segment - Location segments are hotel classifications driven by physical location. Chain management has provided us with location classifications for a significant number of hotels. Location segments are:

  • urban - A densely populated area in a large metropolitan area. (e.g. Atlanta, Boston, San Francisco, London, Tokyo.).
  • suburban - Suburbs of metropolitan markets. Examples are Sags Harbor and White Plains, New York, near New York City, and Croydon and Wimbledon near London. Distance from center city varies based on population and market orientation.
  • airport - Hotels in close proximity of an airport that primarily serve demand from airport traffic. Distance may vary.
  • interstate/motorway - Hotels in close proximity of major highways, motorways or other major roads whose primary source of business is through passerby travel. Hotels located in suburban areas have the suburban classification.
  • resort - Hotels located in resort areas where the primary source of business is from leisure destination travel. Examples are Orlando and Lake Tahoe, California.
  • small metro/town - (North America only) Metropolitan small town areas with less than 150,000 people. Size can vary dependent on market orientation. Suburban locations do not exist in proximity to these areas.

lose-it rate - The rate of which a hotel would be better off leaving a room unsold than to sell at that particular rate. For transient individual reservations, it is usually called a “hurdle” rate in an automated revenue management system. In non-automated revenue management, it is usually termed the “Group lose-it rate” because the complex calculation is only done for groups where the revenue result can have a major impact on the hotel revenue.


Machine learning – An application of AI (see artificial intelligence) that allows computers and other systems to automatically learn and refine without being programmed by humans.

manchised - hotel properties that are managed and franchised by the same company.

market - In the U.S., a market is defined as a geographic area composed of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (i.e. Atlanta), a group of Metropolitan Statistical Areas (i.e. South Central Pennsylvania) or a group of counties (i.e. Texas North). Outside the U.S., a market can be defined as a city, region or country with at least 30 participating hotels. A market must contain a sufficient number of hotels to permit further subdivision into submarket and price segments.

market class - Hotels located in the same market and classified in the same chain-scale segment as the subject hotel are grouped with the subject hotel into one of seven market scale groups: :

  • luxury;
  • upper upscale;
  • upscale;
  • upper midscale;
  • midscale; and
  • economy.

market class collapsed - Hotels located in the same market and classified in the same chain scale segment as the subject hotel. There are two market scale (collapsed) groups:

Upscale (includes luxury, upper upscale, upscale and independent)
Midscale/economy (includes upper midscale, midscale and economy)

market price segments (U.S. Only) - The five categories of a metro STR market which are defined by actual or estimated average room rate. The five price categories are shown below:

  • luxury - top 15% average room rates;
  • upscale - next 15% average room rates;
  • mid-price - middle 30% average room rates;
  • economy - next 20% average room rates; and
  • budget - lowest 20% average room rates.

In rural or non-metro STR markets, the luxury and upscale segments collapse into the upscale and form four price segment categories:

  • upscale - top 30% average room rates;
  • mid-price - next 30% average room rates;
  • economy - next 20% average room rates; and
  • budget - lowest 20% average room rates.

market scale - Hotels located in the same market and classified in the same chain scale segment as the subject hotel are grouped with the subject hotel into one of seven market scale groups:

  • luxury;
  • upper upscale;
  • upscale;
  • upper midscale;
  • midscale;
  • economy; and 
  • independent.

market scale collapsed - Hotels located in the same market and classified in the same chain scale segment as the subject hotel. There are two market scale (collapsed) groups:

  • upscale (includes luxury, upper upscale, upscale and independent); and
  • midscale/economy (includes upper midscale, midscale and economy).

market tract - See submarket

market tract scale - See submarket scale

merchant model – A payment structure seen with online travel agencies that requires the hotel to pay for the OTA service at the time of booking. (See agency model)

mezzanine debt - A general term describing a situation in which a hybrid debt issue is subordinated to another debt issue from the same issuer. Mezzanine debt has embedded equity instruments (usually warrants) attached, which increase the value of the subordinated debt, and allows for greater flexibility when dealing with bond holders. Mezzanine debt is frequently associated with acquisitions and buyouts where it may be used to prioritize new owners ahead of existing owners in case of bankruptcy. Some examples of embedded options include stock call options, rights and warrants. In practice, mezzanine debt behaves more like stock then debt because the embedded options make the conversion of the debt into stock very attractive.

