Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms

Revenue Management Terms


Travel that is left unbooked. Price or availability would be the two most common abandonment reasons during the booking phase.


Average Daily Rate – The Average Daily Rate is calculated by taking the total room revenue for a day and dividing it by the total number of room nights sold. For example, if you booked $75,000 one day with 300 room nights sold, your ADR would be $75,000/300=$250.


Average Length of Stay is a number you get when you take your total number of room nights and divide it by the number of bookings you have. This will tell you how long your guests stay on average.

Availability, Rates, and Inventory – These three items are the essential items communicated via interfaces between two systems. These systems usually include your Property Management System, Central Reservation System, Global Distribution System, and Online Travel Agencies. Traditionally, your Property Management System is the system of record where ARI messages start. These messages move from system to system using coding called XML. Availability refers to the restrictions in place. Rates are just as they sound the rate by room type by rate plan. Finally, inventory handles how many rooms you have to sell by room type.


Best Available Rate – The Best Available Rate is also known as rack rate or standard rate. This is the hotel’s lowest, non-restricted rate that can be booked by any and all guests. The rate changes frequently, multiple times a week, or even multiple times a day.


Banquet Check – in reference to a group booking/event. A check that is presented to a meeting planner at the conclusion of the event. It will include all event-related charges.


Booking Engine – When you are on a hotel website and you select “book now”, you will be redirected to the Booking Engine where you will see the availability and pricing and be able to secure a reservation.


Banquet Event Order – in reference to a group booking/event. Includes details such as menus, audio visual equipment, room set up, time, function, room, etc.

BKG – Online travel agency that is a part of Booking Holdings. Includes:,, Kayak, Agoda.


Back of House. The areas of a hotel that have little or no direct guest contact, such as kitchen areas, engineering and maintenance, and the accounting department.


Best Rate Guarantee – A promise that the hotel will provide the best rate or meet any lower rate found on a third-party channel.


Annual Financial Plan – A budget is prepared for a hotel’s management and ownership team to estimate the hotel’s income and expenses over a set period of time.

Channel Management

The process of managing online distribution channels in order to sell your hotel inventory to various agents across the globe. These distribution channels can be the Global Distribution Service (GDS), Expedia, Mobile Web, etc.

Channel Fee

A fee charged by the third party distribution channel as payment for the exposure and listing your hotel on the platform. This is typically deducted from the payment to the hotel.


Complete Meeting Package, in reference to a group event – a per person charge, inclusive of guest room, food and beverage, and a proportional percentage of all other event charges.


The payment given to travel agents for making a reservation at a hotel.

Competitive Set

Group of hotels, in a specific geographical area, that a particular property compares performance. A competitive set can be used to compare rates or promotional offers.


Comparative on the Books, just like STLY (Same Time Last Year), you compare data with a defined specific period that you are comparing the data to.


Central Reservation System; SynXis and Amadeus, formally iHotelier; The CRS is an application hotels use that helps manage distribution, bookings, rates, inventory, and more. Using a CRS, a hotel will be able to reach guests through multiple distribution channels such as travel agents (GDS), online travel agents (Expedia,, etc.), direct through the hotel’s website, and telephone (call centers).


Conference Service Manager or Convention Service Manager: act as liaisons between hotel staff and outside event planners or representatives. They coordinate events or meetings held in the facility with hotel catering services and other staff, addressing issues such as meeting space, lodging needs, and equipment provision.


Closed To Arrival is an inventory restriction that hotels use when they do not want to accept any new arrivals for a specific day.


Convention and Visitors Bureau – An organization that helps market an area’s hospitality and tourism industry for potential groups and conventions.


Delegate Day Package – A conference package designed to cater a client’s every business requirement. An example of a Day Delegate package may include: (1) Main conference room space (2) servings of tea, coffee, biscuits (3) buffet lunch with tea/coffee (4) screen, flip chart, and LCD projector (5) pencils, pens and pads (6) name cards (7) cordials, mineral water, sweets (8) free wifi and parking.

Direct Booking

When a customer books directly through the hotel or property and not through a third-party channel. This results in no channel fees or commissions being paid out.


Destination Management Company – A destination management company (DMC) is a third-party firm that is commonly hired to provide professional services for the planning and implementation of out-of-town event programs and services. The value of a destination management company primarily rests in the company’s extensive knowledge of the local area as well as its professional relationships and local resources.


