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Travel Glossary

Does your TMC have an OBT connected to a GDS, integrating NDC content, so you can book the BFOD?

The travel industry is a world of acronyms and unique terms. For those that don’t work in travel, it can be a battlefield of deciphering a whole new language especially if you are involved in the management of your company’s business travel. To assist, we have worked our way through the A, B, and Cs of travel jargon to help you better understand the travel industry and have you speak our language in no time. And we’ve added a travel industry must-have – the phonetic alphabet – for your reference too.

A (Alpha)

Aggregator: A website or booking platform that collects and displays travel content from multiple sources (airlines, hotels, car) in a single location for a comprehensive comparison of options and prices for a destination.

API: A particular set of rules and specifications that software programmes mes can follow to communicate with each other. It serves as an interface between different software programme mes and facilitates their interaction, similar to the way the user interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers.

Advance purchase:  An airfare or hotel room that must be purchased a certain number of days ahead of departure, usually 7, 14, or 21 days, for the best fare. Most Advance purchase fares and tariffs have a stringent non-refundable policy and are not modifiable.

Advanced purchase rate: A restriction on a fare that requires a specific number of days prior to qualify (e.g., airfare, hotel room, cruise, etc.)

ADR: Average daily rate. A hotel industry term used by revenue managers to calculate the average hotel room rate. It is calculated by the room revenue divided by the rooms sold.

Airport code: A 3-letter code used to identify airports around the world. For example LAX – Los Angeles international airport.

B (Bravo)

BFOD: Best fare of the day. This term is used within corporate travel policies which implies the travel booker or traveller is to book the cheapest fare/rate available at the time of booking.

Business traveller: A person that travels for business purposes.

Block-out dates: This is a term used by hotels within their corporate rate agreements or group contracts to exclude the use of negotiated corporate rates during peak event dates as determined by the hotel or hotel chain.

BAR: Best available rate.  The lowest unrestricted rate for a hotel room available to guests on a given day.

BTA: A business travel account, sometimes known as a “ghost card”, is a central billing and payment solution provided by travel management companies for clients to manage expenses. It allows for the payment of travel services without the need for a physical credit card to be issued.

Bumped: When an airline has oversold a flight and the removal of passengers is required.

C (Charlie)

CTM: Corporate Travel Management – a global leader in business travel management services.

Concierge: The individual or desk in a hotel that attends to guests’ special requests or needs, such as providing theatre reservations or tour information.

Carbon credits: Carbon credits are measurable, verifiable emission reductions from certified climate action projects and are provided in the form of a certificate that confirms the volume of carbon credits that have been retired.

Carbon offset: Reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by purchasing credits through emissions reduction projects and/or carbon trading schemes.

Carbon budgets: The maximum amount of carbon emissions allowed for a company’s, individual’s, or department‘s travel activities, to reduce the company’s overall carbon footprint.

Chargeback: A payment authority issued to a travel supplier to charge an account or corporate credit card for the approved travel services provided.

Cancellation policy: The conditions set out by the travel supplier (airline/hotel/car) and/or agent relating to the cancellation of travel services. This may include the required period of notice, and associated costs relating to the cancellation.

City pair: The origin and arrival destination of a trip.

Code share: Airlines that share the same flight numbers and operate as one carrier for specified routes and city pairs. An airline alliance (for example Oneworld, Star Alliance, SkyTeam) where a seat is purchased on one airline (the selling carrier), but the flight is operated by a different airline within the alliance (the operating carrier).

Corporate rate: A negotiated rate with travel suppliers for business travel.

Corporate fare:  A negotiated airfare for business travel.

CVM: Client Value Manager – your dedicated CTM Account Manager.



D (Delta)

Days in advance: The number of days before the departure date in which the booking is made.

Debtor: Your company or business unit for travel booking purposes.

E (Echo)

Electronic boarding pass: A digital airline boarding pass that is usually accessible on a mobile phone. It serves as proof of check-in and boarding authorization for a flight.

Electronic ticket (E-Ticket): Electronic Ticket transmission that eliminates the need for a paper ticket.

Early check-in: When a hotel allows a guest to check-in before the designated check-in time. This will be determined by hotel occupancy and may include fees.