Under U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, how a hybrid security is classified on the balance sheet depends on how the embedded option is influenced by the debt portion. If the exercising of the embedded option is influenced by the structure of the debt portion in any way, the two parts of the hybrid (debt and the embedded equity option) must be classified in the liability and stockholder’s equity sections of the balance sheet.

mezzanine financing - A hybrid of debt and equity financing typically used to finance the expansion of existing companies. Mezzanine financing is debt capital that gives the lender the rights to convert to an ownership or equity interest in the company if the loan isn’t paid back in time and in full. It’s generally subordinated to debt provided by senior lenders such as banks and venture capital companies. Because mezzanine financing usually is provided to the borrower quickly with little due diligence on the part of the lender and little or no collateral on the part of the borrower, this type of financing is aggressively priced with the lender seeking a return in the 20- to 30-% range. Mezzanine financing is advantageous because it’s treated like equity on a company’s balance sheet and may make it easier to obtain standard bank financing. To attract mezzanine financing, a company usually must demonstrate a track record in the industry with an established reputation and product, a history of profitability and a viable expansion plan for the business.

MICE - An acronym standing for the meetings, incentives, conference and exhibitions (or events) segment of the group travel market.

Modified Plan – The quoted nightly rate includes two meals per day during the duration of a guest’s stay, including breakfast and either lunch or dinner.


net operating income (NOI) - A company’s operating income after operating expenses are deducted but before income taxes and interest are deducted. If this is a positive value, it’s referred to as net operating income, while a negative value is called a net operating loss. NOI often is viewed as a good measure of company performance. Some believe this figure is less susceptible than other figures to manipulation by management.

Hotel industry example: A hotel’s net operating income percentage is most closely tied to its occupancy, although it also influenced by average daily rate, market segment, property’s age and brand affiliation.

net RevPAR (net revenue per available room) – Net revenue per available room is guestroom revenue divided by the total number of available rooms after deducting the costs of customer acquisition, including sales and marketing, commissions and the costs of loyalty. (See RevPAR)

no show – A guest who books a stay at a hotel that does not check in or cancel their reservation.

non-recourse – a provision in a loan that prohibits the lender from seeking debt payments from the owner of the property (i.e. if Marriott International owns a hotel that cannot pay its debt, the lender cannot go to Marriott International to satisfy the debt).

OCC (Penetration) Index - An index designed to measure a hotel's share of the segment's (comp set, market, tract, etc.) demand (demand = rooms sold).

(Hotel Occupancy / Segment Occupancy) x 100 = Occupancy Index

Fair share can be thought of as the subject hotel’s “piece of the pie” in the market. For example, if there are 1,000 rooms in the competitive set and the subject hotel has 100 rooms, the subject hotel’s fair share is 10.00%. If the subject hotel accounts for 10.00% of the room nights generated within the competitive set in a given time period, the subject hotel’s actual share equals its fair share, giving it an occupancy index of 100%.

occupancy - Occupancy is the percentage of available rooms that were sold during a specified period of time. Occupancy is calculated by dividing the number of rooms sold by rooms available.

Occupancy = Rooms Sold / Rooms Available

online travel agency (OTA) - An Internet-based hotel and travel reservations system. Hotels typically provide inventory to OTAs, which sell the rooms in exchange for a commission.

other revenue - Includes all other revenue excluding room revenue and F&B revenue.

Other Revenue = Total Revenue - (Room Revenue + F&B Revenue)

(This type of data is seen in the segmentation portion of STR reports.)


pipeline - Pipeline data details existing hotel supply and projected growth globally. Construction data is gathered from the major chains and management companies, tracking all stages of development. Phase definitions:

  • Existing supply: All the hotels opened and operating, including those opened in the last 12 months.
  • Recently opened: Opened within the past 12 months.
  • In construction: Confirmed, under contract projects where construction will begin in the next 12 months.
  • Planning: Confirmed, under contract projects where construction will begin in more than 13 months.
  • Unconfirmed: Potential projects that remain unconfirmed at this time. STR is unable to identify the existence of these projects through a corporate chain feed or other verifiable source.