Director of Catering: Directing and managing all meetings, conferences, and social events. These events may include Board Meetings, Corporate Sales Conferences, and Weddings. The DOC will also manage a staff of Sales Managers, Conference Planners, and Convention Service Personnel. The DOC will also work very closely with the Banquet Manager and Director of Food & Beverage.


Director of Sales and Marketing: Directing and managing all sales and marketing activities to maximise revenue, profitability and quality standards by developing and executing strategies, forecasts and plans to facilitate achievement of set targets across the team.


Earnings before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization.


Expected. The number of guests anticipated over a certain period of time.


This is the acronym used for Food & Beverage. Food & Beverage refers to both hotel restaurants as well as the food and beverage that relates to catering for conferences and other onsite events.


Familiarization Tour. A complimentary or reduced-rate travel program for travel agents, tour operators, media, etc., designed to acquaint them with a specific destination to stimulate sale of travel.

Fenced Rate

A rate that has requirements necessary to make the reservation, such as advanced purchases or nonrefundable reservations.


FIT stands for a Free Independent Traveler. In FIT, the traveler is independent and is scheduling their trip without the guidance or membership of an outside organization.


Front of House. All guest-facing staff and areas of a hotel, such as a front desk agent and the lobby.


Front Office Manager is the role that manages and supervises the day-to-day operations of the front desk staff and reception areas of the hotel.


A forecast is an analysis that is prepared to provide management and ownership with the revenue expectations for an upcoming period of time.


A Function Room is also known as a conference room – this is the area ideal for business conferences or meetings and other special occasions.


Group Booking Pace: The speed at which bookings materialize over a period of time from the booking date to the arrival date. Booking pace is expressed as a fraction of bookings received on certain days in advance.


Global Distribution System – The GDS is a distribution channel for travel agents worldwide to access hotel information to help book reservations for their customers. There are four major companies, Sabre, Galileo, Amadeus, and Worldspan.


Gross Margin is net sales revenue minus the cost of goods sold or, in other words, the sales revenue retained after incurring the direct costs associated with producing the goods sold.


Gross Operating Profit is the result of a hotel’s gross operating revenue minus their gross operating expenses.


Gross Operating Profit per Available Room – GOPPAR is a figure that is calculated by subtracting operating expenses from gross revenue and dividing that by the total rooms available. This goes a step further than RevPAR because it not only considers revenues generated but it also factors in the operational costs related to those revenues.


Gross Operating Revenue is a hotel’s total operating revenue. This includes all revenue from all outlets that relate to the hotel directly or indirectly.

Group Displacement

Evaluating a groups total profitability. Compares the value of different pieces of business to identify the one that brings the most value to the hotel.

Integrated Revenue Strategy

Combining Revenue Management, Digital Marketing, and Distribution to maximize profitable revenue. Having a coordinated and targeted strategy between Revenue Management, your distribution systems, and the messaging created by marketing is critical to meet your revenue goals.

Leisure Traveler

Leisure travelers are sometimes also known as transient guests. These guests are not part of a group or are traveling on business. Leisure travelers are typically seeking a hotel for enjoyment and relaxation on their personal time.


The percentage of travelers who visit a travel site compared to those who actually book.


Length of Stay – the number of nights for a guest booking.


Last Room Available is a contracted rate between the hotel and a company. This contracted rate would allow the company to receive their rate regardless of how many rooms are left to sell. Some companies contract an NLRA, which would mean that their contracted rate is available at the discretion of the hotel.


The Minimum Acceptable Rate (MAR) is the lowest rate the hotel will accept from a group, determined by a displacement analysis. The displacement analysis is a series of formulas used to analyze the total value lost by guaranteeing rooms to a group that might otherwise be booked by transient business.

Market Share

The portion of a market controlled by a particular company or product is usually shown as a percentage of business the hotel is getting within the market overall. This term is used when comparing your hotel to other hotels within your area/region. High Market share means the hotel has more control over Rates.


Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions: It refers to a group of tourism that plans, books and organizes conferences, seminars and other events. The industry is nowadays often also referred to as the meeting industry and event industry, to avoid the affiliation with rodents.


Minimum Length of Stay is a restriction hotels put in place when they want to require a guest to stay a specific number of nights. For example, a hotel will require a 2 Night MLOS on a Friday night over a busy weekend to ensure that guests are staying both Friday and Saturday. They will do this for operational purposes as well as to make sure that their occupancies over busy times are even.


Month on Month: measure rates of change and growth comparing two identical periods of time.


