This resource provides a list of terms most commonly used in the meeting planning industry. Don’t be left scratching your head wondering what Lanyard, Mutual Indemnification or Router mean. Check out this term list for everything you’ll want to know.

For a more comprehensive list of over 4000  meeting planning terms, become an IAHMP member and gain access to our online resources directory.


Terms to Know

A’ la Carte – Each item is priced and sold individually on the menu.

Act of God Clause or Force Majeure – A part of a contract that releases both parties from liability due to circumstances beyond their control. Examples would be tornado, war and earthquakes.

Addendum – An addition to the contract.

Agenda – An outline of a meeting schedule including a detailed task list for an event.

Air Walls – Retractable or movable walls used to break a room up into smaller areas.

All Space Hold – The entire amount of function space at a facility is set aside for one customer.

Amenity – An item placed in a guest room such as food, beverages and some other gift.

American Plan – A hotel rate that covers sleeping room and all meals.

American with Disabilities Act of 1990 – A federal law that outlines clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination the basis of disability. Planners and suppliers must provide reasonable accommodations to such persons.

Ancillary Service – Support services provided by a facility’s conference services division.

Application Service Provider – A company which furnishes software-based services and resolutions over the Internet in real time. Rather than using material on a hard drive, service providers arrange for the data and software to be available on the Internet.

Apron – The section of the stage that is in front of the curtain.

Arbitration – A procedure devised to resolve contractual disputes outside of the court system.

Arrival Pattern – Specific days and time blocks when attendees are expected to arrive.

Attrition – A reduction in numbers from figures you promised the meeting facility. Also called slippage or drop-off.

Audio-Visual (AV) - Equipment and resources devoted to helping attendees hear and see the meeting and/or event.

Auditorium Style – Seating which is arranged in rows facing one uniform direction or stage area; no tables are at the seats.

Authorized Signature – Signature from the person designated with legal authority to enter in a binding agreement.

Backdrop – Background of a stage set.

Back of the House – The area in the meeting facility that the staff uses. It is not open to the public.

Bandwidth – The data transmission capacity of an electronic line. It is expressed in bits per second (BPS).

Banquet Captain – Directs banquet servers and services at an event. At smaller events he or she may serve as the maitre d’.

Banquet Event Order (BEO) – Hotel information sheet for staff listing the details of a meal function including times, number of people, menu, special instructions, AV equipment and billing information.

Bid – A written or oral statement that describes what you will do in response to an offer, or request for bid.

Bill of Landing – A receipt detailing goods that have been shipped, which is signed by a representative of the owner or carrier.

Black Tie – Semiformal evening wear, typically requiring a dinner jacket for men.

Blanket License – Authorization from a performing rights society to play any/all the music in its repertoire.

Block – A reserved segment of rooms at a hotel.

Board of Directors Style – A wide, long oval- or rectangular-shaped table arrangement with chairs on either side and both ends.

Book – To make an advanced reservation.

Booking Pattern – Arrival and departure days of the week for a group or individual.

BPS Rate – Bits per second is a measure of data bits (digital 0s and 1s) transmitted each second in a communication channel, usual refers to modem speed.

Breakout Session – A spin off group from a large meeting with presentations focused on a specific topic.

Buffet – A meal during which guests serve themselves from a variety of dishes displayed on a sideboard or table.

Butler Service – Servers carry trays of food and drink to offer the guests. Used mostly for receptions.

Buyers Market – A business climate, which supply exceeds demands.

Cafeteria Service – Food Service by attendants from a buffet table or line.

Call Brand – A medium priced brand of alcohol.

Call for Presentation –An application for the opportunity to be a presenter at a meeting or conference.

Cancellation Clause – Terms in a contract that describe what each party will provide/ receive if the contract is terminated.

Cart-Style Service – A French style of service typically used for small events in which guests are seated, and the heating and garnishing of food is done next to the table, while an assembled plate is given to a guest by a server.

Cash Bar – Bar service where attendees pay for their own drinks.

Catering Manager – person who plans and manages meal functions at a hotel.

Change Order – A form created to inform departments and personnel of changes in either the function or reservations.

Charter – To hire or rent for sole and temporary use.

Classroom Style – A room set with rows of tables and chairs facing a presenter.

Commissionable Rate – A guestroom rate in which the hotel agrees to pay a specific percentage back to a designated organization. Industry standard for third party meeting planners and travel agents is 10 percent.

Comp – Short for complimentary or free.

Complete Meeting Package (CMP) – An all-inclusive package offered by conference centers, which includes lodging, support services and meals.

Concierge – A hotel staff person who handles special requests such as dinner reservations, social events, directions…

Concession – Yielding on a point to reach agreement.

