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The Ultimate Short-Term Rental Glossary

The Ultimate Short-Term Rental Glossary

From AI to vacation rental software and all letters in between, this is the ultimate short-term rental glossary. More than 100 clear and concise definitions about all the terms you need to know about the vacation rental industry. 

Scroll through and check them all out, or do a quick control/command + F to jump to where you need to go. We’ve linked to some of our best blog content for you to dive deeper into the definition once you get there.



Ensuring a rental property can be easily used by all guests, including those with disabilities, by providing features like ramps or wide doorways.

Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)   

A small, secondary house (mother-in-law suite) or apartment on the same property as a main house, often used for rental or guest accommodation.


The process of recording, summarizing and analyzing financial transactions and information including income, expenses and taxes.


Technology that mimics human intelligence to perform tasks like dynamic pricing or personalized guest recommendations.


An online marketplace that allows people to rent out their properties or spare rooms to those looking for accommodations.


Extra features or services provided at a rental property to enhance guest comfort, like Wi Fi, a pool or a fully equipped kitchen.

Analytics & reporting   

Collecting and analyzing data on bookings, revenue and guest behavior to make informed business decisions.


A type of accommodation that combines the features of an apartment and a hotel, offering self-contained units with kitchen facilities along with hotel services like housekeeping.

API integration

Connecting different software systems, like booking platforms and PMSs like Hostaway, so they can share data and work together smoothly.


The increase in the value of a rental property over time, which can boost overall investment returns.


Using technology to handle repetitive tasks in the short-term rental business, like bookings and guest communications.

Automated messages   

Pre written messages sent automatically to guests, such as booking confirmations or check-in instructions.

Automated payments   

Payments processed automatically, such as collecting rent from guests or paying service providers.

Automated reviews   

Reviews that are automatically generated and posted based on guest stays, often using pre-set review templates.

Automated tasks   

Routine tasks in property management, like scheduling cleanings or sending reminders, done automatically by the software.

Average Daily Rate (ADR)   

The average income earned per rented room per day over a specific period (usually calculated monthly/annually)

Average Length of Stay (ALOS)

The average number of nights guests stay at a rental property.


Back-to-back booking   

When one guest checks out and another guest checks in on the same day, leaving no gap between stays.

Booking confirmation   

A message or email sent to confirm that a guest's booking has been successfully made and details are finalized.

Booking request   

A guest's initial inquiry or application to book a property, which may need to be approved by the host.

Booking website   

An online platform where guests can search for, find and book short-term rental properties.

Booking window   

The period between when a guest makes a booking and the actual check-in date.


A popular online travel agency where hosts can list their rental properties and guests can book them.


Reservations made by guests to stay at a short-term rental property.

Bottom 10% (on Airbnb)   

Properties on Airbnb that fall into the lowest 10% in terms of ratings or performance metrics.

Business license   

A legal permit which is required to operate a short-term rental business in certain areas.


Calendar sync   

Automatically updating connected booking calendars across different platforms to prevent double bookings. Usually done through a channel manager or via iCal.


A designated area where guests can rent spaces to pitch tents or park RVs for short-term stays, often with shared facilities like restrooms and showers.

Cancellation fees   

Charges applied to guests who cancel their booking outside the allowed cancellation policy.

Cancellation policy   

The rules and conditions under which guests can cancel their booking and receive a refund.

Cap rate   

A measure of the return on investment for a rental property, calculated by dividing the net income by the property's value.

Carbon monoxide alarms   

Devices installed in rental properties to detect carbon monoxide gas and alert occupants.


A platform or website where rental properties are listed and booked, like Airbnb or Booking.com.

Channel manager   

Software that helps hosts manage listings and bookings across multiple channels from one place. Like Hostaway!

Chat GPT   

An AI tool that can assist hosts with automated responses and guest communications.

Check-in message   

A message sent to guests before their arrival with details on how to access the property.

Check up message   

A message sent to guests during their stay to ensure everything is going well and to address any issues.

Cleaning fee   

An extra charge to guests for the cost of cleaning the property after their stay.

Cleaning management tools   

Software or systems used to schedule and manage cleaning tasks for rental properties and to communicate with cleaners.


People or services hired to clean rental properties between guest stays.