Market Penetration Index – A metric to determine whether the hotel or property is achieving its fair share of occupancy compared to the competitive set. An MPI above 1.00 means the property is achieving more than its fair share. An MPI below 1.00 means the property is achieving less than its fair share.


Month to Date: a time frame starting at the beginning of the current month and ending at the current date.


Negotiated Rate Business.  Sometimes referred to as Corporate Negotiated Rates or Local Negotiated Rates. It is contracted business for a certain period of time (seasonally, annually) for certain rates across multiple properties within a hotel company or brand.


Occupancy rate – The percentage of total available nights that have been booked during a specific time period.


Out of Order – A status hotels put rooms in when they need maintenance that cannot be handled quickly. This will ensure the room isn’t booked by a potential guest.


Booking channels where the supplier remains hidden until after the purchase is complete. Hotwire is an example of a booking channel that is opaque – they sell rooms for a hotel based on their star rating, location, rate, etc.


Online Travel Agency – Examples:, Expedia, and their partners. An online travel agency (OTA) arranges and sells accommodations, tours, transportation, and trips on an online platform for travelers. They are third parties who sell services on behalf of other companies. Hotels use these channels to gain more exposure and Market Share. OTA’s have large Marketing budgets and are able to provide external marketing and reach a wide audience. Hotels pay the OTA’s through a percentage of the room rate.


On the books is the term used when reviewing how much business has been booked for future months. For example, August has a total of 250 room nights and $75,000 in room revenue OTB.


Current or future room revenue versus the same time of a previous time period. This can also extend to a comparison of room nights or ADR.


Pick-up refers to the number of bookings that were made over a certain period of time. For example, some hotels run a daily pick-up to see how many bookings were made over the last 24 hours. Other properties may do this weekly or over a specific period of time to see what has changed in bookings.


Property Management System – This is an application that hotels use that controls numerous things such as, check-in/out, folios, room status, guest requests, etc. The PMS can interface with other applications such as the Central Reservation System (CRS) or Revenue Management System (RMS).


Point of Sale system: a system that allows the processing and recording of transactions between a company and their consumers at the time in which goods and/or services are purchased.

Predictive Analytics

A predictive analysis encompasses a variety of statistical techniques from data mining, predictive modeling, and machine learning that analyze current and historical facts to make predictions about future or otherwise unknown events.

Rack Rate

The full price that an accommodation is sold to a customer before any discounts or promotions.

Rate Parity

Rate parity is the practice of maintaining consistent rates across all distribution channels – regardless of OTA commission. The means that rates travelers see on OTA websites are the same as those on our own hotels website. As an example, if a promotion was offered for a 3-night length of stay to Expedia and not offered to any other OTA or our direct website, Expedia would show a lower rate for a 3-night shop and would cause rate parity across the other OTA channels and our website. When this occurs, a hotel can be less profitable, and it also can adversely affect ranking and relationships with other OTA partners.


REV is an abbreviation used to indicate the data you are viewing is revenue.


RevMAX is a commonly used term for a Revenue Strategy meeting where you focus on maximizing your revenue.


Revenue per Available Room.  A combination of paid occupancy percentage and average daily rate. The daily revenue of a hotel is divided by the total number of available rooms at that hotel. Daily hotel revenue / Total # of available rooms in hotel


Revenue Management System is a system that analyzes a combination of competitor rates, historical rates/data, market dynamics, and inventory levels to predict demand and provide rate recommendations.


Room Night – The total number of nights booked by an individual or group, not just the number of reservations. Example: a group booked 10 rooms per night for 3 nights for a total of 30 room nights.


Sales & Catering. The teams responsible for selling and servicing group business contracted at a hotel: The primary role of a person in this position is to promote and sell venue space, along with food and beverages, for all types of special events. He or she usually has extensive experience in planning parties, like wedding celebrations, awards banquets, fundraising galas, and other social and corporate functions.


Hotel Market Segmentation: One of the components needed to apply hotel revenue management is market segmentation. It allows you to target and market to a variety of consumer groups with different behavior with an offer that matches their needs and budget level.


Market Segment, defined as: Social, Military, Educational, Religious, Fraternal: in the hospitality industry, an acronym for Social, Military, Educational, Religious, Fraternal, indicating a market segment for the sales of banqueting rooms and meeting facilities.


Standard Operating Procedure is a set of step-by-step instructions compiled by an organization to help workers carry out routine operations. SOP’s aim to achieve efficiency, quality output and uniformity of performance.


