Business Travel Definitions

Glossary of business travel, travel management and travel expense terms
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Agent-assisted bookings: Generally in agent-assisted bookings, travel agents will help with booking any travel needs.

Adoption Rate

This is the percentage of travel bookings made through a designated, company-approved online booking platform.

Airport Code

Airports that are part of the International Airport Transport Association (IATA) worldwide have a three-letter code to identify them. For example, LHR (London-Heathrow) and SFO (San Francisco International).

Airport Access Fee

A fee paid by car rental companies for the use of shuttle vehicles. Paid to the airport authority, this often appears in customers' car rental bills.

Ancillary Services

Extra amenities that a traveler can purchase while traveling. This could include but is not limited to: onboard food and beverages, checked baggage, seat upgrades, and priority boarding.


The Airlines Reporting Corporation is responsible for supervising payments from travel agencies to airlines and the process of issuing tickets to consumers.

Average Daily Rate (ADR)

The average realized room rental per day. This is calculated by taking total rooms revenue earned over total number of rooms sold.


APEX Fare stands for advance purchase excursion and is a type of airline fare that is discounted due to certain usage restrictions.

Airline Joint Venture

A joint venture is an agreement between airlines in which they jointly set pricing, scheduling and revenue sharing. This is typically only done in specific regions and requires government approval.

Airline Alliances

These very basic associations, such as oneworld, SkyTeam, and Star Alliance, see very wide participation from airlines. Alliance members work together to share flight routes, airport lounges, ground crews, and even their booking systems. Frequent flyers miles can be used with airlines across the alliance, and members can market seats for partner airlines on their own website.

Business Class

Business class is an airline class that is above economy or premium economy, with upgraded amenities, service, and seating. With TripActions, not only can you book business class, but you can use your rewards to upgrade for a smoother flight experience.


Defined as the Best Available Rate, usually in reference to hotels or car rentals.

Basic Economy

This is the lowest airfare that comes with certain restrictions, such as limits on carry-on luggage and seating assignments. Each airline has its own set of restrictions.

Booking Engine

Web-based products that enable individuals to make airline, hotel, train and car reservations.

Blackout Dates

Black-out dates are the specific dates set by the airline, hotel, or car rental agency when special discounts, promotions, or use of miles are not permitted.

Business Continuity

Business continuity is the process of planning and preparing for external events that threaten the ongoing operations of a business.


When a hotel bills a customer’s TMC directly for the traveler’s stay. Travelers don’t need to pay for the room or tax at the hotel, although they can still be asked to put a card on file upon check-in for incidentals.

Boutique Hotels

Unaffiliated (independent) hotels with fewer than 100 rooms.

Business Expenses

Business expenses are the costs or purchases businesses incur to fund their operations. These expenses are for company purposes only and can range vastly across departments: from payroll, to rent for office space, digital products subscriptions, AdWords, travel and lodging for business trips, shipping costs, and even data storage.

Corporate Travel Policy

A corporate travel policy is a set of guidelines created by a company for their business travel created by their travel managers and used by employees as they plan trips on behalf of the company, and typically outlines protocol on travel.

City Pairs

A pair of cities: the origin and destination on an itinerary.

Cross-platform Search

Start a search on web and pick it back up on the mobile app.

Customer Channels

Customer channels are inventory sources such as the Expedia Affiliate Network and Priceline Partner Network.


An agreement between two or more airlines which allows one carrier to market and collect payment for a flight operated by another carrier.


Corporate Negotiated Rate.

Customer Data Fields (CDF)

Customer Data Fields are used to collect specific company information such as an employee’s role and department.


Class of service.

Chain Discounts

A negotiationed discount between businesses and entire hotel chains. If the company is large enough, they may be able to receive a blanket discount at all chain properties.


Credit Card Authorization is a review that checks if the customer has sufficient funds on their card to pay for the transaction.

Centralized Billing

A form of billing in which the customer receives a consolidated invoice of all travel charges.