ETA: Estimated time of arrival.

ETD: Estimated time of departure.

EV: Electric vehicle.

F (Foxtrot)

Fare class: The class of travel that an airline offers, such as economy, premium economy, business class, or first class.

Fare basis: The code used to identify the pricing rules and conditions for a particular fare class.

Fare type: Refers to the different types of airfares offered by airlines and their associated inclusions and conditions, such as flex or saver.

Famil: Familiarisation trips are marketing initiatives that invite travel professionals to experience a region or destination and travel products and or services such as an airline or a hotel.

FIT: Free independent traveller. This term is used to indicate individual travellers who are not part of a group.

FOP: Form of Payment.

Frequent flyer programme: An airline membership programme where individual travellers earn points and status credits based on trips travelled. These points can be used to redeem or upgrade flights, book additional airline services (such as Lounge access or excess baggage), or book airline partner products and services.

Full house: A hotel that is at 100% occupancy.

G (Golf)

GDS: A global distribution system is a system containing information about availability, prices, and related services for airlines, car rental companies, hotel companies, rail companies, etc., through which reservations can be made and tickets can be issued. A GDS also makes some or all of these functions available to subscribing travel agents, booking engines, and airlines. The GDS leaders include Amadeus, Apollo/Galileo, Sabre, and Worldspan.

GBTA: Global Business Travel Association – a global business travel and meetings trade organization that delivers education, events, research, advocacy, and media to a network of travel professionals.

Group: Often categorized as 10 or more people travelling together in a single booking.

H (Hotel)

Hub: An airport or transit location that serves as a connecting point for travel services to onward destinations.

I (India)

Incidentals: Incidentals refer to expenses incurred by a traveller during a trip that is not included in the primary travel expenses, such as meals, phone calls, car parking, and other miscellaneous costs. These expenses are typically reimbursed separately from the primary travel expenses and may be subject to different policies and limits.

IATA: International Air Transport Association is the trade association for the world’s airlines supporting many areas of aviation activity and helping formulate industry policy on critical aviation issues.

J (Juliet)

Joint fare: A fare option offered by airlines that allows travellers to purchase a single ticket for a trip that involves multiple airlines through a codeshare or interline agreement.

K (Kilo)

L (Lima)

LRA: Last room availability is a contract between a company and a hotel. It guarantees that the hotel will sell its rooms to the company at the contracted price, regardless of how many rooms are left in the room category negotiated.

Land only: Includes only the cost of ground transportation, accommodation, and other non-airfare expenses.

Layover: The period spent between connecting flights on the ground.

LCC: Low-cost carrier (airline)

Lightning: Corporate Travel Management’s proprietary online booking tool.  

Loyalty programme: Offered by select airlines, hotels, and car rental companies. These loyalty programmes allow individuals and or businesses to earn points and use points. Some will also provide tiered memberships or status driven by the frequency with which their services are used.

M (Mike)

M&E: Meetings and Events  – A group or department that encompasses the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions industry and the meetings and services provided. In travel, a large group of people in one place for a meeting, conference, exhibition, or invective (performance reward travel).

MICE: Meetings, incentives, conferences, and events. MICE forms part of the broader travel industry and can be referred to as business tourism or business events.

MCT: Minimum connect time The minimum time required between connecting flights. This will vary from domestic to international itineraries, airports, and carriers.

Multi-airport city: A city that offers more than one major airport. For example, London has, UK – Heathrow Airport (LHR), Gatwick Airport (LGW), Stansted Airport (STN),  and Luton Airport (LTN)

N (November)

NDC: New Distribution Capability is a programme that modernizes airline content distribution and sales by enabling more personalized and dynamic offers for customers.

NLRA: Non-last room availability is a contract between a company and a hotel. It guarantees that the hotel will sell its rooms to the company at the contracted price subject to the hotel occupancy. Agreed rates may be made unavailable at the hotel’s discretion.

No-show: A term meaning a passenger had a reservation but failed to use it and did not cancel.

Nett rate: The price of flights and accommodation excluding commission.

Non-commissionable: A rate or fare that does not include or qualify for a commission payment.

O (Oscar)

OBT: An online booking tool is a piece of corporate travel technology that allows businesses and their employees to book their business travel services (flights, hotel, car rental, rail) online.