Standard Rate Plan -Special Rate Plans consists of three characters; they are always paired with a prefix letter such as L, S, C, etc. These prefixes are called Rate Types.


Same Time Last Year: a time frame for data, usually used to compare the current pace to the previous year.


Smith Travel Accommodations Report – weekly and/or monthly report that includes data from hotels and measures each property’s market share performance against a self-selected competitve set.


External channels that drive business to your hotel, such as OTAs, Wholesalers, and travel agents.


A transient guest is an overnight guest who does not intend to stay for a permanent length of time and is not associated with a group or business.


Week over week comparison or the net change in room nights, ADR, or room revenue.

Digital Marketing Terms

A/B Split or A/B Test

When a list is divided into two equal segments, each of which can be tested with different variables as part of an effort to determine which is more effective

Above the fold

When you launch your internet browser or while viewing your email in your email reader, the bottom of the window is commonly referred to as the “fold.” The viewable areas before one has to start scrolling are “above the fold.”


An application programming interface (API) allows a software’s functionality to be extended to ‘the outside world.’ Examples of APIs include Google’s Gmaps pedometer, where users can map out their running routes.


An application service provider (ASP) is a company that provides access to software applications via the Internet that otherwise would have to be installed on a user’s personal computer. Current buzz term for this is Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Auto Reply

When an email recipient is “Out of the Office” or “Away on Vacation” they often set up an automated reply message alerting the sender to this fact.


An email that is set to automatically be sent based on a certain trigger, such as a welcome or confirmation email.


B2B (business-to-business) companies that primarily sell products or provide services to other businesses.


B2C (business-to-consumer) companies are those firms that sell products or provide services primarily to end-user consumers.


The amount of information that can be transmitted over a network such as the Internet in a specific amount of time.


Blacklists are made up of lists of IP addresses belonging to organizations that have been identified as senders of SPAM (unsolicited commercial email). Blacklists are often used by ISPs and corporations as part of the filtering process that determines which IP addresses they prohibit from sending mail to their members.


When emails are prevented from reaching their intended destination, typically due to action taken on the part of the Internet Service Provider (ISP).


A user-generated website where entries are made in an informal journal style and displayed in date order with the most recent entries first. Readers may or may not be able to comment on specific posts within the blog.

Bonded Sender Program

Sponsored by IronPort Systems, the Bonded Sender program identifies legitimate email traffic. Originators of legitimate email can now post a financial bond to ensure the integrity of their email campaign. Receivers who feel they have received an unsolicited email from a Bonded Sender can complain to their ISP, enterprise, or IronPort and a financial charge is debited from the bond. This market-based mechanism allows email senders to ensure their message gets to the end-user, and provides corporate IT managers and ISPs with an objective way to ensure only unwanted messages get blocked.


A “Bounced” email indicates that an attempt to deliver an email to a particular address has failed. This may occur if the email address is no longer valid or the intended recipient’s ISP and/or email servers were not functioning over a period of 3 consecutive days.


Phrasing that encourages a reader to take action. For example, “Book now to save 15%!”


The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) is a federal law that establishes requirements for those who send commercial emails. It spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them. Among other measures, the law:

  • Bans false or misleading header information. Your email’s “From,” “To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person who initiated the email.
  • Prohibits deceptive subject lines. The subject line cannot mislead the recipient about the contents or subject matter of the message.
  • Requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method. You must provide a return email address or another Internet-based response mechanism that allows a recipient to ask you not to send future email messages to that email address, and you must honor the requests. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your commercial email.
  • It requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement and include the sender’s valid physical postal address. Your message must contain clear and conspicuous notice that the message is an advertisement or solicitation and that the recipient can opt out of receiving more commercial email from you. It also must include your valid physical postal address.

The CAN-SPAM Act also provides for penalties for a number of other offenses, which can be reviewed here:


A series of advertising messages that share a theme and are applied over several digital channels, including social media, paid search advertising, email marketing, etc.


A Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart is used to determine whether or not the user is human. Users are asked to type in a series of distorted images to prove that they are not a machine.


A challenge-response system is a program that replies to an email message from an unknown sender by subjecting the sender to a test designed to differentiate humans from automated senders, also known as “bots.”

Click-through Rate (CTR), Click Rate

An indicator of response to a given email message, as measured by the percentage of recipients that click on a link enclosed in the email. To determine the click-through rate, divide the number of responses by the number of emails sent (multiply this number by 100 to express the result as a percentage).