A person who helps the primary host manage a rental property, handling tasks like guest communication and check-ins.

Comparative Marketing Analysis    

Evaluating similar rental properties to set competitive pricing and identify market trends.


A legal agreement between the host and guest outlining the terms of the rental stay also known as a short-term rental contract.

Cross listings   

Listing a rental property on multiple booking platforms to reach a wider audience.


Marketing strategy where different properties (usually of the same property manager/owner) promote each other to attract more bookings.

CRM and lead management   

Tools and strategies for managing relationships with guests and tracking potential new bookings.



A user interface that displays key information and metrics about rental properties, bookings and performance in one place. Also known as performance dashboard.

Deposit / Damage deposit   

Money collected from guests as a security measure to cover potential damage to the property during their stay.

Direct booking   

When a guest books a rental property directly through the host without using a third-party platform.

Direct booking site   

A website where guests can book rental properties directly from the host, bypassing third-party booking platforms.

Distribution channels   

Platforms or methods used to list and promote rental properties to potential guests, like Airbnb, VRBO or direct booking sites.

Double bookings   

When a rental property is mistakenly booked by two different guests for the same dates, often due to calendar syncing issues.

Dynamic pricing

A strategy where rental rates are adjusted in real-time based on factors like demand, seasonality, local events, and competition to maximize occupancy and revenue.


Eco friendly   

Practices or features in a rental property that are environmentally friendly, such as using energy-efficient appliances or recycling programs.

EV charging   

Electric vehicle charging stations available at or near the rental property for guests with electric cars.


Special occasions or gatherings that can be hosted at or near the rental property, such as weddings, parties or local festivals.

Exit/evacuation plan diagrams   

Visual guides placed in the rental property showing the safest and quickest routes to exit in case of an emergency.

Experience (Airbnb)   

Activities or tours offered by hosts that guests can book in addition to their stay, such as cooking classes, guided hikes or local tours.

Expense tracking   

The process of recording and managing all costs associated with running a rental property, including maintenance, cleaning and utilities.


Financial reporting   

The process of creating detailed reports that summarize the income, expenses and financial health of a rental property business.

Fire safety laws   

Regulations that rental properties must follow to ensure the safety of guests, including having smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and clear evacuation routes.

Furnished Finder   

A platform where landlords can list their fully furnished rental properties, catering to traveling professionals and temporary workers.


Gated community   

A residential area with controlled access, providing additional security and amenities for guests staying in rental properties within the community.


A form of camping with more luxurious accommodations and amenities, such as tents with comfortable beds, Wi Fi, electricity and private bathrooms.

Google Business Profile   

A free tool that allows rental property owners to manage their online presence across Google, including search and maps, to attract more guests.

Google Vacation Rentals   

A feature within Google that lets users search for and book vacation rental properties via their direct booking site, directly through Google’s search engine.


A provision that allows existing rental properties to continue operating under old regulations or standards when new laws or rules are implemented in some areas.

Gross Annual Income   

The total income generated by a rental property before any expenses are deducted over the course of a year.

Guest experience   

The overall satisfaction and enjoyment of guests during their stay at a rental property influenced by factors like amenities, cleanliness and host interactions.

Guest favourites (Airbnb)   

A feature on Airbnb highlighting properties that guests particularly like, often based on communication, positive reviews and high ratings.


Hero shot   

A high-quality, attractive photo of a rental property used to capture potential guests' attention, often showcasing the best features of the property. Most of the time this is the image that guests see first when viewing your listing.

Home Owner Association (HOA)   

An organization in a residential community that enforces rules and manages shared spaces and amenities, which can affect short-term rentals within the community.


The person who owns or manages a rental property and is responsible for guest interactions, property maintenance and overall guest experience.

Host fees   

Charges paid by the host to the booking platform for listing and booking services, typically a percentage of the rental income.

Host-only fees   

Fees that are solely the responsibility of the host, without any additional charges passed on to the guests.


A commercial establishment that provides lodging, meals and other guest services, typically on a short-term basis.

House manual   

A guide provided by the host that includes important information about the rental property, such as how to use appliances, Wi Fi passwords and local recommendations.

House rules   

Guidelines set by the host that guests must follow during their stay, covering topics like noise levels, smoking policies, pet policies and check-out procedures.



