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I'm working in a software company working on an information system for travel agencies. Because we've grown big, we've decided to rename our internal project nomenclatore from Czech to English.

I think I've translated all names well, with one exception. I will now try to explain its meaning before proposing my translations.

In our system, there are "business cases" which are basically information containers containing a relation between a client and a travel agency. The simplest business case contains a hotel and a room that was reserved, names and ages of people that are going to spend their holidays there, generated contract and invoice documents to be printed etc.

It could not be possible to make a reservation for any hotel if the travel agency did not know the "availability" of the hotel. That means, it's essential for a travel agency to know how many people can be accommodated in a hotel and when. Our information system just provides them with means to easily keep track of the hotels' availability.

If a reservation is made, there are many complex interconnections, invisible to the employees of the travel agency. But a programmer working with the system has to know all of these connections.

As I said, a business case contains people that are going to spend their holiday somewhere. Now imagine, that for the system to work, there must be some connection between these people and the hotel availability. This connection essentialy says "1 man takes 1 availability unit from the hotel".

Now imagine that this connection is actually a single item with many implications. With this model, we can create much more complex situations and in agendas outside hotels, e.g. flight reservations or theatre/cinema reservations. Examples of complex models:

"1 and only one children takes 0 availability if the children is aged from 0 to 2"

"1 dog takes 0 availability in a flight"

"1 man takes 2 availability if the room he reserved can be ordered for himself regardless the total capacity of the room"

The question is, how would you call this connection? Something that is abstract and succinct enough. Word/phrase that basically says that there is an X of "something/someone" that is taking and holding Y places somewhere under some conditions and for a specific time.

  • Using word-by-word translation from Czech, the result is "bound capacity" but that just doesn't sound well for me. Does it for you?
  • Another suggestions I could think of are capacity holder, availability holder, space block, space binder ...
  • It's also possible that there is a right word for this from the tourism industry which I don't know. (since I'm a programmer (IT industry), not a travel agency salesman)

I'm not a native english speaker. Could you suggest what would you think is the best? :)

(the question is probably a bit too complicated so if you're not sure you don't understand, please try to read the following explanations, they might help :)

THE WORD RESERVATION:

Someone proposed a "reservation" and for a second, I felt like a total idiot but then I realized that we already use this word - reservation is actually a state of the business case. And business case is in reservation when it has valid connections. When there are no connections at all, the business case might be cancelled (because it wasn't paid or for a client request etc.) or many other reasons (the hotel is not be available during storm seasons/state holidays etc. etc. etc.)

RESPONSE TO FIRST LYNN'S ANSWER

Hotel California has 4 "availability spots".

Family Jones has 4 people plus a dog ... this takes 3 "availability spots" 
-- 0 for the dog, 0 for the infant, 1 for the older child, and 2 for the adults

What would you call "availability spots" in English?

I'm not asking this :) I'm asking what would you call the thing that takes the availability spot. It can be a dog, an infant, a child, in some cases even a luggage!

EXPLANATION OF THE BOUND CAPACITY

The idea is that the occupant is binding the single capacity spot of the hotel to himself only. He's doing that by creating a "bound capacity" - a virtual unit that says how many places is he taking. Vast majority of these bound capacities are the simplest case: 1 man = 1 place. But there are also vast possibilities of how this bound capacity could be modified and how could it work anywhere else in the system.

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closed as too localized by Matt Эллен, Lynn, KitFox, cornbread ninja 麵包忍者, simchona May 15 '12 at 4:40

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

    
Which connection are you talking about? (in explaining all the details, you've left out the simple question of which concept you're trying to find a word or phrase for. Is it the number of items of the thing being reserved? Maybe you can look at travelocity or expedia to see what word might be used for regular users. –  Mitch May 14 '12 at 14:15
    
Is the word reservation not enough? –  Matt Эллен May 14 '12 at 14:17
    
Mitch: I mentioned it >>> Something that basically says that there is an X of "something/someone" that is taking and holding Y places "somewhere" under some conditions and for a specific time. –  Motig May 14 '12 at 14:23
    
Matt: unfortunately not, see the EDIT part –  Motig May 14 '12 at 14:24
2  
I think "bound capacity" is fine, or maybe "reservation capacity" or simply "capacity." –  KitFox May 14 '12 at 14:31

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

First question: Is this name something that will appear on client screens, or only internal programming? If it's purely internal, then the name doesn't matter so much. You make up a name that makes sense to you, explain what it is to your programmers, and who cares from there? But if it will be seen by your clients, you probably should talk to the clients and see if they have a name for it. If there's already a well-established name in the industry, you don't want to make up a new name and confuse people.