Co-registration or Co-Reg

Co-registration is the process of using other websites to generate opt-in email leads that you can add to your mailing list for marketing purposes. When you reach a co-registration agreement with a site or a network of sites, they will ask new registrants if they would like to receive information from your company as well. If the registrants opt-in (choose to receive mailings), they will be added to your mailing list so you can market to them directly.

Confirmed Opt-in

“Confirmed opt-in,” also known as “double opt-in” or “closed-loop” in some circles, provides an additional layer of security by requiring that an email account be both subscribed and then verified by a confirmation email before it is added to the list. As a result, only those people with access to the account can respond to the confirmation message, significantly reducing the chance of abuse. For this reason, confirmed opt-in is regarded as the gold standard for secure email marketing.


The copy, graphics and images that comprise your email, website, or marketing materials.

Conversion Rate

A metric which measures the percentage of people converted into subscribers or buyers out of the total population exposed to a particular campaign.


The text of the campaign, distinct from the graphics.


The process of writing content to be used for marketing purposes, either on a website, in an advertisement, or email marketing.

CPA (or Cost per acquisition)

A payment model in which payment is based solely on qualifying actions such as sales or registrations.

CPM (or Cost per thousand)

In marketing, CPM commonly refers to the cost per 1,000 names on a given list or impressions served. For example, a list using VerticalResponse priced at $10 CPM would mean that the list owner charges $.01 per email address.

CRM (or Customer relationship management)

Customer relationship management (CRM) is a broad term that refers to concepts businesses use to maintain and improve relationships with customers. CRM involves collecting, storing, and analyzing customer information. CRM enables businesses to provide personalized services to meet their customers’ needs and retain their business.


A database is a collection of information stored in a computer in a systematic way, such that a computer program can consult it to answer questions. For email marketing purposes, a database is the software that stores your records or lists. Your database may be in the following forms: ACT!, Filemaker, GoldMine, MS Excel, Access, Netscape, Outlook, Outlook Express, Oracle, Salesforce, Saleslogix, Sybase, or many other forms.


Deduplication refers to a data cleansing technique where duplicate data is removed from a set.


The ability of the email sender to consistently deliver an email to a recipient’s inbox with HTML and text intact. Marketers operating permission-based email schemes need to carefully consider deliverability due to aggressive SPAM filters.

Display Ad

Also known as banner ads, display ads appear on display network which includes many different formats such as images, flash, video, and audio.

DKIM: DomainKeys Identified Mail

An anti-spam software application that uses a combination of public and private keys to authenticate the sender’s mail domain and reduce the chance that a spammer or hacker will fake the domain sending address.


Generally refers to internet addresses, the memorable form of a website’s numerical IP address.


Similar to DKIM: DomainKeys Identified Mail. An anti-spam software application that uses a combination of public and private keys to authenticate the sender’s domain (A name by which a computer connected to the Internet is identified) and reduce the chance that a spammer or hacker will fake the domain sending address.

Double Opt-in

“Double opt-in”, also known as “confirmed opt-in” or “closed-loop” in some circles, provides an additional layer of security by requiring that email accounts be both subscribed and then verified by a confirmation email before they are added to the list. As a result, only those people with access to the account can respond to the confirmation message, greatly reducing the chance of abuse. For this reason, double opt-in is regarded as the gold standard for secure email marketing.

Email Campaign

A campaign may be a newsletter or may consist of offers. Some marketers may define a campaign as a series of email messages using a common theme.

Email Client

An application used to send, receive, store and view email like Outlook, Mac Mail, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, etc.

Email List

The contact list that has provided consent to receive email marketing communications from a brand or company. This consists of all contact information and uses the email address as a unique identifier.

Email Marketing

The act of sending a message to a contact list or individual via email.

ESP (or Email Service Provider)

Email Service Providers (ESPs) are companies like VerticalResponse that provide a service of enabling a user to send permission-based email campaigns to designated users. They are usually Software-as-a-Service Providers (SaaS) who offer their services in an online fashion. There are also software ESPs.


The Email Sender & Provider Coalition (ESPC) was formed to fight spam while protecting the delivery of legitimate email. The ESPC members have recognized the need for strong spam solutions that ensure the delivery of legitimate email and have been very active in the war against spam.

Feedback Loop

Service provided by Internet Service Providers to other providers or mailers who have a good reputation and send a large amount of mail into their network. A feedback loop sends email reported as spam back to the sender so the sender can take action to resolve the problem.