Consortia Rate

A discounted rate agreement between an agency and hotel. Consortia rates are negotiated by travel management companies making them available to all the agency's travelers and can include various value-adds.

Corporate Card

A corporate card is like a credit or debit card issued to a business or organization. The business entity is legally responsible for charges made to the card, not the individual card owner.


An off-duty airline employee traveling in a passenger seat.

Dynamic Pricing

Dynamic Pricing is a strategy in which airlines and hotels change prices based on algorithms that take into account competitor pricing as well as supply and demand.

Duty of Care

Duty of care is an organization's moral and legal obligation to care for employees while they're conducting business. As it relates to business travel, duty of care involves ensuring the safety of traveling employees.

Direct flight

Different from "nonstop," a passenger flying on a direct flight will not have connections or a change in flight number — but they may stop for refueling, to add/disembark passengers, or to actually change aircraft.


Electronic System for Travel Authorization, used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Wavier Program.

Expense Automation

Expense automation is the practice of using modern technology solutions to streamline a company’s expense management processes.

Expense Management Software

Expense management software is technology utilized by companies to authorize, manage, and edit employee expense claims. This software is also useful for implementing practices for employee reimbursement.

Expense Policy

Expense policies are dynamic sets of guidelines created and enforced by companies that employees can turn to for understanding business-related expenses and travel costs.

Expense Reimbursements

Expense reimbursement is compensation paid by a business to employees, customers, or third parties that incur out-of-pocket expenses or overpayments on transactions made on behalf of that company.

Expense Report

An expense report is a working document that encompasses expenses incurred on behalf of the company within a certain time frame. Typically broken down by categories and itemized, this report helps finance and accounting teams determine what money was spent where, when and for how much while simultaneously approving in-policy transactions.

Expense Report Software

Expense report software is the technology used to automate and streamline the process of filing an expense report. When an expense is obtained by an employee, that software can automatically recognize, reconcile and potentially reimburse as a function of the policy constraints within the software.

Expense Management

Expense management refers to the systems companies deploy to process, pay, audit, and reimburse employee-initiated expenses.

Fair Market Price

The Fair Market Price is defined as the benchmark number used behind the scenes as the foundation for company savings. It's based on dynamic personalization (individual behavior and company settings/trends) as well as inventory available at the time of booking.

Fare basis

The letters and numbers assigned to a specific fare, like an identification number.

Flag carrier

A loose term referring to the airline registered within a specific country or state which may allow it certain privileges.

Fixed-rate negotiations

A hotel rate in which a company has negotiated for with a fixed price and set of amenities that remains in place throughout the year, such as LRA, cancellation, or check-in flexibility.

Global distribution system (GDS)

Global distribution system (GDS) is a computerized reservation system for reserving airline seats, hotel rooms, rental cars, and other travel-related items. Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport, Apollo and Galileo are all global distribution systems.

Global Entry

Global Entry is a program of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service that allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers to receive expedited clearance through automatic kiosks at select airports upon arrival into the United States. As of May 4th, 2018, Global Entry was available at 53 US airports and 15 pre-clearance locations.


A city in which an airline has a major presence.

Hotel Program

This is a catch-all term a company's travel manager uses to describe all the rooms and rates available to their travelers.

Hotel Chains

Hotel chains are the largest organizing structure of a hotel group. Examples include Marriott, Hilton, IHG, Accor, Radisson, Best Western, Choice and many more. Each chain contains multiple brands, they tend to have 100s or 1000s of properties within their holding, and cover many markets.

Hotel Brands

Brands are the second level of hotel organization, in which a collection of properties with similar levels of luxury and offerings are grouped together under one name, such as Hilton's Waldorf, Curio and DoubleTree. Chains can develop their own brands, or acquire smaller chains and convert them into their own brands.


In-flight entertainment, such as seat back video monitors on airplanes, in-flight wi-fi and music channels.