Concurrent Sessions – Sessions that occur at the same time.

Conference Services Coordinator – The primary contact for a meeting at a convention center or elsewhere.

Conference Style – A seating arrangement with chairs placed around all sides of a table.

Confirmation – Verification of a reservation or any commitment to a facility.

Continental Breakfast – Abbreviated breakfast that consists, of coffee, tea, juice, pastries and breads.

Contingency Plans – Written documents prepared in advances addressing every conceivable emergency or other urgent issue.

Contract – A binding agreement between two or more persons or parties that is legally enforceable.

Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) – Not for profit organizations representing destinations. Usually funded by a combination of membership dues, taxes and government funding.

Convention Services Manager (CSM) – person who plans and manages meeting details at a hotel.

Corkage – A charge imposed at a restaurant for every bottle of liquor served that was not bought on the premises. This may also include charges for mixers, glassware and ice.

Cover – A meal served to one attendee.

Crescent Round Style – Seating at 60-, 66-, or 72-inch round tables where guests take up two-thirds to three-quarters of the table space, but with no seating that puts a guest’s back to the speaker.

Crudités – A hors d’oeuvre display of raw vegetables usually with a dip.

Cut-Off Date – The date the hotel releases your room block back to general inventory.

Cut-Off Time – Time at which a non-guaranteed reservation must be filled or it will be cancelled.

Dais – A raised platform in a large room, usually where speakers and honored guests are seated.

Damage Clause – Terms in a contract that describe the procedures, fees, and rights of the party causing damage.

Destination Management Company (DMC) – Companies available to help planners in a destination or city. Usually will arrange tours, plan and manage meetings, Plan a themed event, conduct a guest or spouse event.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) – A line that allows a modem to transform a plain telephone line into a digital and beef up the bandwidth capacity.

DLP Projector – A high-end projector typically used for large room, large screen productions, DLP projectors have a 15,000-lumen output of light.

Double Booking – When 2 or more groups or individuals are promised the same space for the same time.

Drayage – The service that includes delivery of materials to an exhibit space, removal of empty crates, storage of crates during the function, returning of crates at the end of the function, and delivery of materials to the carrier loading area.

Dual Projection – The projection of two images simultaneously using two projectors and screens.

Duoserve Property – A hotel in which the logistics are carried out by the convention services manager while a separate managers handles the catering.

Duty of Care – A legal obligation that requires a particular standard of conduct.

Easel – A tripod for displaying signs or flipcharts.

Efficiency Guest Room – A guest room that has a kitchen facility.

English Breakfast – A full breakfast that includes stations for made to order food.

Entrée’-  The main course of the meal.

Event Order or Function Sheet – A document outlining all of the details of a specific event, which includes location, times, head counts, audiovisuals, and food and beverage.

Exclusive Caterer – The only caterer who has the right to provide food services within a facility.

Exhibitor – A person or group who displays products or services at a tradeshow or exhibition.

Exhibitor Service Kit – A package of information that contains rules, regulations, and forms relating to an exhibition. It is provided to exhibitors by the company supplying the service for the tradeshow.

Exposition Service Contractor or Decorator – The company that provides the booth, signs, set up, and other services needed for a trade show or exposition.

Facilitator – A person designated to make a meeting run effectively and smoothly.

Familiarization Trip (FAM Trip) - A trip hosted by a destination or a CVB and its members for the sole purpose of show casing the venue as an event location.

Fiber Optic Circuit – Data connectivity services for higher bandwidth applications. It is hair-thin glass strand designed for light transmission. It is capable of transmitting trillions of bits per second.

Fixed expenses – Expenses that will remain constant no matter how many participants attend.

Flip Chart – An oversized notepad of paper on an easel used to make notes during a meeting for attendees to see.

First option – Term used to describe a group’s reservation for space at a property. Used when the space is being held and waiting for a contract to be signed.

Food and Beverage minimum – An amount you are required to spend for food and beverages, not including taxes, gratuities or service charges. F you spend below the amount, you pay the difference between the minimum and actual spent.

Force Majeure – A legal concept in contractual law. Force Majeure negates the need to perform under contract when events beyond the control of either party makes it impossible to do so. Also called Act of God Clause.

French Service – A type of food service in which a server places food on a plate from a prepared platter.

Function – A specific component of a meeting such as a meal, breakout session, registration or off-site tour.

Gratuity – A voluntary amount of money given in exchange for a service performed. Also know as a “tip”.

Group History – Specific information about the groups prior meetings. History will cover room pickup, revenue, dates, pattern, problems and other important details.

Guarantee – The number of people you tell the property is attending a meal function. Usually required 36-72 hours prior to the event.