A specific size and style of type within a type family.


Some emails include a “footer.” This is the area at the bottom of an email where you might find unsubscribe information.

Forward to a Friend

Forward to a Friend refers to an option (usually a link) provided to an email recipient that provides them with an easy method to share that email message with someone else.


The intervals at which email marketing efforts are repeated: weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, etc.

From Line

The information that appears in the “From” line at the top of the email and typically indicates the identity of the sender.

Hard Bounced Email

A hard bounce is an email message that has been returned to the sender because the recipient’s address is not valid. A hard bounce might occur because the domain name doesn’t exist or because the recipient is unknown.


The illegal process of obtaining lists of email addresses to send bulk emails, or spam. Harvesting can include list purchase and spam ‘bots’ scanning web pages for email addresses.


The header in an email is the part of the email that is not transparent to the recipient unless they have their “View Headers” turned on. This tells the recipient what servers the email is coming from and what programs are being used to generate this email. Headers contain information on the email itself and the route it’s taken across the Internet. Recipients can normally see the “to” (identity of recipient), “from” (identity of sender) and “subject” (information in the subject line) headers in their inbox. You can modify these to influence their decision to open or delete an email.


The announcement recipients see when they open an email. Ideally, the headline expresses the company’s value proposition and encourages the recipient to read further.

Hosted Email

A hosted version of an email allows users to view the email message as a web page, thus ensuring that all formatting remains intact.

House List

A permission-based list that you build yourself. Use it to market, cross-sell and up-sell, and to establish a relationship with customers over time. Your house list is one of your most valuable assets.

HTML (or Hypertext Markup Language)

A “markup” language designed for the creation of web pages and other information viewable in a Web browser.

HTML Email

HTML email is simply an email created with HTML that allows for the display of images as opposed to simple text. Ninety-five percent of all email readers have the ability to display HTML emails, which are more visually appealing and attention-grabbing than mere text. However, since 2005, many readers have the default where images are “turned off” or not viewable by the recipient. For this reason, you need to make sure your recipients add you to their address book so you’ll always go into the inbox where images will show.

IP Address

The Internet Protocol (IP) address is a computer’s address. The IP address refers to the numerical component of an internet address or domain name. An IP address in general looks like this:

ISP (or Internet Service Provider)

Internet Service Provider is a company that provides access to the Internet. AOL, Yahoo!, MSN, Comcast and various local phone companies are common ISPs.


A word or phrase that describes the contents of a web page. Keywords help search engines match a page with an appropriate search query.

Landing Page

The page on a website where the visitor arrives (which may or may not be the home page). In terms of an email campaign, if a user wants to track a campaign separately, they set up an additional page for recipients to visit. This way they can track distinctive traffic to this page from their email.


The arrangement of content within an email. A layout is designed to optimize the use of space while presenting the critical content in the portions of the screen most likely to attract the recipient’s immediate attention.


Text links, hyperlinks, graphics or images which, when clicked or when pasted into the browser, direct the reader to another online location.

List Segmentation

A narrowed-down portion of a master subscriber list based on meeting certain criteria. Lists can be segmented on geography, past stay history, booking history, lifetime value, etc.

Load Time

The length of time it takes for a page to open completely in the browser window. You’ll want your load time to be as fast as possible.

Look and Feel

The degree to which design, layout and functionality are appealing to prospects and fits the image the business is trying to portray.

Mailing List

A set of email addresses designated for receiving specific email messages.


An HTML command that allows collection of email addresses from a website. When readers click on a link (such as <a href=””>), their default email program composes an email message to send to that address.


A search tool that uses another search engine’s data to produce its own results from the Internet. A hotel metasearch compiles the room rates from numerous booking websites and OTAs onto a single platform. This focuses the consumers on one site, reducing the need to browse multiple sites.

Multi-part MIME Email

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) is an Internet standard for the format of email. Virtually all Internet email is transmitted in MIME format. This simply means that two versions of the email are sent, one graphical and one text. The appropriate version is then directed to the recipient based on the recipient’s email client’s preferences.


The path by which a user can click from page to page on a website and move around within a page.

Nth Sampling

When a subset of the list is constructed based on every Nth individual. For example, if you need to create a sub-list with 100 members from an overall list of 1,000 names, every tenth person is selected. If you need to create a sub-list of 5,000 from a list of 100,000, then every twentieth name is chosen.


