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Intro to Tourism


The Destination Marketing Industry can be a confusing place for new Board Memebers and practitioners, especially with our maddening penchant for abbreviations and acronyms. ADR, Rev/Par, FAM, DMAI, ABA...LMNOP. Here are a few that you can learn that will make you sound like an industry veteran in no time.

ABA: American Bus Association

ACME: Association of Convention Marketing Executives

ACOM: Association of Convention Operation Managers

ACTE: Association of Corporate Travel Executives

ADI: Area of Dominant Influence (used to determine media markets)

ADR: Average Daily Rate (a measure of hotel profitability)

ASAE: American Society of Association Executives, and host to one of the largest convention industry trade shows in North America

ASTA: American Society of Travel Agents

BID: Business Improvement District

CAE: Certified Association Executive

Carrying Capacity: The number of visitors that can adequately be accommodated with existing infrastructure such as lodging, dining, roads, parking, etc.

CDME: Certified Destination Marketing Executive

CIC: Convention Industry Council.   An umbrella association for convention industry associations

CMP: Certified Meeting Professional

Consumer Show: Differs from a "Trade Show" as a trade show generally targets industry professionals. Consumer Shows target the consumer.

Conversion: Closing the sale

CSAE: Canadian Society of Association Executives. 

CSM: Convention Services Manager

Cultural Tourism: Travel for the purpose of learning about the culture or heritage or an area

CVA: Convention & Visitors Association

CVB: Convention & Visitors Bureau

CTC: Certified Travel Counselor  (also the Canadian Tourism Commission)

Day visitors: Visitors who arrive and leave the same day (also known as “Daytrippers”)

DMAI: Destination Marketing Association International (the Trade Association for the DMO industry, formerly known as the International Association of Convention & Visitors Bureaus)

DMAP: Destination Marketing Accreditation Program

DMC: Destination Management Company (usually private sector)

DMO: Destination Marketing (or Management) Organization (usually non-profit or public sector)

EDC: Economic Development Council (or Corporation)

ESSTO: Educational Seminar for State Travel Officials

FAM / Familiarization Trip: A complimentary or reduced-rate travel program for travel writers, group tour operators, travel agents, airline or rail employees or other travel buyers, designed to acquaint participants with specific destinations or suppliers and to stimulate the sale of travel. 

FIT: Foreign independent traveler (or Fully Independent Traveler)

Fulfillment Piece: Promotional literature, video or other material that is sent in response to an inquiry

GLAMER: Group Leaders of America

HSMAI: Hospitality Sales and Management Association International

IAAM: International Association of Assembly Managers

IAAPA: International Association of Amusement Parks & Attractions 

IACC: International Association of Conference Centers

IAEM: International Association of Exposition Managers

ICCA: International Congress and Convention Association

IFEA: International Festivals and Events Association

Incentive Tour: A trip offered as a prize, usually by a company to stimulate employee sales or productivity

Interpretation: Print materials, signage, narration, guided tours and anything that “interprets” the site or destination for the visitor.

ITME: Incentive Travel and Meetings Expo

Leisure Visitor: Leisure tourists, in contrast with business travelers, travel for pleasure and thus are not under any obligations to frequent specific destinations or facilities.

M & C: Meetings and Conventions

MPI: Meeting Professionals International

MTWA: Midwest Travel Writers Association

NASC: National Association of Sports Commissions

NAEM: National Association of Exposition Managers

NCBMP: National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners 

NSA: National Speakers Association 

NTA: National Tour Association

Occupancy rate: Percent of available hotel rooms sold during a particular span of time

PCMA: Professional Convention Management Association

Pow Wow: A Trade Show for the Group (Motorcoach) Travel Market, attended by operators and destinations from around the world

PRSA: Public Relations Society of America

Rack Card: The typical tourism brochure (sized 4” x 9”) and used primarily in tourism racks.

Rack Rate: The official cost or a room posted by a hotel (but rarely paid by groups)

RCMA: Religious Conference Management Association

Receptive Operator: Someone who plans to “receive” a motorcoach or tour group.  They may plan lodging, meals, attraction visits, etc. for a fee or commission

RevPar: Revenue per Available Room (a hotel performance measure)

RFP: Request for Proposal

RFQ: Request for Qualifications

ROI: Return on Investment

SATW: Society of American Travel Writers

SGMP: Society of Government Meeting Planners

SITE: Society of Incentive and Travel Executives

SMERF: A segment of the Convention & Meeting Market that stands for Social, Military, Educational, Religious and Fraternal. 

STAR Report: A measurement (by Smith Travel Research) of hotel performance

Step-on Guide: A highly knowledgeable guide who “steps-on” an incoming motorcoach and provides narrative interpretation for the passengers

STS: Southeast Tourism Society

TDA: Tourism Development Authority

TDC: Tourism Development Council / Commission

TIA: Travel Industry Association of America

TIF: Tax Incremental Financing

TODS: Tourist Oriented Directional Signage (often the blue signs along interstates and highways

TOT: Transient Occupancy Tax  (or “Room Tax”)

Trade Show: A product showcase for a specific industry that is generally not open to the public.

TTRA: Travel and Tourism Research Association

USTA: United States Travel Association (formerly TIA and Travel Business Roundtable)

USTOA: United States Tour Operators Association

VCB: Visitors and Convention Bureau

VFR: Visiting friends and relatives

VIC: Visitor Information Center (or Welcome Center)

Wayfinding Signage: Signs to aid the traveling public in finding their way around a destination

WTM: World Travel Market

WTO: World Tourism Organization

WTTC: World Travel and Tourism Council