C-Exclusive / Glossary

Understanding the Terms of the Trade

As our client, your full understanding is important to us.  Many of the things we discuss can be complicated, or even difficult to remember.  For this reason, we believe that ensuring your full understanding helps to easy your worries and ensure that you are knowledgeable when it comes to many of the industry terms that we use.

Below is a list of commonly used terms that you may hear often or come across.


Advanced Registration:  Booking in advance prior to the event taking place

Ala Carte:  Individually priced items

Amenities:  Special, complimentary items provided by hotel or facility

Attendee:  Any individual registered to attend conference/meeting/event

Attrition:  The amount you would owe if the specified minimum in your contract is not fulfilled.  Attrition can apply to food and beverage as well as group room blocks

Audio / Visual (AV):  The equipment used for sound and visual presentation such as microphone, podium, screen, projector, lighting etc.


Banquet Event Order (BEO):  Detailed document giving all the details of your event to the venue such as set-up time, start time, food and beverage ordered, special instructions, etc; may also be called an Event Order of Function Sheet

Break:  Short recess between sessions; coffee and light refreshments are sometimes served during this time

Break-out Sessions:  Smaller group sessions, panels, workshops within a main conference/meeting that focuses on specific topics

Buffet:  Food that is prepared and set up where the guests can serve themselves


Chef’s Choice:  The chef’s selection of a particular meal.  Most selections are seasonal.

Cancellation Clause:  Part of the contract that gives the penalties of cancelling your terms of agreement.

Consumption:  The amount you actually consume at your event. Instead of an open bar some people will do based upon consumption.  This could be very dangerous if you have heavy drinkers at your party as you could end up spending much more than you would have if you would’ve just purchased a bar package.

Corkage Fee:  A fee imposed by a venue/facility to a client when bringing their own alcohol on site.


 Deposit:  The minimal amount needed to secure your venue, food, room block, etc.


Family Style:  Large food portions are placed in large serving platters and passed around the table for guests to take their portion.

Food and Beverage Minimum:  The minimum amount you must spend towards food and beverage. If this minimum is not met, you may be subject to additional fees.

Force Majeure:   An “act of God” or event (e.g., war, labor strike, extreme weather) that cannot be reasonably anticipated or controlled by either party


General Session:  Session in which all conference attendees attend.  This time may be used to address the overall program or conference

Guarantee:  The amount of servings to be paid regardless of if that number is actually reached.   Generally once you submit your final guarantee you cannot decrease your count.  You can however increase your count if needed.

Group Block:  Rooms set aside at a special group rate by a hotel.

Group Cut-off date:  The date any unused rooms not picked up by your group will be released back into the hotel’s inventory. After this date the group rate is no longer guaranteed.


No Show:  When a guest has reserved a room for a particular day and does not inform the hotel that they no longer need the room.  Almost all hotels charge a no-show fee.


Overset: the amount over the guarantee a venue may prepare for.  Tip: this number is not as large as many people think. Most times it’s only preparing for 3-5 more than the guarantee. It’s very important to read the fine print on the contract so you can be sure to guarantee as close to the right number as possible


Pro Forma Invoice:  An estimated invoice detailing the event and costs.  This is sent prior to your event.  A final invoice is presented at the end of your event.


Room Rental:  The cost to rent a venue’s meeting room.  This is a separate cost that is sometimes in addition to food and beverage.  However some venues will waive this fee if your food and beverage minimums are met.


Service Charge:  A mandatory automatic fee added to food and beverage charges. Most venues charge between 18%-25%.


VIP:  Your special guest, keynote speaker etc.


Walkthrough: This is done prior to your event. You can meet with your catering or event manager to do a walkthrough