I was curious about the difference between folio and invoice in hotel management terms. Some hotel say invoice and others say folio. Are there difference?
A folio is a list of your charges. For example, phone calls, minibar, laundry services, room service, valet, etc. anything that is billed to your room.
Hotels maintain separate folios, typical ones are:
- Master (assigned for group accounts; for example a tour group consisting of multiple guests)
- Non-guest (assigned for other services; for example the valet service might be outsourced to a third party, etc.)
They are mainly used for accounting and to separate charges for easy tax purposes.
The invoice in hospitality is no different than an invoice for any other good or service - it is simply proof of how much you have paid and against/for what (good or service).
As soon as you check in, a folio is opened for your room. All services tendered are recorded here, but when you come to checkout - only the billable services are recorded as part of your invoice.
So, if in-room wifi or an airport shuttle is free for your room type, then these charges are still recorded in the folio, but are not part of your invoice.
They are recorded in the folio because at the end, the hotel has to balance those charges.
The question certainly is appropriate to this form and not a mere language & usage question. A hotel "folio" is what is called a term of art. This means the word has a very specific meaning/usage particular to a certain industry or field, a meaning that may be quite different from the usual meaning. In the case of a hospitality the word folio indeed does mean something quite distinct from common usage, viz. an ongoing list of charges for a guest (that will presumably form the bases of an invoice at check-out). An typical English dictionary will provide several related meanings for the word folio. None of them is the definition used in hospitality.
I happen to be translating a travel website (definitely a language issue), but their terminology is clear and maybe helpful: If you book a hotel and pay for it, you receive a bill. If you book a hotel through your company's travel portal, the company may get a bill. If they do, you will still get a folio from the hotel - showing what your company paid for.