Although we would prefer that you book with us, we know many of you do book directly with the hotel or online so here’s some helpful hotel jargon courtesy of USA Today that can help you out:
While certain terms might be familiar territory in everyday life, in the hotel world they can have completely different meanings. Even if hotels aren’t intentionally trying to trip you up, they can catch you with words like “adjoining” and “efficiency.” And the only way to really know what you’re booking is to know what those terms mean. Nobody wants to get to their hotel room in Eastern Europe to find out their room actually doesn’t have a bathroom attached. Here are a few terms you should become familiar with to avoid a booking mix-up.
Accessibility: Refers to handicap accessibility. For example, an “accessible bed” is a handicap-accessible bed.
Adjoining rooms: Rooms that are next door to each other, but not connected internally by a door — those would be connecting rooms.
Airport hotel: A hotel that’s — wait for it — near the airport. Places won’t (or shouldn’t, but better double-check) classify themselves this way unless they offer services to/from the airport, like a shuttle.
American plan: A rate that includes three meals. A “modified American plan” includes two meals.
B&B inn: Bigger than a regular bed-and-breakfast. Anything with more than a handful of rooms can be categorized as a B&B Inn.
Early bird rate: A cheaper room rate for booking early (whether weeks or months). The downside is these rooms are usually non-refundable or incur a hefty fee for modifying or canceling.
Efficiency room: A room that includes a kitchen area or kitchenette, and often a small dining area, too.
En suite: Room with a directly connecting bathroom.
European plan: A rate that only includes the cost of the room, with no meals included.
Full service hotel: Pretty much exactly what it sounds like: a hotel equipped with the staff and amenities to provide almost any service you can think of (food, recreation, maintenance, etc.).
Guaranteed reservation: A room reservation that’s locked in because it’s already been paid for, or because a card or direct billing info has been presented. In other words, the property knows it’s getting its money. A non-guaranteed reservation means a room for which a guest has not put money down. A property will usually hold that room for a certain period of time and then give it to another guest if needed.
Green season: Euphemism for “rainy season.”
House limit: Maximum amount guests can charge on a card without a required A-OK from the credit card company.
IVA: The term for “Value Added Tax,” or VAT, in Spanish-speaking countries. When comparing lodging prices, you’ll always want to know whether the number you’re seeing includes the tax or not, because it makes a big difference.
Motel: Budget properties where all rooms open outside. They’re located near the main road, and often are only one floor.
Motor inn: Multi-story motels.
Occupancy rate: A property’s average number of occupied rooms.
OTA: Any third-party booking platform like Expedia or Booking.com is an OTA, or online travel agency.
Rack rate: The room rate as officially advertised. It’s pretty much always negotiable, though, and people rarely end up paying the rack rate — or at least they shouldn’t be.
Resort fees: Watch for these, because while a property might say it’s “all-inclusive,” it probably also tacks on fees that can range from “cleaning” to “processing.”
Shoulder season rates: Off-season rates, which also happen to be the cheapest.
Standard resort: Not all-inclusive. Certain amenities or extras, whether food or activities, are charged separate from the room rate.
If you would like assistance when booking your next hotel stay please contact us. We can often get the same rate if not better and added amenities.