A free calendar format that allows hosts to sync their booking schedules across different platforms to avoid double bookings.


A message or request from a potential guest asking for more information about a rental property before making a booking.

Inquiry to booking conversion rate   

The percentage of inquiries that result in actual bookings, indicating how effective the host is at converting interest into reservations.

Instant book   

A feature that allows guests to book a rental property immediately without needing approval from the host.


Coverage that protects hosts and guests from potential risks and damages related to renting a property, such as property damage or liability issues.


A person or entity that purchases properties to rent them out to generate income and achieve financial returns.


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)   

Metrics used to measure and evaluate the success of a rental property business, such as occupancy rates, average daily rates and guest satisfaction.

Keyless entry   

A system that allows guests to access the rental property without a physical key, often using a code or smartphone app.

Kid-friendly (Child-friendly)   

Features and amenities in a rental property that make it suitable for families with children, such as safety measures, toys and baby equipment. Also known as child-friendly. 



The owner of a rental property who leases it out to tenants or guests.

Late checkout   

An option allowing guests to stay beyond the standard checkout time, often for an additional fee.

Lease Agreement    

A legal contract between the landlord and tenant outlining the terms and conditions of renting the property.

Length of Stay (LOS) pricing   

Pricing strategy that adjusts rates based on the duration of a guest's stay, often offering discounts for longer stays.


An online advertisement for a rental property, including descriptions, photos and pricing.

Local regulations 

Laws and rules set by local authorities that hosts must follow when renting out their properties, such as zoning laws and safety requirements.


A secure box that holds keys to the rental property, allowing guests to access the keys using a code.

Lodging Tax    

A tax imposed by local governments on rental properties, typically charged as a percentage of the rental income.

Long-term rental    

A rental property leased for an extended period, usually longer than 30 days, often with a lease agreement.

Low season    

The time of year when demand for rental properties is lower, often resulting in reduced prices and occupancy rates.

Luxury rentals    

High-end rental properties that offer premium amenities and services, targeting guests seeking a luxurious experience.


Management fees   

Charges paid to property managers for handling the day-to-day operations of a rental property, including bookings, maintenance and guest communications.

Market research   

The process of gathering and analyzing information about the rental market to make informed decisions about pricing, target audience and competition.


Activities and strategies used to promote rental properties and attract guests, such as advertising, social media and listings on booking platforms.

Maximum occupancy   

The highest number of guests that a rental property can legally and comfortably accommodate.

Mid-term rentals   

A rental property leased for a period longer than a few weeks but shorter than a year, typically between one to six months.

Minimum stay   

The shortest duration of time a guest can book and stay at a rental property, set by the host.


A type of accommodation offering basic lodging services, typically with rooms that open directly onto a parking area, often used for short-term stays.


A tool that allows hosts to view and manage bookings for multiple rental properties on a single calendar interface.


A strategy of listing rental properties on multiple booking platforms to reach a wider audience and increase bookings.

Multi-unit property   

A building or complex with multiple separate rental units, such as an apartment building or a property with several vacation rental units.


Nightly rate   

The cost charged to guests for one night's stay at a rental property.

No show   

A guest who does not arrive for their booked stay and fails to cancel the reservation.

Non-smoking property   

A rental property where smoking is prohibited, ensuring a smoke free environment for all guests.

Noise monitor   

A device used in rental properties to detect and alert hosts about excessive noise levels, helping to prevent disturbances.

Non-owner occupied   

A rental property that is not lived in by the owner, often managed remotely by the owner or by a property manager or host for rental purposes.


Occupancy rate   

The percentage of available rental days that a property is booked and occupied by guests.

Occupancy tax   

A local tax charged to guests based on their stay, often collected by the host and paid to the government.

Off-peak season   

The time of year when demand for rental properties is lower, often resulting in reduced prices and fewer bookings.

Online Travel Agency (OTA)   

A website or platform that facilitates the booking of travel services, including rental properties, such as Airbnb, Booking.com or Expedia.

Operational expenses   

The ongoing costs of running a rental property, including utilities, maintenance, cleaning and management fees.

Orphan nights   

Single unbooked nights between reservations that are difficult to fill.