Note: The availability of financing, issuance of building permits, owner commitment and many other factors can alter anticipated completion dates, number of rooms to be constructed, or the viability of the project. Number of projects and number of rooms in the construction pipeline are subject to change. Projects in early stages of development are less likely to be completed than projects in later stages.

portfolio lender - A company that originates mortgage loans and holds a portfolio of their loans instead of selling them off in the secondary market. A portfolio lender makes money off the fees for originating the mortgages and also seeks to make profits off the spread (difference) between interest-earning assets and the interest paid on deposits in their mortgage portfolio.

Many mortgage lenders avoid the risks of holding mortgages, only profiting from origination fees and then quickly selling off the mortgages to other financial institutions. There are pros and cons to both methods. Companies who profit from mortgage origination experience less risk and likely a more stable profit stream, while portfolio lenders have a chance to experience more upside on their portfolio but also more risk.

Price elasticity – A change in the quantity of a product demanded or purchased by consumers in relation to the change in price.

product improvement plan/property improvement plan (PIP) - A requirement by hotel brands that owners undertake renovations and upgrades to meet current chain standards. PIPs are generally required when a hotel joins a brand system, when a branded hotel is sold or when a franchise or membership agreement comes up for renewal.

property management system (PMS) – A software system meant to coordinate various functions at a hotel, including bookings, accounting, point of sale, payroll and sales and marketing, among others.

prototype – In a hotel context, prototype refers to a new set or design standards issued by a hotel brand for its properties.

public-private investment program - A plan designed to value and remove troubled assets from the balance sheet of troubled financial institutions in the U.S. The PPIP’s goal is to create partnerships with private investors to buy toxic assets. The program is designed to increase liquidity in the market and serve as a price-discovery tool for valuing troubled assets.

The PPIP consists mainly of two parts: a Legacy Loans Program and a Legacy Securities Program. The Legacy Loans Program uses FDIC-guaranteed debt along with private equity to purchase troubled loans from banks. The Legacy Securities Program is designed to use funds from the Federal Reserve, Treasury and private investors to reignite the market for legacy securities. Legacy securities include certain mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities and other securitized assets the government deems to be eligible for the program.


rate parity - A situation in which a travel supplier, such as a hotel, maintains the same price across all its various distribution channels.

REIT – Real Estate Investment Trust – an special type of corporate entity that invests in real estate (on the debt or equity side); this type of company has special tax benefits (i.e. a lower tax rate), but has certain restrictions and is required to distribute 90% of its profits to shareholders

real estate mortgage investment conduit - A complex pool of mortgage securities created for the purpose of acquiring collateral. This base is then divided into varying classes of securities backed by mortgages with different maturities and coupons. As a synthetic investment vehicle, REMICs consist of a fixed pool of mortgages broken apart and marketed to investors as individual securities.

real-estate owned - Property owned by a lender, usually a bank, after an unsuccessful sale at a foreclosure auction. This is common because most of the properties up for sale at these auctions are worth less than the total amount owed to the bank. The minimum bid in most foreclosure auctions equal the outstanding loan amount, the accrued interest and any fees associated with the foreclosure sale.

If a property is real-estate owned, the bank will then go through the process of trying to sell the property on its own. It will try to remove some of the liens and other expenses on the hotel, and then try to sell it on the market. Real-estate investors will often go after these properties as banks aren’t in the business of owning hotels and, in some cases, the hotels can be bought at a discount to its market value.

receivership - A type of corporate bankruptcy in which a receiver is appointed by bankruptcy courts or creditors to run the company. The responsibility of the receiver is to recoup as much of the unpaid loans as possible. Being in receivership isn’t an enviable situation for a company. Oftentimes, receivers find that the best way to pay back loans is to liquidate the company’s assets, which effectively puts the company out of business.