Irregular operations refers to flight disruptions such as delays or cancellations due to weather, "acts of God," equipment changes or rest for the crew.


The International Airline Travel Agent Network, which administers the IATAN card, the only widely accepted form of legitimate travel agent identification.

Intercontinental Travel

Travel between two continents, such as travel from the U.S. to the U.K.

Intracontinental Travel

Travel within a continent, such as travel between the U.S. and Canada.


The International Air Transport Association, a trade association for many of the world’s airlines.

Independent Hotels

Hotels that are not affiliated with a chain or brand. Although these hotels can have certain agreements with chains, they retain their name and complete autonomy over the property management.


A very basic form of agreement between airlines where check-ins and baggage handling can be done together, so a traveler only needs to check in once and not worry about moving checked bags despite changing carriers during a trip.

Itemized Receipt

An itemized receipt is a copy of a proof of purchase that contains detailed and line-item information about that transaction. Itemized receipts mirror typical receipts but will also have each individual service or good listed out and may include various sales taxes attached to some items or the total amount.


Different from a stopover, a layover is a short period of time between connecting flights. On domestic flights this refers to stops of 4 hours or less. For international flights, this refers to stops of less than 24 hours.

Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)

This is supplemental car rental insurance that covers theft, vandalism, and accident damage.

Limited Service Hotel

A hotel without a restaurant on the premises.

Land Arrangements

All non-flying reservations upon arrival such as car rental, hotel, and tourist reservations.

Last Room Available (LRA)

Last room availability; as long as a hotel has even one room available. Parties with an LRA contract have a right to buy it at their contracted terms and price.


The least expensive, non-refundable fare with the minimum number of stops at the time of booking.

Low-cost Carrier (LCC)

Airlines that offer low-fare flights with reduced passenger services.


This is when employees book business travel outside the preferred channels; a lot of leakage in a managed travel program can lead to missed cost-savings opportunities and weaken duty of care capabilities.

Lodge Card

A type of payment mechanism held by TMCs and used by their clients to pay for travel. Typically it is issued for an entire company or entire cost-center. Access is usually given virtually, although physical cards can be provided.

Managed Travel

Managed Travel is a business travel program in which employees book travel within pre-established guidelines, designed to control spend and help enhance travelers’ safety.


Travel industry slang that refers to the operating carrier of a flight.

Multi-carrier Support

Book your departure and return flights with any airline combination of your choosing.

Multi-fare Class Support

Mix n match cabin fares on a single ticket. For example, Book economy class on the flight out and business class on the way home.

Minimum Connect Time

The shortest time required to successfully transfer to a connecting flight at an airport.

Next Generation Storefront (NGS)

The Next Generation Storefront or NGS is a set of data standards that enable distribution channels to better present, sort, and find the airline products and services travelers are looking for.

Net Fare, Net Rate

Implies the commission has already been added to the price of the fare.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

A measure of the likelihood to recommend your product, service or solution to a friend or colleague. NPS is a strong indicator of the health of a corporate travel program alongside adoption and traveler satisfaction.

New Distribution Capability (NDC)

New Distribution Capability (NDC) is a new and more efficient vehicle for sourcing inventory from airlines. It gives precious time back to the business traveler by surfacing the right inventory at the right time and it also creates the ability to form dynamic offers based on the individual user.


A non-rev (revenue) passenger is an airline employee, or their friends or family, traveling on a deeply discounted airline ticket. These flights are generally on a standby basis only and for personal needs.


A ticket that can only be used by the person who was originally scheduled to fly.

Nonstop flight

A flight with no stops en route to a passenger’s final destination.

Non-Last Room Availability

The opposite of Last Room Availability. Non-Last Room Availability means hotels do not need to guarantee a company's negotiated rate can be used for their last available room. That means a traveler may see that a room is available at a hotel, but he/she may not find an associated corporate negotiated rate at that hotel.

Offline Connection

A connection that requires switching to both a new aircraft and carrier.


