Glossary of Terms

Learn the language of event planning from A to Z.

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24-Hour Hold

A term used to describe the type of reservation made on function space within a venue (hotel, convention center, etc.). An event organizer who has 24-hour hold on a space has exclusive use and access to that space for a period of 24-hours, usually 12:01am-12:00pm.


Americans with Disabilities Act. U.S. legislation passed in 1992 requiring public buildings (offices, hotels, restaurants, etc.) to make adjustments meeting minimum standards to make their facilities accessible to individuals with physical disabilities.


Alternative Dispute Resolution – method for resolving disputes without going to court.


American Plan. A type of hotel rate that includes the price of the room and all meals. Also called FULL AMERICAN PLAN, DEMI-PENSION, EUROPEAN PLAN, MODIFIED AMERICAN PLAN.


A hotel amenity is something of a premium nature provided in addition to the room and its basics when renting a room at a hotel.


The difference between the actual number of sleeping rooms picked-up (or food-and-beverage covers or revenue projections) and the number or formulas agreed to in the terms of the facility’s contract. Usually there is an allowable shortfall before damages are assessed.


Audiovisual (A/V). Equipment, materials, and teaching aids used in sound and visual presentations, such as television monitors, video, – can also be the term used for the team providing these services.


Banquet Event Order. A form most often used by hotels to provide details to personnel concerned with a specific food and beverage function or event room set-up.


Certificate of Insurance

Complimentary Ratio

The number of rooms provided at no cost based on the number of occupied rooms.


Also, a contractual agreement where one party provides something of value to the other party in exchange for something else, pending certain conditions.


Convention Services Manager. Professional at a hotel, convention center or convention bureau who is responsible for event operations management at all levels.


Convention and Visitors Bureau


Destination Management Company – a professional services company possessing extensive local knowledge, expertise and resources, specializing in the design and implementation of events, activities, tours, transportation and program logistics. Depending on the company and the staff specialist in the company, they offer, but are not limited to, the following: creative proposals for special events within the meeting; guest tours; VIP amenities and transportation; shuttle services; staffing within convention centers and hotels; team-building, golf outings and other activities; entertainment, including sound and lighting; decor and theme development; ancillary meetings and management professionals; and, advance meetings and onsite registration services and housing.


Delivery of exhibit materials from the dock to an assigned exhibit space, removing empty crates, returning crates at the end of the event for re-crating, and delivering materials back to dock for carrier loading.

F & B

Food & Beverage

F & B Minimum

The minimum amount that you are contractually required to spend on food and beverage.

Force Majeure

An event (e.g. war, labor strike, extreme weather, or other disruptive circumstances) or effect that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled: a “fortuitous event.” (ACT OF GOD also used, refers to an extraordinary natural event, such as extreme weather).


A promise of commitment to provide a minimum amount of sleeping rooms, F&B, or other revenues. Usually there is a financial liability if the commitment is not met. The final number of persons to be served is usually required at least 48 hours in advance of a food & beverage event.


In Conjunction With. An event or function that occurs because of another event.


A contract clause in which one party agrees to pay damages or claims that the otherparty may be required to pay for another. For example, if a hotel sued by an attendee that is injured at an event due to the fault of the group, an indemnification clause might require the group to pay back the hotel. Sometimes the law requires one party to indemnify another even without a specific clause. Generally, the terms of the clause will be followed over the state law. Also HOLD HARMLESS, a type of indemnity clause that requires one party to fully protect the other from a claim asserted.


Individual Pays Own. Also EPO, PAYS OWN.


Lavalier Microphone. Also Lapel Microphone.


Letter of Credit (L/C). A document issued by a bank per instructions from a buyer of goods, authorizing the seller to draw a specified sum of money under specified terms. A CONFIRMED LETTER OF CREDIT is a letter of credit, issued by a foreign bank, whose validity has been confirmed by an American bank. An exporter whose payment terms are a confirmed letter of credit is assured of payment even if the foreign buyer or foreign bank defaults.


Master Account. A record of transactions during an event where the resulting balance is paid directly by the group. May include room tax, incidentals, food and beverage, audiovisual equipment, décor, etc. Also called Master Bill.


Manager on Duty. Person at a facility in charge of operations and/or guest relations for a certain period of time.

Occupancy Rate

In the hotel /motel industry, the percentage of total number of available sleeping rooms actually occupied. Derived by dividing the total number of rooms occupied during a given time period (night, week, year) by the total number of rooms available for occupancy during the same period.

On Consumption

Charged only for what is consumed. This typically applies to bottled beverages, individually wrapped snacks and open bar consumption.

Pattern of Dates

The preference of days of the week you prefer to have your event (Example: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday)


Professional Congress Organizer. European term for DMC (Destination Management Company). Local supplier who can arrange, manage, and/or plan any function or service an event.


Private Dining Room

Peak Night

Referring to the night during an event when most rooms are occupied by those in attendance.

Rack Rate

A term used to describe the type of reservation made on function space within a venue (hotel, convention center, etc.). An event organizer who has 24-hour hold on a space has exclusive use and access to that space for a period of 24-hours, usually 12:01am-12:00pm.


Revenue Per Available Room. A performance measurement commonly used in the hotel industry. It is calculated by dividing a hotel’s net rooms revenue by the total number of available rooms, or by multiplying a hotel’s average daily room rate (ADR) by its occupancy.


Request For Proposal. A document that stipulates what services the organization wants from an outside contractor and requests a bid to perform such services. Same as BID MANUAL/SPECIFICATIONS.

Room/Space Ratio

Room-to-Space Ratio – Calculation/guidelines set by hotel revenue management team for evaluation of business based on group’s requested room night and how it aligns with function/meeting space requirements. Space-intensive meetings come up against this frequently as a reason for declining RFPs.


Rooms given at random according to availability when the reservations are made. Also refers to a flat rate for which a hotel or motel group agrees to offer any of its available rooms (with the exception of suites) to a group. Final assignment of rooms is at the discretion of the hotel.

Service Charge

A mandatory and automatic amount added to standard food and beverage charges, usually used to defray the cost of labor, such as housemen, servers, technicians, etc. and which the facility receives a portion of the charge. In return, the guest is relieved of the responsibility of tipping. 


Schedule of Events. Table of time and location for all functions related to an event. This information should be included in the specifications guide for an event.


Guest holding confirmed sleeping room reservation is denied accommodations at the hotel where the reservation is being held upon their arrival and is relocated to another hotel.

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If you have questions about common planning terms, please contact the CEE team.