recourse – a provision in a loan that allows the lender to seek compensation from the borrower when the property is in default; (i.e. if Marriott International owns a hotel that cannot pay its debt, Marriott International is obligated to pay the debt themselves); in such a case, the loan terms are often better than a non-recourse loan because there is less risk of the lender losing money on the loan.

refinancing – to pay off an existing loan with a new loan, ideally with better terms (e.g. lower interest rate, higher  LTV, etc.); this may occur because the market has improved and the owner is able to obtain better loan terms or the asset gained value, allowing the owner to increase cash flow to investors and improve the overall IRR on the investment; or this may occur when the loan term of the current loan matures, forcing the owner to obtain a new loan; this is the problem that arose during the recent downturn: many loans matured at a point where values had declined and loan terms were difficult, resulting in numerous bankruptcies, foreclosures, and loan extensions/modifications.

regions (U.S.) - There are nine that divide the United States:

  • New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island);
  • Middle Atlantic (New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey);
  • South Atlantic (Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida);
  • East North Central (Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio);
  • East South Central (Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi);
  • West North Central (Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas);
  • West South Central (Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana);
  • Mountain (Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico); and
  • Pacific (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Hawaii).

See World Regions

rental by owner (RBO) – Accommodations, which vary from beds in shared rooms to entire homes and buildings, that are owned by individuals and made available to travelers via marketplaces like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway.

reserve for replacement – Funds allocated for replacing and repairing systems at a property like HVAC or roofs.

return on capital employed (ROCE) - A measure of how efficiently a company’s money is being used, which is made to compare profitability from company to company. The metric is determined by dividing earnings before interest and tax by capital employed.

return on investment (ROI) – the percent gained (or lost) on an investment; = investment gain ÷ initial investment; for example, if you buy a hotel for $10 million and sell it for $12 million, the ROI is 20% ($2 million gain ÷ $10 million initial investment)

Revenue management system (RMS) – A software system that allows hotels to effectively and efficiently make use of real-time property and market data to make more informed revenue management decisions such calculating the ideal room rate.

RevPAR (revenue per available room) - Revenue per available room (RevPAR) is the total guest room revenue divided by the total number of available rooms. RevPAR differs from ADR because RevPAR is affected by the amount of unoccupied available rooms, while ADR shows only the average rate of rooms actually sold.

Rooms revenue divided by rooms available = RevPAR

RevPAR (yield) index - A RevPAR (yield) index measures a hotel’s fair market share of their segment’s (competitive set, market, submarket, etc.) revenue per available room. If a hotel is capturing its fair market share, the index will be 100; if capturing less than its fair market share, a hotel’s index will be less than 100; and if capturing more than its fair market share, a hotel’s index will be greater than 100.

RevPAR index is calculated:
(Hotel RevPAR / Segment RevPAR) x 100 = RevPAR Index

Fair share can be thought of as the subject hotel’s “piece of the pie” in the market. For example, if the subject hotel’s RevPAR is $50 and the RevPAR of its competitive set is $50, the subject hotel’s index would total 100. If the subject hotel’s RevPAR totaled $60, its index would be 120, which indicates that the subject hotel has captured more than its fair share. If the subject hotel’s RevPAR totaled $40, its index would be 80, which indicates that the subject hotel has captured less than its fair share.

RevPOR (revenue per occupied room) – Revenue per occupied room is calculated by dividing total revenue by the number of occupied rooms actually being sold. The total revenue includes all revenue generated by an occupied room, such as room service, dry cleaning, spa sales and more. RevPOR differs from RevPAR because RevPAR takes unoccupied rooms into account by multiplying overall occupancy.

room block, group room block – A set of rooms reserved to accommodate a single group like attendees to a conference, meeting or event. The blocks are typically available at a set rate for a set period with only certain customers able to book them. (See Group Rooms.)

room revenue - Total room revenue generated from the sale or rental of rooms.

RRM - room revenue multiplier – the ratio of value to room revenue; = value ÷ room revenue

rooms available (room supply) - The number of rooms in a hotel or set of hotels multiplied by the number of days in a specified time period.

Example: 100 available rooms in subject hotel x 31 days in the month = room supply of 3,100 for the month

rooms sold (room demand) - The number of rooms sold in a specified time period (excludes complimentary rooms).