Open skies policy: Refers to a corporate travel policy that allows employees to book flights on any airline to provide more flexibility and choice, and potentially reduce costs by finding the most competitive fares available.

OTA: Online travel agent

Open-jaw itinerary: A trip that has no air travel between two points on the itinerary.

Online adoption rateThe percentage of tickets issued via an online booking tool compared to booking over the phone or email with a Travel Consultant.

One-way drop-off charge/fee: A drop-off charge is a fee charged by a car rental company when a rental car is returned to a different location from where it was picked up.


P (Papa)

Point to point: Direct travel between two locations without layovers or connecting flights.

Preferred supplier programme:  A preferred supplier programme involves establishing a list of preferred travel suppliers with whom travellers are encouraged/required to book. Often this programme is developed from a contractual agreement between a company and a specific travel supplier (airline, hotel, car rental company) in which the supplier offers discounted rates, and or value adds, in exchange for a guaranteed volume of business or market share from the company.

Pre-paid: The arrangement in which airfares, accommodation, or car hire are paid in advance by the company, traveller, or Travel Manager. If a rate or fare is to be pre-paid it may have terms and conditions that stipulate it is non-refundable.

Payment terms: The conditions and timeline for payment of travel expenses incurred by employees on behalf of the company, including the accepted methods of payment, billing cycles, due dates, and any applicable discounts, penalties, or interest charges. These terms are usually outlined in a travel policy or contract and may vary depending on the nature and volume of the travel expenses.

Pax: PassengersAn abbreviation in the travel industry that refers to passengers, particularly in the context of air travel.

PNR: Passenger Name Record is a customer reservation number in the GDS. The PNR is used by airlines, travel agents, and other travel providers to track and manage reservations and itineraries.

Phonetic alphabet: Created to ensure clear and standardized communication among pilots and air traffic controllers. Commonly used by travel industry employees.

Psuedo city code – A PCC is a unique identifier assigned to a travel agency or travel management company (TMC) within a global distribution system (GDS) to identify the booking agency.

Q (Quebec)

Queue: A queue is a list of reservations that require special attention by a travel consultant, typically organized by priority or category, such as pending bookings, waitlisted reservations, ticketing deadlines, or cancelled trips.

R (Romeo)

Restricted fare:  A discounted airfare offered by airlines that comes with certain restrictions, such as advance purchase requirements, minimum stay requirements, or limitations on changes or cancellations. These fares often have lower prices than unrestricted fares.

Road warrior: An employee who frequently travels for business, often spending a significant portion of their time on the road or in the air.

RFP: Request for Proposal is a formal document that a company issues to travel suppliers, such as airlines, hotels, and travel management companies, to solicit bids and proposals for travel services. The RFP process allows companies to compare and evaluate multiple travel suppliers and select the one that best meets their needs.

Reloc: A ‘record locator’, also known as a reservation code or confirmation number, is a unique identifier assigned to a travel booking made with an airline, hotel, or travel agency. It is used to retrieve and manage reservations.

Red-eye flight: A late-night or overnight flight that arrives at its destination in the early morning. It gets its name from the fact that passengers often have red eyes from lack of sleep during the flight.

RTW: Round the World. Some airlines or alliances extend discounted or promotional offers for RTW fares.

ROH: Run of House refers to a hotel room that is assigned at the discretion of the hotel shortly before arrival. This means that the guest does not choose the room type or location in the hotel.

Res: Short for reservation.

Reissue: A new airline ticket is generated by exchanging an existing one due to changes. This may include change fees and penalties.


S (Sierra)

Seat pitch: The distance between a point on one aircraft seat and the same point on the seat in front or behind it.

Self-booker: An employee or traveller that is permitted to make their travel arrangements without the assistance of Travel Manager or Travel Consultant. This may involve using an online booking tool or app approved by the company.

SAF: Sustainable Aviation Fuel is the main term used by the aviation industry to describe fuel produced from sustainable feedstocks and is very similar in its chemistry to traditional fossil jet fuel. Using SAF results in a reduction in carbon emissions compared to the traditional jet fuel it replaces over the lifecycle of the fuel and mainly through the manufacturing process.

