In-person connections mean everything. That’s why business travel is so essential, right? Yet sometimes it can also be complicated. You’re planning itineraries, scheduling meetings and just when you’d like to focus on the trip, you get thrown off by terms like adoption rate and acronyms like GDS, LCC and LRA.

Does this travel terminology put you in a tail spin? It’s ok if it does because we’re here to help. In fact, we met up with the team from to simplify it all into the who-what-where of business travel­ so you can start thinking and talking like a travel pro. Once you’ve got the terms and definitions down pat, be on the lookout for more advanced terms ­– coming to The Atlas soon.

  • adoption rate: the percentage of travel bookings made through a company-approved online booking system.
  • ancillary services: amenities a traveler can purchase from airlines while traveling; e.g., onboard food and beverages, checked baggage, seat upgrades, priority boarding, etc.
  • basic economy: rock-bottom airfare that comes with certain restrictions, such as limits on carry-on luggage and seating assignments; each airline has its own set of restrictions.
  • black-out dates: certain dates when discounts or miles are not permitted.
  • booking engine: web-based products that allow for airline, hotel, train and car reservations.
  • dynamic pricing: a strategy in which airlines and hotels change prices based on algorithms that take into account competitor pricing as well as supply and demand.
  • fare basis: the letters and numbers assigned to a specific fare, like an identification number.

Global what?

  • global distribution system (GDS): 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.
  • LCC: low-cost carrier (aka no-frills airlines); offer low-fare flights with reduced passenger services.
  • leakage: 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.
  • LRA: last room availability; as long as a hotel has even one room available, then parties with an LRA contract have a right to buy it at their contracted terms and price.
  • managed travel: a business travel program in which employees book travel within pre-established guidelines, designed to control spend and help enhance travelers’ safety.

Where to?

  • OBT: online booking tool; a corporate-approved software tool that lets organizations book, manage and monitor their business trip itineraries.
  • OTA: online travel agency; a travel website that enables travelers to book flights, hotel rooms, ground transportation and other travel-related products and services.
    TEM: travel expense management; the system a company uses to process, pay and audit traveler-initiated expenses.
  • ticketing agreement: a contract between airlines to accept each other’s tickets for transportation.

TM who?

  • TM: a travel manager is the person responsible for a company’s travel policy—developing the policy, managing (preferred) supplier relationships, monitoring and approving traveler itineraries and bookings, processing T&E reports and more.
  • TMC: a travel management company is a business travel agent (such as American Express Global Business Travel) 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
  • unmanaged travel: a business travel program without a set booking process or guidelines, in which employees book independently and manage their own travel arrangements.
  • unused ticket: 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.
  • VCN: virtual card number; a highly secure, single-use virtual credit card number used to minimize the risk of fraud.

Click here to download this glossary as a PDF.

Now that you know the buzzwords, click here to discover more ways we can help manage your company’s travel.