When a property is mistakenly booked by more guests than it can accommodate for the same dates.

Owner’s statement   

A financial report provided to property owners detailing the income and expenses related to their rental property.

Owners portal   

An online platform where property owners can manage their rental properties, view bookings and access financial reports.


Party ban (anti-party policy, Airbnb)   

A rule enforced by Airbnb to prevent guests from hosting parties at rental properties, aiming to reduce noise and property damage.

Party prevention devices   

Equipment, such as noise monitors, used to detect and prevent parties from occurring at rental properties.

Payment processing   

The system used to handle and manage guest payments for bookings, including credit card transactions and online payments.

Peak season   

The time of year when demand for rental properties is highest, often resulting in higher prices and more bookings.

Performance Dashboard   

A user interface that displays key metrics and data about a rental property’s performance, such as occupancy rates, revenue and guest reviews.

Pet fees   

Additional charges applied to guests who bring pets to a rental property, covering potential extra cleaning and wear and tear.

Pet-friendly property   

A rental property that allows guests to bring their pets during their stay.

PMS (Property Management System)   

Software used by hosts and property managers to manage bookings, communications and operations for rental properties. That’s Hostaway!


A process where hosts review and approve booking requests from potential guests before the reservation is finalized.

Primary residence   

The main home where a person lives, which can sometimes be rented out as a short term rental when the owner is away.

Property management   

The overseeing and handling of rental property operations, including maintenance, guest communication and booking management.

Property manager  

A person or company responsible for overseeing and managing the day-to-day operations of a rental property, including handling bookings, guest communications, maintenance, and financial management.

Property taxes   

Taxes imposed by the local government on rental properties based on their assessed value.

Public liability insurance   

Insurance that provides coverage for property owners against claims of injury or damage caused to guests or third parties during their stay.



A question or request for information from a potential guest regarding a rental property.

Quick replies   

Pre-written responses that hosts can use to answer common questions from guests quickly and efficiently.

Quiet hours   

Specific times during which guests are expected to keep noise to a minimum to avoid disturbing neighbors or other guests.


Rate parity   

Ensuring that the rental property's rates are consistent across all booking platforms to maintain fairness and avoid price discrepancies.


Laws and rules set by local authorities that govern how rental properties must operate, including safety standards, zoning and tax requirements.

Rental agreement   

A legal contract between the host and guest outlining the terms and conditions of the rental stay, including payment, duration and house rules.

Rental arbitrage   

A strategy where individuals rent properties long-term and then sublease them as short term rentals to earn a profit.

Reservation Confirmation   

A message or email sent to confirm that a guest's booking has been successfully made and details are finalized.

Reservations manager   

A person or software responsible for managing bookings, availability and guest communications for rental properties.

Repeat guests   

Guests who have previously stayed at a rental property and return for additional stays.

Return on investments (ROI)   

A measure of the profitability of a rental property, calculated by comparing the income generated to the cost of the investment.

Revenue management   

The practice of strategically setting rental prices based on demand, competition and other factors to maximize income.

RevPAR (Revenue Per Available Room)   

A metric used to evaluate a property's financial performance by dividing the total revenue by the number of available rooms over a specific period.


Feedback and ratings provided by guests after their stay, reflecting their experience and satisfaction with the rental property.

Room type   

The category or classification of a rental unit based on its size, amenities and layout, such as studio, one bedroom or deluxe suite.


Sales tax   

A tax imposed by the government on the sale of goods and services, which may apply to rental charges.


The process of evaluating potential guests before accepting their booking, often involving background checks or verifying information.


The fluctuation in demand for rental properties based on the time of year, affecting occupancy rates and pricing.

Security deposit   

Money collected from guests before their stay to cover potential damage to the property, refundable if no damage occurs.


A method that allows guests to check in to a rental property on their own, often using a smart lock or lockbox.

Service animal   

An animal trained to perform tasks for a person with a disability, which must be accommodated by hosts under certain laws.

Service fee   

An additional charge by booking platforms or hosts to cover services provided, such as cleaning or booking processing.

Serviced apartment   

A fully furnished apartment available for short-term stays, offering hotel-like amenities and services.

Shared space   

A rental arrangement where guests share common areas with the host or other guests, such as a kitchen or living room.