An itinerary where the passenger flies into one city and out of another. For example, a ticket originating in JFK and flying to LHR and then returning MAN to JFK.

Occupancy rate

The number of reservations expected during any given period.


Origin and destination of a trip.

Online Booking Tool (OBT)

OBT is a corporate-approved software tool that lets organizations book, manage, and monitor their business trip itineraries

Online Travel Agency (OTA)

A travel website that helps travelers book flights, hotel rooms, ground transportation and other travel-related products and services.

Price to Beat

Price to beat is a feature exclusive to TripActions. Presented at the top of search results in the TripActions storefront, if travelers book below the price to beat, they can earn rewards for choosing a cost-conscious lodging option.

Per Diem

Per Diem is a daily stipend that companies use to guide employees on how much they can spend and expense per day on food while on a business trip.


Passenger facility charge, an additional fee for the use of the airport.

Phonetic Alphabet

Also known as ICAO (International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet) is used by the aviation industry and military to ensure the clear communication of letters internationally. The 26 letters of the English alphabet are: Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel, India, Juliett, Kilo, Lima, Mike, November, Oscar, Papa, Quebec, Romeo, Sierra, Tango, Uniform, Victor, Whiskey, X-ray, Yankee, Zulu.


The legroom between airline seats as measured from the back of one airplane seat to the seat in front of it.

Personal Effects Coverage

Additional car rental insurance covering loss of personal property from the rented vehicle.

Passenger Name Record (PNR)

A record in the database of a computer reservation system (CRS) that contains the itinerary for a passenger, or a group of passengers traveling together.


The fares between two cities.

Published Fare

Published fare is a fare immediately offered for purchase by the airline. This does not include heavily discounted flights.


PCC stands for Pseudo City Code and is a GDS code used to identify the location of a travel agency.

Physical Corporate Card

A physical card is a plastic card issued to employees to spend on work-related purchases. The card is tangible with a unique 16-digit number, expiration date, and CVC.


P-cards, also known as purchase cards or procurement cards, are commercial cards companies issue employees for business expenses. P-cards enable employees to spend company funds without going through a typical accounts payable process.

Round the World Fare

Round the world tickets are flight packages that let you visit a number of destinations "around the world" for one price. These tickets are offered by airline alliances (e.g. One World, SkyTeam, Star Alliance, etc.). All flights booked must be on airlines in the alliance. With RTW itineraries, you prepay for the pass and must select and book all flights before departing on the first flight.

Record Locator

In airline reservation systems, a record locator is an alphanumeric or alpha code used to access a specific record.

Red-Eye Flight

Red-eye Flight is a flight in which the travel takes place between the hours of 9pm and 7am.

Rack Rate

The price of a hotel prior to discount.

Regional Hotel Chain/Brand

This is a smaller form of hotel chain that also has multiple properties, and potentially multiple brands, within their holding. In addition to operating on a much smaller scale, they also operate in a specific region.

Shoulder Season

Shoulder season is the period of time between busy and quiet seasons in which prices are typically at a midpoint.

Single Sign On (SSO)

Single Sign On is when a traveler logs in once and gains access to a website without being prompted to log in again.

Split Ticketing

Purchasing two separate tickets to build your itinerary, often to obtain a lower price. Travelers do this at their own risk, as if there is a missed connection both airlines may elect not to rebook the traveler unless they purchase a new ticket.


A part or leg of an air itinerary, including one take off and one landing.

Stopover Paid by Carrier (STPC)

Stopover Paid by Carrier is a program in which an airlines might offer a free stopover to encourage travelers to use a less optimal connection. The airline covers prearranged hotel, ground transportation and means during a stopover.

Spend Management

Both an art and a science, spend management is a blend of reducing financial risk while maximizing the value of company dollars spent. In combination with spend management software, financial leaders and accounting experts gain greater visibility into the health of a company’s procurement process.