R.W. Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index - The R. W. Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index was set to equal 1,000 on 1 January 2000 as its starting point. The index reached its peak of 3,178 on 5 July 2007. The index’s lowest point occurred on 6 March 2009, when it dropped to 573.
The index is available exclusively on The Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index is a cobranded index created by Robert W. Baird & Co. (Baird) and STR. The market-cap weighted index is comprised of 20 of the largest market-capitalization hotel companies publicly traded on a U.S. exchange and attempts to characterize the performance of hotel stocks. The index is maintained by Baird and is hosted on Hotel News Now. The index is not actively managed and a direct investment cannot be made in it.
As of 31 December 2019, the companies that comprised the Baird/STR Hotel Stock Index included: Apple Hospitality REIT, Chatham Lodging Trust, Choice Hotels International, DiamondRock Hospitality Company, Extended Stay America, Hersha Hospitality Trust, Hilton Inc., Host Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International, Park Hotels & Resorts, Inc., Pebblebrook Hotel Trust, RLJ Lodging Trust, Ryman Hospitality Properties, Service Properties Trust, Summit Hotel Properties, Sunstone Hotel Investors, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts and Xenia Hotels & Resorts.


sample - The number of hotels and rooms from which data is received.

securitization - The process through which an issuer creates a financial instrument by combining other financial assets and then marketing different tiers of the repackaged instruments to investors. The process can encompass any type of financial asset and promotes liquidity in the marketplace.

Mortgage-backed securities are a perfect example of securitization. By combining mortgages into one large pool, the issuer can divide the large pool into smaller pieces based on each individual mortgage’s inherent risk of default and then sell those smaller pieces to investors.
The process creates liquidity by enabling smaller investors to purchase shares in a larger asset pool. Using the mortgage-backed security example, individual retail investors are able to purchase portions of a mortgage as a type of bond. Without the securitization of mortgages, retail investors may not be able to afford to buy into a large pool of mortgages.

segmentation - Rooms sold and revenue data broken down by source of business (transient, group, contract) and source of revenue (room, F&B, other).

select-service hotel - Also known as limited-service or focused-service hotels, select-service hotels have rooms-only operations or offer limited services and amenities. These hotels do not report significant food-and-beverage revenue.

serviced apartments - A type of extended-stay accommodation that typically includes a suite with a full kitchen. Unlike extended-stay hotels, many serviced-apartment properties don’t have amenities such as 24-hour front desks, free breakfasts, manager’s cocktail hour, etc. Serviced apartments are more common in Europe and Asia than in North America.

sharing economy - Also known as the peer-to-peer economy, this is an Internet-based economic system in which consumers share their resources, typically with people they don’t know, and typically in exchange for money. In the hotel industry, sharing economy websites such as Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO, FlipKey and others allow residents of homes, apartments and condos (called hosts) to rent their accommodations on a short-term basis to visitors.

size - Based on physical guestroom count of the hotel.

SMERF - An acronym for the social, military, educational, religious and fraternal segment of the group travel market.

soft brands - Hotels that are affiliated with a major chain distribution but retain unique design, name and orientation.

special servicer - Companies that have specialized processes in place to deal with loans that require unusual attention, i.e., currently in or about to go into default. Special servicers can obtain the loans or just the servicing rights to loans. Often, the Pooling and Servicing Agreement between the investment pool trustee and the master servicer will define the conditions under which the servicing of a loan or pool of loans will be transferred.

stalking-horse bid - An initial bid on a bankrupt company's assets from an interested buyer selected by the bankrupt company. From a pool of bidders, the bankrupt company chooses the stalking horse to make the first bid.

stay-pattern management - A revenue management process that seeks to make optimum use of the hotel’s inventory capacity. This is done by studying the stay patterns over a period of time and offering rate differentials, minimum and maximum length of stay, etc.

submarket - A geographic area which is a subset of a market. A market is made up of one or more submarkets.

submarket class - This designation is similar to market class with the following exceptions: The luxury and upper-upscale classes are collapsed to form a single class. The upscale and midscale-with-F&B classes are collapsed to form a single class. The midscale-without-F&B and economy classes are collapsed to form a single class.

subordinate – refers to the fact that one entity’s position is inferior to another; for example, the mezzanine lender is subordinate to the primary lender, meaning that the primary lender is paid first and the mezz lender is paid next; thus, the mezz lender is in a riskier position if there is not enough NOI to pay them; the investor is paid last, and is in the riskiest position if NOI declines.