The phrase “On-Demand” refers to a service or feature that is available for immediate access whenever an individual chooses to access it.

Open Rate

The number of HTML message recipients who opened your email, typically measured as a percentage of the total number of emails sent, although calculation methods may differ. The open rate is considered a useful metric for judging response to an email campaign, but it should be noted that open rates for text emails can’t be calculated.

Open Relay

An open relay is an email server configured so that anyone on the Internet can dispatch email. Once an acceptable means of sending email in the past, spammers have used an open relay to re-route their email through a third party to avoid detection. The CAN SPAM Act of 2003 made it illegal to send spam through an open relay.


Opting-In is the action a person takes when he or she actively agrees, by email or other means, to receive communications from an email sender. There are different types of opt-in practices, some of which are more demanding than others.

Opt-in form

A form that website owners can add to their site to collect newsletter signups from visitors.


Opt-out email marketing assumes the recipient wants to receive email unless they specifically ask to be removed from the list – in other words, “opt-out” or “unsubscribe”. If readers fail to state explicitly that they no longer wish to remain on the list, they can expect to receive messages until they make their desire known. Response rates tend to be lower when sending opt-out email, so be prepared for this result when you’re analyzing your campaigns.


A source of traffic to a website that comes through clicking on a non-paid search engine result.


When offering customers further information, such as a whitepaper or article via a link in an email, the payoff is the information they gain access to when clicking on that link.

Permission-based email

The practice of only sending email messages to those recipients who have agreed (or asked) to receive them.


The practice of writing the email to make the recipient feel that it is more personal and was sent with him or her in mind. This might include using the recipient’s name in the salutation or subject line, referring to previous purchases or correspondence, or offering recommendations based on previous buying patterns.


In a phishing scam, a spammer, posing as a trusted party such as a bank or reputable online vendor, sends email messages directing recipients to Web sites that appear to be official but are in reality fraudulent. Visitors to these Web sites are asked to disclose personal information, such as credit card numbers, or to purchase counterfeit or pirated products.


Pay-Per-Click. Also known as paid search advertising, this is an online advertising model where advertisers are charged for their ad when it is clicked.

Preview Pane

Email programs such as Microsoft Outlook, Entourage, and Mac Mail allow users to view email through a preview pane. The preview pane is important to bear in mind when composing the opening lines of an email.

ROI (Return on Investment)

A measure of the profit realized and/or costs saved at a company or as the result of a specific project within the company. ROI measures how effectively the firm uses its capital and resources to generate profit; the higher the ROI, the better. An ROI calculation is sometimes used along with other approaches to develop a business case for a given proposal.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

Software as a service (SaaS) is a software distribution model in which applications are hosted by a vendor or service provider and made available to customers over a network, typically the Internet.


This is the area in an email where you address your recipient. Examples are “Dear Customer,” “Hello Larry,” and “Dear Member.”


Sender-ID is an email industry initiative championed by Microsoft and other industry leaders as a technical solution to help counter spoofing—the #1 deceptive practice used by spammers.

Signature File

A short block of text at the end of a message identifying the sender and providing additional information about them.

Single Opt-in

Under single opt-in formats, businesses only mail addresses that have been actively subscribed to their list, typically by completing a web form, filling out a business reply card or sending an email to a specific address. Because the registration process is proactive, a single-opt in policy offers a higher level of security than the opt-out approach, but also has the following limitations:

  • Since single opt-in procedure does not require email address verification, it is possible to register other people without their consent, merely by having knowledge of that person’s email address.
  • A mistyped address or the entry of a bogus email account that happens to belong to someone else can result in a company mailing a customer who has not registered to receive messages.
  • Single opt-in email policies are susceptible to spam traps. Spam traps are essentially email addresses or domains that have not registered to receive any email. Therefore, any messages they do receive must be spam. The problem for marketers comes when people deliberately subscribe spam trap addresses to their lists, or one is inadvertently added. This scenario exposes the mailer to blacklisting by ISPs or the organization operating the spam trap.

Soft Bounced Email

A soft bounce is an email message that gets to the recipient’s mail server but is returned undelivered before it reaches the recipient. A soft bounce might occur because the recipient’s inbox is full and may be deliverable at another time or may be forwarded manually by the network administrator in charge of redirecting mail on the recipient’s domain.

Spam Trap

A spam trap is a seemingly valid email address used to identify spam messages. The idea is to take an address that hasn’t been subscribed to any email lists and monitor the email it receives. As it wasn’t subscribed to any email, anything it receives must be unsolicited – in other words – spam.