SLA: A Service Level Agreement is a contractual agreement between a travel management company or supplier and its clients that outlines the level of service to be provided, including the quality, responsiveness, and timeliness of the services delivered.

SME: Small to Medium-sized business/enterprise refers to businesses that have a certain revenue spend falling between small and large organizations.

Segment: One part of a journey within a larger travel itinerary. Sometimes referred to as a ‘leg’ of a trip. A segment equates to take-off and landing.

T (Tango)

TMC: A travel management company is a specialized corporate travel agency that provides a range of travel services (including booking flights, hotels, and car rental) to corporate clients, and extends to strategic travel policy development, supplier negotiations, expense management, reporting, and duty of care services to help companies manage their travel programme effectively.

T&E: Travel and Entertainment expenses incurred by employees while travelling for business or attending events for business. They may include flights, hotels, meals, and ground transport, and are typically paid or reimbursed by the employer based on a predetermined policy and approval process.

Transit: To transit involves a transfer between transportation services, such as a connecting flight or train, or simply passing through a location on the way to the final destination.

Transient: A traveller who only stays in a place for a short period of time.

Travel credit: Credits are offered when the conditions of the booking do not permit a refund. Typically issued as a dollar value that can be applied towards the cost of future bookings with the nominated airline. Travel credits may have certain restrictions, such as expiration dates or non-transferable. Also referred to as tickets on hold or credit on hold.

Travel programme: Policies, procedures, and guidelines established by a company to manage and control business-related travel. A travel programme may include policies related to travel booking, expense management, preferred suppliers, sustainability, compliance, risk management, duty of care, and traveller support.

Travel policy: The policy outlines the process and requirements for booking and managing travel expenses, as well as any restrictions and guidelines that employees must adhere to when travelling for work. The primary objective of a travel policy is to ensure that employees travel safely, efficiently, and cost-effectively while meeting the business objectives of the company.

Travel Manager / Programme Manager: A person that’s responsible for managing a company’s travel programme, including policies, procedures, and relationships with travel suppliers.

Travel Arranger / Booker: Someone who is responsible for booking business travel on behalf of employees within a company. This can include booking flights, hotels, rental cars, and other travel arrangements, as well as managing itineraries and travel expenses.

Travel Advisor / Consultant: A travel professional who provides expert advice and guidance on travel arrangements for businesses and their employees. They work closely with Travel Arrangers and Travel Managers to facilitate travel needs, including booking flights, hotels, rental cars, and other travel arrangements.

TTL: A Ticketing Time Limit is the time limit airlines stipulate for a ticket to be purchased and issued to avoid cancellation or expiry of the airfare.

TTV: Total transaction value. This term is used to describe the total value of all travel-related transactions, such as airline tickets, hotel bookings,  and car rentals that are processed by a travel management company (TMC).

U (Uniform)

UATP: Universal Air Travel Plan is a global payment system that enables businesses to make payments for travel-related expenses through a single account. It helps to provide enhanced data reporting and fraud prevention measures.

Upscale: A category of hotel. This term is often used by hotels in RFPs to categorize their brand or chain. Generally upscale is considered to offer a higher level of luxury and service than a mid-range or budget hotel. This may include amenities such as higher-quality bedding and linens, upscale toiletries, on-site dining options, a fitness centre, a pool, and more.

V (Victor)

VCC: A Virtual Credit Card is a digital payment solution. A VCC is a unique one-time-use credit card number that is generated for a specific transaction. It can be used to pay for air, hotel, and car-related expenses.

VIP: Very Important Persons or groups are people that are given privileges, special treatment, or services due to their status or importance within a company. VIP travellers may include high-level executives, key stakeholders, or clients who require customized and personalized travel arrangements.

Visa: A document that grants permission to enter a country for a specific purpose and for a period of time.

W (Whiskey)

Waitlist: A waitlist refers to a reservation status for flights or hotels where the requested availability is not currently available, but the traveller wants to be notified if space becomes available in the future.

X (X-ray)

Y (Yankee)

Yield management: The process of optimizing revenue by dynamically adjusting prices in response to market demand. Airlines and hotels will adjust rates and fares based on capacity and occupancy.

Z (Zulu)