Hold All Space – All meeting space in the hotel is being held by a group. If you have a “hold all space,” it should be stated in the contract with a deadline for submitting your agenda.

Half-round – Seating arrangement with chairs placed around half of a round table so they face the presentation area.

Head count – the actual number of people at the event.

Head Table – Table reserved for VIPS,

Hollow Circle – Seating arrangement with chairs facing each other in a single circle.

Hors d’oeuvres – Both hot and cols finger food served at receptions.

Horseshoe Seating – Seating arrangements with tables and chairs placed in an oblong semicircle with one end open toward the presentation area.

Hospitality Suite – room or suite set aside as a place for socializing especially for business purposes. Food and beverage are usually available.

Hosted bar or Open Bar – Bar service paid by a host.

Housing List – The list of attendees staying at a property. It is provided by the property and usually outlines check-in, check-out, payment info and room type.

HSIA – High Speed Internet Access.

I-Mag or Image Magnification – A projection that allows an image to appear on a large screen allowing large groups to see detail.

Incidentals – Additional costs that can be charged to your hotel bill such as in-room movies, mini-bar, telephone, and room service.

In Conjunction With (ICW) – an event or function that occurs because of another meting, but may not be a part of the original meeting.

Indemnify – To Secure against hurt, loss or damage.

Indemnification – An agreement in which one party agrees to protect the other party from liability, damages, or out-of-pocket expenses that may occur in connection with a particular transaction.

Internet Service Provider (ISP) - provides Connection to the internet.

Inquiry call – initial contact with a supplier or vendor with the purpose of asking about their service and or product.

Keynote speaker – Presenter who talks abut the primary issues.

Lanyard – A necklace or neck cord that attaches to the name badge so it can be hung around a person’s neck.

Lavaliere Microphone – A small microphone that can be attached to clothing, allowing hands to be free.

Lectern – A stand used to support papers and notes in a convenient position for a standing reader or presenter.

Liability Clause – Part of a contract that outlines the conditions of liability.

Liquidated damages – the amount of money that is owed by the party deemed to have breached one or some of contractual terms. Liquidated damages are not penalties, but are compensation for lost revenue or expenses.

Master Bill – The detailed accounting of all charges for a meeting provided by the facilities.

Meet and Greet – commonly used at airports to meet special passengers and either direct them to ground transportation or take them to the final destination.

Meeting History – Statistical record of a past meeting or event to include guest rooms used, food, beverage, functions, and other meeting data.

Meeting Management Company – Company that provides full service meeting management services to organizations.

Meeting Manager – Person who organizes, plans, and executes activities for individuals who meet for a common cause.

Meeting or Convention resume – Information sheet for hotel staff regarding the entire meeting which outlines the VIPs, agenda, contact information, rooming list, group profile.

Modified American Plan – A hotel rate plan where the daily rate covers breakfast and diner, but not lunch.

Monitor – Someone who introduces the speaker, keeps the meeting on track, gets help with AV equipment if needed, and distributes and collects evaluations.

Move-In – Time frame - in which exhibitors set up their exhibits.

Move-out Time frame in which exhibitors break down exhibits.

Multimedia – Using, involving, or encompassing several media such as sight and sound.

Mutual Indemnification – A term that means both parties will be responsible for their own negligent acts or omissions if they cause a loss to the other party or cause the other party to defend itself against an asserted claim in connection with a particular transaction.

Net Square Foot – The method by which some facilities charge for exhibit space. Net square footage is the space the exhibitors actually use- not including aisles, pillars, food stations and seatings.

No-Show – A person who has a reservation for a hotel room and does not show up.

Off –season – The time of year when the average business activity is slow.

Omni directional Microphone-A microphone designed to pick up sound from all directions.

On Consumption – To charge only for items consumed.

Outsource – To solicit or hire services from outside a company, group or organization.

Overbooking- A practice of hotel to oversell its sleeping rooms in anticipation of noshows.

Overflow – To fill a space beyond capacity.

Panel Discussion – Several experts deliver brief presentations in a question and answer format.

Peak Room Night – Number of hotel rooms nights used on the busiest night of the meeting.

Peak Season – The time of year when the average business activity is at its highest.

Pickup – number of sleeping rooms actually used during a meeting, both daily and cumulatively.

Pipe and Drape = Tubing covered with draped fabric to make up rails and back wall of a trade show.

Plated Buffet – Food is preplated and taken to gyests from the buffet table.

Podcasting – the distribution of audio or video files, such as lectures and classes, or music videos, over the internet for listening on mobile devices and personal computers.

Podium – A small raised platform for a presenter to stand on.

Portable media player – APMP is a handheld audiovisual system that can record and playback from TV, DVD player, Camera or media file downloaded from the internet such as IPOD, MP3 players and other mobile devices.