Sustainable tourism – A type of travel that offers unique experiences to the traveler while also protecting nature, culture, communities, history and the planet.

syndicated loan - A loan offered by a group of lenders who work together to provide funds for a single borrower. The borrower could be a corporation, a large project or a government. The loan may involve fixed amounts, a credit line, or a combination of the two. Interest rates can be fixed for the term of the loan or floating based on a benchmark rate such as the London Interbank Offered Rate.

Typically there’s a lead bank or underwriter of the loan, known as the arranger, agent or lead lender that may be putting up a proportionally bigger share of the loan or perform duties like dispersing cash flows amongst the other syndicate members and administrative tasks.

Also known as a syndicated bank facility. The main goal of syndicated lending is to spread the risk of a borrower default across multiple lenders (such as banks) or institutional investors like pensions funds and hedge funds. Because syndicated loans tend to be much larger than standard bank loans, the risk of even one borrower defaulting could cripple a single lender. Syndicated loans are also used in the leveraged buyout community to fund large corporate takeovers with primarily debt funding.

Syndicated loans can be made on a best effort basis, which means that if enough investors can’t be found, the amount the borrower receives will be lower than originally anticipated. These loans can also be split into dual tranches for banks (who fund standard revolvers or lines of credit) and institutional investors (who fund fixed-rate term loans).


tax abatement – A program for property owners to reduce—but not eliminate—taxes based on investments made into new construction or renovations.

top 25 markets (U.S.) - STR’s Top 25 Markets are generally the largest U.S. metro markets by number of rooms (inventory), but STR does apply geographic diversity to provide more rounded coverage for the whole industry. For example, STR adds Oahu, Hawaii, and excludes a few California and Texas markets because those states are already well represented. STR also intentionally excludes Las Vegas, the largest hotel market based on number of rooms available, due to the gaming nature of the market and sample depth of the casino hotels.

total revenue - Revenue from all hotel operations, including rooms sold, F&B, parking, laundry, phone, miscellaneous, etc.

trailing 12 months (T12, TTM) – A period of calculation that looks at a one-year period. The full year’s worth of data is meant to account for seasonality or other calendar shifts. (Also referred to as “running 12 months.”)

transient rooms - Include rooms occupied by those with reservations at rack, corporate, corporate negotiated, package, government, or foreign traveler rates. Also includes occupied rooms booked via third party web sites (exception: simultaneous bookings of 10 or more rooms which should be defined as group).

TRevPAR - Total revenue per available room. The sum total of net revenues from all operated departments plus rentals and other income per available room for the period divided by the total available rooms during the period.

toxic assets - An asset that becomes illiquid when its secondary market disappears. Toxic assets can’t be sold because they’re often guaranteed to lose money. The term “toxic asset” was coined in the financial crisis of 2008/09, in regard to mortgage-backed securities, collateralized debt obligations and credit default swaps, all of which couldn’t be sold after they exposed their holders to massive losses.

tranches - A piece, portion or slice of a deal or structured financing. This portion is one of several related securities that are offered at the same time but have different risks, rewards and/or maturities.

Tranche is often used to describe a specific class of bonds within an offering wherein each tranche offers varying degrees of risk to the investor. For example, a CMO offering a partitioned MBS portfolio might have mortgages (tranches) that have one-year, two- year, five-year and 20-year maturities. It can also refer to segments that are offered domestically and internationally.

turnaway – A potential negative outcome of overbooking, turnaway refers to when a hotel tells a booked guest they cannot accommodate them because no room is available. (Also referred to as “walking.”)


underwater - 1. The condition of a call option when its strike price is higher than the market price of the underlying stock.

