The Travel Trade Supplier Certification Program

Glossary of Terms
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American Automobile Association

Affinity Group

Groups composed of members of an organization who travel together.

Blackout Periods

A period of time during the operating season when the travel product supplier's normal commission and discount structure is not available to the travel trade. This typically occurs in particularly high demand periods when the supplier closes its availabilities to the travel trade in order to sell all the available product directly to consumers.

Block Bookings

A ‘block' of a tourism supplier's product inventory that is set aside and put under the control of a the tour operator so as to allow them to confirm reservations without recourse to the supplier. Generally this arrangement is established as part of the negotiations between the supplier and the tour operator.

'Bumping' Policy

A policy for accommodating customers whose reservations can't be honoured by the supplier due to an over-booked situation. Typically, the supplier will arrange for alternative services and will usually also provide some added-value services or compensation to offset the inconvenience for the customer. This is common practice among accommodations and transportation companies.


Canadian Automobile Association


A corporately owned group of product suppliers. Common to the accommodation and restaurant sectors.


The compensation that a travel agent or other intermediary receives from a product supplier in return for selling their products or services. Commissions are usually based on a percentage of the retail value of the transaction.


A document offering a saving or other benefit by purchasing a product. In tourism this is usually a saving on an attraction admission, a second meal free at a restaurant, etc.


A 'destination marketing organization', such as a convention and visitors bureau, or a provincial tourism marketing organization.

Escorted Group Tour

A prearranged group tour developed and managed by a tour operator, receptive operator or travel agent. A tour guide accompanies the group on the tour and handles all logistical matters.

Familiarization or 'fam' tours

A complimentary or reduced-rate travel program for tour operators travel agents or travel writers, designed to improve knowledge about a particular destination or package. The purpose in the first two cases is to encourage active marketing support; in the third it is to encourage favourable media stories about the destination.

Franchise Group

A group of independently-owned tourism suppliers affiliated with a central marketing organization. A franchise permits the independent supplier to benefit from sharing a common brand in the marketplace, and from having access to a variety of support services.

Free Sale

The tour operator is free to confirm reservations with clients without recourse to the supplier, for dates and products that have not been closed-out by the supplier. In other words, the tour operator is free to sell product except for dates where they have been informed by the supplier that a particular product is unavailable for ‘free sale', in which case the tour operator must request the inventory prior to confirming the reservation with their client.

Fully Commissionable

The commission applies to the total value of the transaction, not just selected portions.

Fully Independent Tour
(referred to as "FIT")

Packages that are designed for independent travellers and that do not usually involve group activities at any stage of the trip. A typical example is the fly-drive package, offering a saving in air, car rental and perhaps some additional services on a package basis. They may also include accommodations for some or all nights, and/or some meals and/or attractions. (The acronym derives from an airline term from the days of regulated international airfares, for 'foreign independent tour'.)

Ground Operator

A company or individual providing services to a tour operator at the destination, such sightseeing tours, local transfers, guides and other local services, but not including transportation to and from the destination. Sometimes called a land operator.

Hosted Group Tour

Like the escorted group tour (above), except that the tour guide only joins the group at key particular times, usually at the hotel, to deal with issues and problems, provide information, etc.


The travel itinerary provided to a client by a travel agent or tour operator.

Liability Insurance

Insurance that protects a company from legal claims arising out of accidents or losses incurred by customers.


A travel trade event where tourism suppliers have scheduled appointments with travel trade buyers.

Motorcoach Tour

A group tour in which the primary mode of transportation is by motorcoach.

Other Group

Groups other than motorcoach tours, including those using other types of transportation vehicles, as well as non-touring groups.


A pre-arranged combination of travel components 'packaged' together and sold at an all-inclusive price in a single transaction.

Preferred Practices

Policies and practices that are considered beneficial in dealing with tour operators, travel agencies and wholesalers (the travel trade).

Rack Rate

The published (or 'advertised') retail price of a tourism product or service.

Receptive Operator

A person or company that specializes in particular destinations, providing services at the destination to group travel organizers and tour operators. Some limit their services to the community and area in which they are based; others provide services to entire regions.

Self-Drive Itinerary

An itinerary of travel arrangements for an independent traveller on an independent package tour.

Special Group Rates

A per person discount offered on group bookings.

Special Interest Group

A group built around a common interest in a specific subject or activity.

Tour Itinerary

The day-by-day, event-by-event itinerary for a tour.

Tour Operator

A tour operator is a business that designs, develops, markets and operates packaged travel and tourism products and tours. Tour operators sell through travel agents and/or directly to consumers.

Tour Operator Rates

Discounts off of retail rates offered to tour operators by tourism suppliers.

Tourism Supplier

A tourism business operator, such as an accommodation property, attraction, etc.

Trade Show

An exhibition of travel and tourism products designed to solicit business from travel trade buyers.

Transferable/Floating Deposit

A paid deposit that may be switched to other dates, other block bookings or other packages if cancellation is necessary. This is normally offered in instances where the deposit is not refundable.

Travel Agent

A licensed travel product retailer that provides travel information, reservations and other forms of assistance to consumers, companies and groups in making travel arrangements.

Travel Trade

A term describing the full range of organizations that operate as intermediaries in the travel and tourism industry. These typically include tour operators, wholesalers, receptive operators, group leaders and travel agents.


A document having a monetary value, issued to a client by a tour operator or travel agent, to be exchanged at face value for specified products or services. A voucher authorizes the provision of a particular product or service, at a pre-agreed price, with the billing to made to the travel trade company. It is issued following a pre-payment by the customer to the travel trade company. It is commonly used with independent packages and tours.

'Walking' a Tour or Customer

'Bumping' a tour or a customer to another facility, service or product because of a lack of product/service availability.

Wholesale Net Rates

The discounted price off of retail prices offered to the travel trade for booking in volume. Essentially the same as "tour operator rates".


A company that operates as an intermediary between the travel product supplier and the retail travel agent in the marketplace, generally providing services such as information and reservations to travel agents. (Tour operators often operate as wholesalers, but usually when they are involved in some form of product packaging.)