Post Con – Post Conventional Meeting – A meeting with the host facility’s staff just after the conclusion of the conference or meeting to review the event.

Pre Con-Pre convention Meeting – A meeting with the host facility staff just before the event.

Pre-prints – A bound copy of al the handouts and papers for every session usually provided at conferences where the sessions are technical.

Premium Brand – The most expensive high quality brand of alcohol.

Preset – Items, usually food. That are placed on tables before guests arrive. Usually salads and desserts.

Proposal – An offer or bid for services.

Rack Rate - A hotel’s standard published rate.

RFID – Radio Frequency Identification Device uses access points to retrieve information remotely from special tags via radio waves. It captures data from up to 15 feet away. Used on nametags for tracking.

Rear Projection – Visual image is projected from behind the screen.

Reception – Social gathering often for the purpose of extending a formal welcoming.

Relational Database – A structured set of data made up of records so data can be searched and accessed across different databases.

ROI – Return on investment – The process of evaluating a meeting in terms of value to the stakeholders involved in it.

RFP – Request for Proposal – An outline of all pertinent meeting specifications.

Reservation list – The list of reservations under a specific group’s room block.

Room Block – The total number of sleeping rooms reserved for a group.

Room Capacity – The number of people a room can safely hold.

Room nights – The number of rooms times the number of nights used during a meeting.

Room Set – the physical layout for a meeting, such as classroom, theatre, and rounds.

Rooming Lists – A list of people you are making room reservations for Includes check-in and out dates, room types, special comments and billing information.

Rounds – Circular tables. Sizes vary but are usually 60 inches in diameter (sear 8) or 72 inches (seat 10).

Router – A router connects the T1 to an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Run of the House – Sleeping rooms parceled out to guests according to availability when reservations are made or during check in.

Schoolroom or Classroom Style – A room set with rows of tables and chairs facing the presenter.

Sellers Market – A business climate where the meeting facility has such strong demand that it can charge higher rates and be selective about the business it books.

Service Charge – A mandatory charge added to the service.

Shoulder Season – The time of year when the average business activity is low.

Site inspection or site visit - A visit to a facility to determine whether it fulfills your meeting needs. Usually meet with the sales rep and convention service manger and tour the facility.

Six by Six rule – An AV guideline that states on overhead or slide should contain no more than six words per line and no more than six lines of text.

Slippage – A reduction in numbers from what you promised the meeting facility. Also called attrition or drop-off.

Specification or Spec sheet – List of meeting rooms and the number of people they ca hold in various set-ups.

Square set – A conference-style table arrangement of double or triple wide tables.

Stakeholder - A stakeholder is someone who has vested interest in the success of the meeting.

T1 – A high speed internet connection which is dedicated copper circuit installed by the telephone company.

Table Microphone – A microphone placed on a table for panel discussions or at a head table.

Target rate – The lowest group rate available on a given day.

Teleseminar – A teleseminar is a telephone conference call. Attendees call into the teleseminar at a set time. The presenter calls in and begins the presentation.

Termination Clause – Part of a contract dealing with procedures, damages and rights for terminating an agreement.

Theatre style – A seating arrangement with chairs placed side by side facing a stage or towards the speaker.

Tip – Cash or gift given to individuals to thank them for a good service. Not the same as gratuity or service charges.. A tip is an extra reward at the discretion of the planner.

Trade show – Booth-type format to communicate and sell services and products to members of a specific group.

Transient demand – Demand for guestrooms by individual travelers.

T-shape set – Table arrangements that look like a “T” from above.

Unidirectional Microphone – A microphone designed to pick up sound from one direction.

Universal Serial Bus (USB) – Sends data to standard devices such as computers, PDA’s, etc.

USB Flash Drive – Data storage devices integrated with a USB interface. Small, lightweight, removable and re writable. Sometimes called a “jump” or “pen” drive.

U-shape set – Table arrangements that looks like a “U” from above. Sometimes referred to as a horseshoe setting.

Variable expense – Expense that fluctuate based on the number of participants.

Venue – Location of a specific function.

V-shaped – Table arrangement that looks like a “V” from above. Usually chairs are only on the outside.

Walk – A term used for a person who has a guaranteed reservation but is moved to another hotel because of overbooking. Usually, if you are walked, the facility will compensate by taking you to another hotel and paying for the room and a phone call home.

Web casting – The transmission of linear audio or video content over the internet.

Wireless – Internet wireless is a method of communication that uses low powered radio waves to transmit data between devices.

Wireless Microphone – Operated by transmitting a signal to a receiver. Wireless lavalieres are popular.

© International Association of Hispanic Meeting Professionals

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