2. The condition of a put option when its strike price is lower than the market price of the underlying stock.
Also known as out of the money, an underwater option would be worthless if it expired today.

underwriter - A company or entity that administers the public issuance and distribution of securities from a corporation or other issuing body. An underwriter works closely with the issuing body to determine the offering price of the securities, buys them from the issuer and sells them to investors via the underwriter's distribution network.

Underwriters generally receive underwriting fees from their issuing clients, but they also usually earn profits when selling the underwritten shares to investors. However, underwriters assume the responsibility of distributing a securities issue to the public. If they can’t sell all of the securities at the specified offering price, they may be forced to sell the securities for less than they paid for them or retain the securities themselves.

underwriting – the process of evaluating an investment, including its potential value, risk, future cash flow, probable return, and ability to fund debt; performed by both investors and lenders.

Upselling – A common sales practice used by hotels to generate more revenue by encouraging guests to purchase additional services on property or upgrade rooms.

USALI – First published in 1926, the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry provides hotel owners, managers and others with operational information pertaining to the lodging industry.

value-added tax (VAT) – Taxes on goods and services, including hotel stays, seen in various countries and regions around the globe. The taxes are paid by consumers.

Virtual reality – Often referred to as VR, virtual reality provides a simulated experience through computer-generated three-dimensional images. Hotels use VR for giving guests virtual tours of properties as well as for training staff.

Voice search – Technology that uses speech recognition to allow guests to search by speaking keywords or terms.


walk-in – Guests who arrive to stay at a hotel without a prior reservation.

Wholesalers – Companies that purchase hotel rooms and then sell them to OTAs or travel agents.

world regions – Follows the United Nations World Tourism Guidelines. There are four world regions which are divided into 15 sub-continents as follows:

  • Americas (North America, South America, Central America, Caribbean);
  • Asia Pacific (Central & South Asia, Northeastern Asia, Southeastern Asia, Australia & Oceania);
  • Europe (Northern Europe, Southern Europe, Eastern Europe, Western Europe); and
  • Middle East/Africa (Middle East, Northern Africa, Southern Africa)

write-down - Reducing the book value of an asset because it’s overvalued compared to the market value. This is usually reflected in a company’s income statement as an expense, reducing net income.

year over year (YOY) – A comparison of metrics between a specific date and the same date one year earlier. Often presented as a percentage change.

year to date (YTD) – A period of calculation that begins at the start of a calendar or fiscal year and extends to the current date.

Yield management – The process of determining the right rate to price a hotel room for the right customer at the right time. Yield management differs from revenue management because it only encompasses the revenue generated through the room charges or occupancy. 

zero-hour contract - A type of United Kingdom employment contract where employees have no guaranteed hours of work but must agree to be potentially available, although they are not obliged to accept any employment. This type of contract increased during the past recession.

Source: Hotel News Now research


  • ADR??? October 27, 2010 9:05 AM

    ADR (average daily rate) - A measure of the average rate paid for rooms sold, calculated by dividing room revenue by rooms sold. (ADR = room revenue / rooms sold)
    Historically the definition of ADR was very broad (and short): Room Revenue divided by occupied rooms, with RevPar being Room Revenue divided by available rooms.

    Interestingly enough Property Management Systems (PMS) almost universally include in Room Charge coding things such as Rollaway Charges, Extra Person Fees, Pet Fees, Forfeited Advance Deposit, the latest clearly being a “sale” because sale tax is involved but since no room is occupied, arguably not a sold room. All of the above mentioned charges must be “Room Charge” because all hotel systems expect royalties on them.

    PMSes are also designed now days to count as an occupied room “no charge rooms” such as in a Buy2Get1 promotion. No room charge is occurs on the designated night, no sales tax, so is this a sold room by your definition or not? It certainly is an occupied room. Routinely as part of group negotiations, hotels offer complimentary rooms and they would certainly be occupied rooms. Are they “sold rooms” by your definition?

    I would be interested in your view.

  • shiggins7 October 27, 2010 11:28 AM

    To ADR???, according to STR's Data Reporting Guidelines, the following are included in rooms sold figures: revenue generating rooms sold, partial day rooms sold, and rooms occupied without charge in connection with a promotion or contract.

