Booking system & hospitality glossary

All the jargon associated with property management systems and the hospitality industry can be confusing, so we've created a glossary to explain everything hospitality from ADR to ZBB. Perhaps you'd like to know what's the difference between a booking system and a channel manager? Read on or search this page to find out.


Average daily rate or ADR is a financial indicator to compare the performance of hotels against competitors with a similar clientele. The ADR is the average rental income per room in a given time period. It is often considered a key performance metric for hospitality businesses.

Adults Only

Not as rude as it sounds, this is an increasingly popular sector which targets quiet calm holidays without families and small children.


An all-inclusive resort usually includes all activities or facilities in the price. For example a swimming pool would have no extra charge.

Balance Payments

Balance payments are required when a customer pays a deposit to secure a rental, and then has to pay the balance at some future date. Some booking systems support automatically chasing balance payments with guests.


The BAR or Best Available Rate is the lowest rate at which a guest can book for a given time period.

Bed Nights

Bed nights is the total number of occupied beds divided by the total number of beds available.


A Bed & Breakfast establishment offers breakfast, and a bed. It is distinguished from a hotel by not providing other services and an evening meal in a restaurant.


A booking is a record of a particular stay by a guest at a property, usually within a property management system.

Booking Policy

A booking policy dictates how customers may book, and rules around checkin times, pets and behaviour while on the site. It is often a summary of the full Terms & Conditions for a given property.

Booking System

A booking system, or property management system, is used to manage bookings, guests and associated records like rates and units for a given property. Bedful is an example of a booking system.

Cancellation Policy

A cancellation policy is the policy of a property when a guest chooses to cancel a booking. It usually covers refunds, right to rebook on different dates, etc. You can read more about cancellation policies on bedful in our Cancellations guide.


Capacity is the maximum number of units or rooms in a given property or sometimes the maximum number of guests. Booking systems may provide tools to limit capacity at peak times.


Channels are the different methods by which a booking can be made, for example Telephone, Direct, Website, Travel Agents, Sales Websites etc.

Channel Manager

A channel manager is used to link availability on different websites together, so that the same availability and details can be seen on several websites. For example Bedful can be used as a channel manager to publish details on multiple sales channels.


Some properties charge different rates for children than for adults, or allow children under a certain age to holiday for free. Bedful supports complex rate schemes like this by allowing charges on the basis of age.

Content Management Service

A CMS or Content Management Service allows a business to manage content for their property like images, text, ratings or reviews. Property Management Systems usually include some form of CMS to manage the content for a given site and its units.


Commission is a fee paid by a property to sales channels for providing bookings to them. Normally this is a percentage of the sales price, up to 20% in some markets.


A CRM or Customer Relationship Management tool allows a hospitality business to track interactions with its customers and easily respond to their enquiries.

Destination Management Company

A Destination Management Company provides events, tours and other services for holidays at a given location, usually they are used by companies without local experience to manage holidays at another destination.

Direct Channels

Direct channels are usually those with 0% commission for a hotel or property business, for example Telephone sales, direct sales to repeating customers, . Property managers normally prefer to maximise sales through these channels so that they don't have to pay OTAs commission, though it is notoriously difficult to survive solely on direct channel income.

Distribution Channel

A distribution channel is usually considered as a distinct channel for which sales may come in for a given hospitality business, for example Telephone, Web or Print. Sales channels are sometimes also considered distribution channels, along with Direct Channels.


Discounts are a way of offering lower prices to customers for a period, usually to stimulate demand for a holiday on a period which otherwise might be less attractive.


A holiday resort which welcomes our four-legged friends and is happy to accommodate them.

Double Booking

Also known as a booking clash, this is usually the result of failing to update availability on several OTAs, resulting in one of the OTAs selling availability which has already been used elsewhere. You should strenuously try to avoid this because guests will be understandably upset when it happens.

Double Occupancy Rate

DOR or Double Occupancy Rate is the discounted rate when two people occupy a room meant for one person.

Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic pricing or demand based pricing varies the price of a given stay depending on the demand. While popular with hoteliers it can be less popular with guests as there is no longer one simple rate for a given stay.


Extras or add-ons are extra items which guests might buy with their stay, for example a campsite might offer a hamper to guests, or a hotel might offer meals as an additional cost.


Unlike Adult Only sites, these holiday destinations welcome families and often have activities and events which are tailored towards younger children.


The GDPR  or General Data Protection Regulation is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy in the European Union and EEA. It also addresses the transfer of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas. The goal of GDPR is to give control to individuals over their personal data and to simplify the regulatory environment for international business by unifying the regulation within the EU. Your business must respect these rules if you deal with data from European customers.


Bedful uses groups to group similar units together for display to guests, and reporting to partners on the backend.

Group Bookings

Group bookings are typically one booking for lots of units by a large group of guests who all want to stay together.