When I worked with airlines, they used the terminology a little different from you. They would call it a "reservation" while it was in the "not yet finalized" stage. Once it was finalized, they called it a "ticket". They talked about the process of "turning a reservation into a ticket".

But I think hotels are different. I think they call the final thing a "reservation". I don't know if they have a name for a not-finalized reservation.

I'm not sure how you can apply this concept across multiple types of reservations. Like, airlines have a certain number of seats in the plane. Outside a few special cases, each person takes one seat. But a hotel room doesn't take a fixed number of people. On an airplane, you can say, "We have 4 seats left. The Smith party wants 2 seats and the Jones party wants 2 seats, yes we can fit them." But you can't say, "We have one hotel room left that can sleep 4, the Smith party wants 2 slots and the Jones party wants 2 slots, yes we can fit them." Presumably two unrelated groups would object to being put in the same room even if there are enough beds. Still, the idea of using a single set of logic to handle all different sorts of "capacity" -- airplane sets, hotel rooms, theater seats, zoo admissions, whatever -- strikes me as a good, clean design. Let's assume you're handling the rough spots.

All that said: My inclination would be to call the total available slots "capacity". Call the not-committed thing a "tentative reservation" and the committed thing a "finalized reservation". I think anyone in the travel industry would understand what you meant by those terms. If it's purely for programmers, "total capacity" and "bound capacity" are fine and have the advantage that the common word "capacity" makes clear that they are related.

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Very helpful answer, thank you :) –  Motig May 14 '12 at 15:10
    
I decided I'll stick to bound capacity. –  Motig May 14 '12 at 15:14

I'm not sure I quite followed your question. Wording it another way, here's what I think you're asking. Correct me if I'm off-base:

Hotel California has 4 "availability spots".

Family Jones has 4 people plus a dog ... this takes 3 "availability spots" -- 0 for the dog, 0 for the infant, 1 for the older child, and 2 for the adults

What would you call "availability spots" in English?

Short answer: You wouldn't.

Your "business unit" would typically be called a "reservation", but availability is typically dealt with in more concrete terms: seats (for a flight), rooms (for a hotel), cars (for an automobile reservation). There is no all-encompassing term for all of these things. (At least, not one I'm aware of.)

If I were absolutely forced to make up such a term I would probably just use availability units as a generic phrase. But it would feel awkward and you'd probably have to explain it to an American programmer.

UPDATE (based on Motig's comment)

Since there's no single term for "availability spot" there is, by extension, no single term for "person/thing occupying an availability spot". It varies by the type of spot.. on a flight it would be a passenger, a room has occupants, etc.

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Nonono, I meant something different :) In your example: Family Jones has 4 people plus a dog ... this takes 3 "availability spots". Exactly! It takes 3 availability spots. Now I want to know how you would call the thing that takes the availability spot. It can be a dog, an infant, a child, in some cases even a piece of luggage! –  Motig May 14 '12 at 14:37
    
@Motig I don't see how that relates to your "bound capacity," but "occupant" could be broadly stretched here. –  KitFox May 14 '12 at 14:47
    
KitFox: The idea is that the occupant is binding the single capacity spot of the hotel to himself only. He's doing that by creating a "bound capacity" - a virtual unit that says how many places is he taking. Vast majority of these bound capacities are the simplest case: 1 man = 1 place. But there are also vast possibilities of how this bound capacity could be modified and how could it work anywhere else in the system. –  Motig May 14 '12 at 15:02
    
I updated my answer, but the gist is the same - there isn't a word for what you're looking for. I agree with KitFox that "occupant" is about the closest you're going to get in English, though that's not a perfect fit either. –  Lynn May 14 '12 at 15:23

I'm going to first rephrase the question to see if I'm understanding you correctly.

A group expresses interest in a reservation. Some of this group may not require a spot at the hotel (ex. infants, pets, etc.). The total number of people who do require a spot is the subset that we are interested in describing.

This is not yet a reservation because a reservation requires certain financial and procedural steps that have not yet taken place. The relationship of this group to the hotel is that of a potential reservation -- if everything works out, this is how many spaces they'll be taking up.

I imagine there may be an industry term for this kind of thing, but I can't think of any single English word that plainly expresses the relationship of 'potential reservation.'

I would recommend either coining a term for this specific purpose or using a combination of words.

Here are some adjectives that might be appropriate:

  • possible
  • potential
  • expected
  • pending
  • anticipated
  • prospective
  • conditional

To be combined with one of the following nouns:

  • reservations
  • occupants / occupancy
  • units
  • guests
  • adults
  • count

And so on, depending on the particulars. Please let me know if I'm misunderstanding or if you have a follow-up question.

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