    Complimentary rooms not associated with a contract and guaranteed "no-shows" are NOT reported.

    Thanks for your question! -Stacey Higgins, News Editor-International

  • April 27, 2013 9:41 PM

    I live in Vietnam, I have land in Vietnam, near the resorts, a beautiful piece of land near the sea, a business area of the hotel is very convenient, I write this email to call for business investmentresort hotels and resorts here.Hope can help my business capital investment for this land.Please help me to be able to have better business opportunities, opening a beautiful resort.My land is one of the famous landmarks, which is the world famous beautiful city, the city of Nha Trang, Khanh Hoa, Vietnam. Sincerely look forward to your help. My name is Kim Hoa Kim Hoa Thank you so much

  • Tomas November 4, 2013 11:49 AM

    Please explain room revenue multiplier further, thank you.

  • Craig March 6, 2014 9:59 AM

    What is the average rate for revenue split for hotel and parking service?

  • virendra singh March 10, 2014 9:52 PM

    I like this very much

  • Rais Ahmed May 4, 2014 7:17 PM

    Thanks for uploading such useful glossary. thanks again

  • Marilyn Evans June 5, 2014 4:45 AM

    Could you please add a definition of "Luxury hotels" so that I can decipher the differences between full-service hotels and luxury hotels because in my hospitality class they are saying that these two types hotels are different?

  • hjones37781 June 25, 2014 5:57 AM

    Great List. I would suggest that the next time around you add Property Improvement Plan (PIP) to the list. Hank Jones

  • Nicolas June 25, 2014 9:00 AM

    ROCE should on the list

  • Dave July 2, 2014 5:52 AM

    Good list but Property Improvement Plan (PIP) NEEDS to be included! It's something that all hotels encounter at one point or another.

  • Nick July 11, 2014 11:48 AM

    OTA should be on the list

  • luisa January 26, 2015 7:14 AM

    It would be useful to have the different types of hotel services (e.g luxury, upscale, etc.)

  • Mcarrier February 2, 2015 5:05 AM

    Definition of Select Service should be added.

  • Anonymous February 27, 2015 3:43 AM

    Wonderul Acy

  • Anoynomus March 11, 2015 6:49 AM

    This was definitly prepared by a bean counter. The first thing you think of in this industry when you see AAA is American Automobikle Association not bond ratings.

  • Anonymous March 11, 2015 12:05 PM

    Great list, I would add BQT to the list

  • Kingshuk Sensarma October 9, 2015 10:28 AM

    Can we have the description of Total pricing andIincreased occupancy?

  • Anonymous October 28, 2015 1:40 AM

    Some of the very basic terms are missing, like Gross Room Revenue (related to the treatment of sales tax, VAT, etc.), Manager Liability/ies.

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  • Eric in LA September 9, 2016 2:17 PM

    Used to work in hotels years ago, but forgot and I don't see it defined anywhere. What are available rooms, including comps or not? Ultimately, if hotel has 100 rooms, sold 75 and had 10 comps, is occupancy 75% or 85%?

  • Eric in LA September 9, 2016 2:18 PM

    Used to work in hotels years ago, but forgot and I don't see it defined anywhere. What are available rooms, including comps or not? Ultimately, if hotel has 100 rooms, sold 75 and had 10 comps, is occupancy 75% or 85%?

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  • Ron Kozinski September 28, 2016 12:59 AM

    To be in sync with the latest Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Indistry ("USALI"); Net Operating Income ("NOI") should be replaced with Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization ("EBITDA").

  • Jean-Pierre DABADIE March 1, 2017 11:56 AM

    As far I can know, FIT would mean Full Inclusive Tour for the guest bying a package (hotel+flight+transfers+..) from a travel agent

  • Michael July 19, 2017 4:00 PM

    What is the term for the most important property in a chain or group of properties?

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  • Henry December 9, 2017 11:32 AM

    Can you explain Flex and flow?

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    Can someone explain what is FHA?

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    Always a good job right here. Keep rolling on thhrogu.

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