Spend Control

Spend control incorporates the processes of enforcing policies, whether manually or through technologies, to monitor and manage purchases made within a company.

Smart Card

A smart card is a physical card embedded with a computer chip that hosts intelligent automation functions and security controls. Unlike a typical physical card with a magnetic strip, a smart card can perform multiple functions as it encrypts additional information to interact with various payment terminals.

Travel Agent

Travel Agent is a person whose job it is to arrange travel for end clients (individuals, groups, corporations) on behalf of suppliers (hotels, airlines, car rentals, cruise lines, railways, travel insurance, package tours). Their task is to simplify the travel planning process for their customers in addition to providing consultation services and entire travel packages.

Through Passenger

Through passenger is a passenger who remains on the plane at a connecting stop on the way to his/her/their final destination.

Travel Management Company (TMC)

Travel Management Company (TMC) is a business travel agency (such as TripActions) that helps organizations manage their travel programs. A TMC fulfills travel bookings, supports the organization’s duty of care obligations, and identifies potential cost-savings opportunities.

Travel Manager

Travel manager is the person responsible for a company’s travel policy. They develop the policy, manage (preferred) supplier relationships, monitor and approve traveler itineraries and bookings, process T&E reports and more.

Travel Services

Travel Services is a business travel program in which employees book travel within pre-established guidelines, designed to control spend and help enhance travelers’ safety.

Travel Expense Management (TEM)

Travel expense management, or TEM, is the system a company uses to process, pay and audit traveler-initiated expenses.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is insurance that is intended to cover medical expenses, trip cancellation, lost luggage, flight accident and other losses incurred while traveling, either internationally or domestically.

TripActions Business Travel Continuity™

In the face of natural disasters, political unrest, economic uncertainty and global health crises, the TripActions Business Travel Continuity suite delivers the real-time data and insights needed to make business and travel policy decisions in-the-moment, paired with flexible travel technology to take action quickly and decisively -- all to protect travelers, control costs and drive business continuity.

Ticketing Agreement

Ticketing agreement is a contract between airlines to accept each other’s tickets for transportation.

Travel Expenses

Travel expenses are goods or services employees of a company incur while traveling for business. Though many expenses may occur during a trip, it is up to the organization to decide what is considered in-policy business travel expense vs a personal expense.


T&E stands for “Travel and Expenses” and encompasses the operational costs that are associated with business travel.

Unrestricted Fare

An airfare with no limitations. It is typically refundable and has no blackout days.

Unmanaged Travel

Unmanaged travel refers to when a company does not have a program or tool set in place for booking business travel. This often results in employees booking independently and managing their own travel arrangements.

Ultra Low Cost Carrier (ULCC)

Ultra-low-cost-carrier or ULCC are airlines that offer rock-bottom, no-frill fare prices. Seat selection, baggage or drinks on the flight may be charged as an additional fee.

Unused Ticket

Unused ticket is an airline-specific credit from canceling a non-refundable flight. These funds are not lost and can be applied toward a future flight on the same carrier.


Universal Air Travel Plan is specific form of payment (a charge card) that is jointly owned by many airlines, including: AeroMexico, Lufthansa, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Air Niugini, AirSerbia, American Airlines, APG Airlines, Austrian, China Eastern, Delta, El Al Israel Airlines, Etihad Airways, Frontier, GOL Airlines, Hanh Airlines, Japan Airlines, Jet Blue, Qantas, Shandong Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Southwest, Sun Country Airlines, Tui Fly, Turkish Airlines, United and WestJet. It is also accepted by some hotels, rail providers, and other suppliers.

Virtual Card Number (VCN)

Virtual card number or VCN is a highly secure, single-use virtual credit card number used to minimize the risk of fraud.

Virtual Card

A virtual card is a unique 16-digit virtual consumer or corporate card number generated digitally. That card number can be used for online checkouts and downloaded to a mobile wallet for in-person purchases where virtual cards are accepted.


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