Talk the Talk: Travel Industry Glossary - Brownell Hosting

Talk the Talk: Travel Industry Glossary

So you want to become a luxury travel advisor? (You can! And it’s the best job in the world – learn how here!) You love all things travel, have found the perfect host travel agency, and have a good starting client base to get your business off the ground. But before you can walk the walk, you must be able to talk the talk. Use this travel industry glossary to understand the industry lingo and sound like a pro.

Airline reporting corporation (ARC): a company that handles the financial transactions between airlines and travel agencies. Travel agents must work for or be associated with an ARC-accredited travel agency in order to ticket airline reservations.

Airport code: the three letter code unique to each airport. Example: ATL is Hartsfield Jackson in Atlanta; LHR is Heathrow in London

Base fare: the price of a plane ticket without any taxes and fees

Certified Travel Associate (CTA): a certification travel advisors can earn after 12 months experience, completing a course, and passing the CTA exam

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA): the cruise industry trade organization. CLIA accredited travel agencies have a CLIA number (similar to an ARC or IATA number, see below) that can be used to verify the advisor.

Destination Management Company (DMC): a business the specializes in a specific destination. These companies have in-depth knowledge of the destination and service providers in it.

Educational (EDU): a trip designed to educate a travel advisor about a certain product or destination. Also called a FAM or familiarization trip

Festive season: the high-demand travel time typically between Christmas Eve and New Year’ Day

Flexible Independent Travel (FIT): a traveler or small group of travelers who are not with an organized group tour; also known as Foreign Independent Travel

Global distribution system (GDS): Computer reservation system that accesses the live inventory of hotels, resorts, cruise lines, airlines, and other suppliers around the world.

Gross rate: a rate that includes any added commission, taxes, and/or fees

Independent Contractor (IC): a travel advisor affiliated with a host travel agency. Also called an independent travel advisor

International Air Transport Association (IATA): a travel industry association of the world’s airlines. IATA travel agency accreditation numbers are accepted globally.

International Airlines Travel Agent Network (IATAN): a travel industry association in the United States similar to IATA. IATAN travel agency accreditation numbers are accepted globally.

Net rate: a rate without added commission

No show: a traveler that does not show up for their hotel, flight, or other travel reservation

Override: an additional commission paid to agencies or advisors after reaching certain sales goals

Passenger name record (PNR): The official name of a client’s reservation in the GDS

Rack rate: the standard price of a hotel without any discounts or promotions

Record locator: The unique number associated with an airline reservation

Sabre: a travel reservation system. A type of GDS

Shoulder season: the time between peak and low season

Tour operator: a person or company that manages tours in specific destination for travelers.

Unrestricted fare: an airline ticket that typically does not have limitations like blackout dates and is refundable

Wholesaler: a wholesaler (or travel wholesaler) is a company that sells travel packages to clients through travel advisors. The packages may include air, accommodations, and/or tours.

Learn more about becoming a luxury travel advisor here.


  • Welcome to the Travel Life – an inside look at the travel industry, tips for success, interviews with advisors, and more!


The Travel Life

Get an inside look at the travel industry, tips for success, interviews with advisors, and more.


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