Shoulder season   

The period between peak and off-peak seasons when demand and prices are moderate.

Short term rental   

A property rented out for short periods, typically less than 30 days, to travelers and vacationers.

Short-term rental courses

Educational programs designed to teach hosts and property managers how to successfully run and manage rental properties. These courses cover topics like marketing, guest communication, pricing strategies, and legal requirements.

Smart home   

A property equipped with automated systems for lighting, heating, security and other functions that can be controlled remotely.

Smart lock   

An electronic lock that allows guests to unlock doors using a code or smartphone app, facilitating self-check-in.

Split stays   

Booking a stay that is divided between two or more different rental properties during a single trip.


 A vacation where guests stay at a rental property close to their home, enjoying a break without traveling far.

STR insurance   

Short-term rental insurance that provides coverage for property damage, liability and other risks associated with renting out a property.


A recognition given by Airbnb to hosts who consistently provide exceptional hospitality and receive high ratings from guests.


Tax returns   

Documents filed with tax authorities that report a rental property’s income and expenses for the year. These filings determine if the owner owes additional taxes or is eligible for a refund based on overpaid taxes.


Mandatory financial charges imposed by government authorities on rental income and property ownership.


Pre-designed documents or messages that hosts can use to streamline tasks like guest communication and contracts.

Themed rentals   

Rental properties decorated and designed around a specific theme, such as a movie, historical period or unique concept to attract guests looking for a unique experience.

Third-party booking   

A reservation made through an intermediary platform such as an online travel agency (OTA), rather than directly with the host.

Top 1%   

Rental properties on Airbnb that are ranked among the highest performers in terms of reviews, occupancy rates and overall guest satisfaction.

Transient Occupancy Tax (TAT)   

A local tax charged to guests for stays in short-term rental properties, typically collected by the host and paid to the local government.

Travel Insurance   

Insurance that guests can purchase to cover trip-related risks, such as cancellations, medical emergencies or lost luggage.

Trust Accounting   

The practice of managing and keeping track of funds held on behalf of others such as security deposits and advance payments to ensure they are properly accounted for.


The process of cleaning and preparing a rental property for the next guest after the previous guest checks out.


Unified inbox   

A single inbox where hosts can manage all their messages and communications with guests from various booking sites in one place.

Unique stay   

A rental property that offers a distinctive and memorable experience, such as a treehouse, yurt or themed apartment attracting guests looking for something special.


The practice of offering guests additional services or amenities for an extra charge, such as late checkout or airport transfers.


Vacation rental   

A property rented out to guests for short-term stays, typically for vacations or holidays, offering more space and amenities than traditional hotels.

Varied pricing   

A pricing strategy where rental rates fluctuate based on factors like demand, season and length of stay to maximize occupancy and revenue.


The process of confirming the identity of guests or the legitimacy of rental properties to ensure safety and trustworthiness in the booking process.

Virtual Assistant   

A remote professional who provides administrative and support services to hosts and property managers, such as handling guest inquiries, managing bookings, and coordinating cleaning schedules, all done online.

Virtual Tour   

An online simulation that allows potential guests to explore a rental property remotely, providing a realistic view of the space and amenities.


An online platform (Vacation Rentals By Owner) where property owners can list their homes for short-term rentals and guests can book them.


Vacation Rental Management Association, an organization that supports and promotes the vacation rental industry, providing resources, education and networking opportunities for property managers and owners.


Welcome basket   

A collection of complimentary items, such as snacks, drinks and local treats, provided by the host to greet guests upon arrival.

Welcome book   

An informational guide provided by the host that includes details about the rental property, house rules, local attractions and tips for guests' stay.

Weekend prices   

Higher rental rates applied to stays that include weekend nights, reflecting increased demand during this time.

Wheelchair accessible   

A rental property designed or modified to accommodate guests who use wheelchairs, with features like ramps, wide doorways and accessible bathrooms.



The income generated from a rental property as a percentage of its value, often used to measure profitability and financial performance.


A circular, tent-like structure traditionally used by nomadic peoples, now often used as unique and comfortable accommodations for guests looking for a different rental experience.


Zoning regulations   

Local government rules that determine how properties in specific areas can be used, including whether they can be rented out as short-term rentals.

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