SPAM or Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE) is an unsolicited email, particularly of a commercial nature. Sending email to people who have not requested to receive messages from you will likely result in SPAM complaints.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework)

An email authentication system that verifies that a message came from an authorized mail server. SPF is designed to detect messages from spammers and phishers who falsify the sender’s IP address in the email header.


Email spoofing involves forging a sender’s address on email messages. It can be used by malicious individuals to mislead email recipients into reading and responding to deceptive mail. These fake messages can jeopardize the online privacy of consumers and damage the reputation of the companies purported to have sent the messages. Spoofed email often contains phishing scams.

Subheads (or Subheadings)

A line within a body of text that serves as a subtitle for the content that follows. Subheads break up paragraphs of copy and make the page more attractive or easy on the eye. They also often act as signposts indicating specific topics, offers, promotions, etc.

Subject Line

The email subject line is the line that appears in an email client indicating the topic of the message. This is the line used to entice the recipient to open the email and read further. It is the most important part of your email.

Suppression List

A list of addresses that is never sent any emails. When a campaign is launched, addresses on the suppression list are automatically removed from the mailing list for that campaign. Suppression Lists are used for organizations to remain CAN SPAM compliant as well as segmenting different recipients.


The ability to serve messaging to the users most likely to be receptive to the message, based on their geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioral characteristics.


A message, or part of a message, designed to arouse curiosity and interest and cause the reader to explore further, but without revealing too much detail about the offer being promoted.


Scheduling the email campaign to reach the audience at the most opportune time for it to be read. Timing might be seasonal (for example, vacation or school), dependent on holidays, etc. or mailings might go out on a standard schedule. Even the day of the week and what time of day the mailing goes out are important considerations: for example, a Friday afternoon mailing may be great for retail customers, but bad for business-to-business customers.


Collecting and evaluating the statistics so that one can measure an event, such as a click or an open.

Type Size

A size of typewritten or printed character. For example, a serif type (or typeface), a sans-serif type, 10 point type, 14 point type for print, size=1, size=2 for the web.

Unique Forwarders

The number of unique individuals who forward an email. When the number of unique forwards is totaled, each person that forwards a particular email is counted just once, no matter how many times they forward that message.


When the owner of an email address unsubscribes, this indicates that the individual no longer wishes to receive emails from your organization. People can unsubscribe either by clicking the “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom of each email sent through our system, or by replying to the email with the word “Unsubscribe” in the subject line. This process is also known as opting-out. Including an unsubscribe mechanism is now part of CAN-SPAM Federal Legislation.

Up-Selling / Cross-Selling

Presenting customers with an opportunity to purchase products, services or accessories that are related to items in which they have shown an interest or purchased previously.


A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is the technical term for a web address, such as


A measure of how easy it is for a user to complete a task. In the context of Web pages this concerns how easy it is for a user to find the information they require from a given Web site.


The overall appeal and usefulness of the product or service to the prospect.

Variable Envelope Return Paths (VERP)

The method of using a different envelope return/reply path for each recipient of an email message to ensure that the correct address is always processed in the case of an unsubscribe or bounce.

Viral Forwards

The number of referrals sent.

Viral Marketing

Elements and functions included in communication that encourages and allows recipients to pass the offer along to others, thereby leveraging the marketing effort (“tell a friend,” “please forward,” etc.).

Viral Responses

The number of recipients who received the referral, opened it and clicked on a link.

Web 2.0

The definition of the term Web 2.0 is an evolving one, but it is generally agreed that Web 2.0 refers to a second generation of Internet services that let people collaborate and share information online. In contrast to the first generation, in Web 2.0, the internet functions as a computing platform that serves web applications to end users. In this way, it provides an experience closer to desktop applications than the traditional static Web pages.

Web-friendly Fonts

Almost all web browsers are capable of displaying four primary fonts properly: Times, Arial, Helvetica, and Verdana, as well as their variants (Arial Narrow, Times New Roman, etc.) If a web developer decides to stray from one of these fonts, he or she risks browser compatibility problems and the prospect that their pages may render inaccurately when viewed through certain web browsers.


Whitelists are lists of commercial emailers (including ESPs) who have been approved to send mail through the ISP. The ISP (internet service provider) requires a list of IP (internet protocol) addresses that email will be sent from, and in some cases a test period where the commercial emailer will be approved or rejected.

Skip to content