Green Hotel

A green hotel aims for zero or low carbon footprint, and is often built from sustainable materials. The hotel may institute policies like low-energy lighting, less frequent linen changes, and eco-friendly toilets which use less water, and may also be known as an eco-friendly hotel.

Hotel Classification

Hotels are classified based on a star rating system from 1 to 5 stars based on facilities provided and the standard of service.


iCal is a calendar format used for exchanging information about events. For example it can be used to exchange information about bookings between property management systems. You can read more about syncing with iCal on our iCal syncing guide.


Inventory is the number of units or rooms that a property has available for a given period.


A KPI or Key Performance Indicator is a key metric which a business uses to track performance. In the case of hospitality businesses this is often an occupancy rate or average price.

Layering Rates

Layering rates means adding rates together to come up with a final price with several different components. Bedful allows combining rates (layering), in order to charge a base rate and a nightly rate on top, or a nightly rate and a per-person rate on top. 

Low Season

Low season is the time period when demand is lowest for a given property, and thus prices are typically lower as well. Properties may use sales channels like Cool Camping or Glampingly to fill demand during low season when they are unable to fill accommodation otherwise.


Messages are a tool used by Bedful hosts to communicate with guests, typically by email. Bedful provides opportunities to message guests at key points in the customer journey, for example when they book, at a set period before their holiday, when their holiday starts, and after it ends.

Nightly Rates

Nightly rates are those charging on a per night basis for a stay (as opposed to per person or weekly for example).


An Online Travel Agent is an outlet selling holidays to guests, so a property might be listed on many different OTAs. Also known as a sales channel. Cool Camping is a prominent OTA in the UK Camping space.

Occupancy Rate

The rate of occupancy of a given property - usually the number of rooms divided by the number of rooms booked.

Payment Processor

A payment processor like Square or Stripe takes money from guests in the form of credit card payments, charges a fee, then passes the money on to the vendor. Fees vary but are typically around 2% of the charge for this service.

Peak Season

Peak season is the time when demand is highest, and thus pricing is highest in most accommodation.

Per-Person Rates

Per-person rates are another style of pricing which charges for each person on the booking. It may be combined with other styles of rate like weekly or per night to create a final price based on a base rate plus an additional charge per-person.

PRice matching

Price matching is the practice of matching prices between different sales channels to allow guests to book without worrying about the price being cheaper elsewhere.

Property Management System

A property management system is used to manage all the details about a property, including images, units, pricing and other associated records like bookings. It may also be referred to as a booking system.

Quirky Accommodation

Quirky accommodation ranges from the quaint (converted shepherds huts) to the bizarre (an airplane or a boat perched on top of a building), but it's all to rent somewhere in the world.


Rates are used to set the pricing of a particular stay at a site, and may have many different forms, for example they may specific a price for a weekly stay, a period of a few days, or a nightly stay.


Reviews are left by guests to indicate how much they enjoyed their stay - usually with a star rating and some prose. Some sales channels also provide a reviews service to guests and an opportunity to respond to hosts. Bedful lets you manage and respond to your reviews within the property management system.

Sales Channel

A Sales Channel is an outlet selling holidays to guests, so a property might be listed on many different sales channels. Also known as an OTA.


Seasons are the periods for which a given property is open for booking. They can also mean time periods within that opening period where pricing or availability is different (for example Bank holidays).

Security Deposits

Security deposits are money held by a property against a credit card or debit account owned by the guest, and released when the guest leaves as long as there is no damage caused by their stay.


A turnaway is a guest who is refused custom (typically by a hotel) because the hotel is overbooked for a given time period or there is another issue with their accommodation. Some hotels deliberately overbook in the expectation that not all guests will turn up, which can lead to turning away guests in this way. This can of course cause frustration amongst guests and we don't recommend it.


Units represent a bookable space within a property, for example rooms, pitches, caravans or even campervans!


Valued Added Tax is a tax imposed by governments on holidays and other associated purchases.

Verified Reviews

Verified reviews are provided by certain sales channels like Cool Camping to provide a guarantee that the person leaving the review stayed at a given property.


A walk-in is a guest who walks in off the street and proceeds to book a room at the standard rate. Often this type of guest will be charged more than one who books in advance.

Walked Guests

When a hotel is full sometimes guests will be walked to alternative accommodation nearby. These are known as walked guests.

Youth Hostel

A youth hostel is a form of hotel which offers beds, often in shared rooms, and with shared facilities, for a lower cost that other hotels. In the UK youth hostels are run by the YHA.


Yield is the return for a given investment.

Zero-Based Budgeting

ZBB is a budgeting method based on calculated each new period afresh, and justifying expenses based on projected usage for that period (for example on very seasonal sites some contracts or staff are not required for the quieter months of the year).