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?

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about english language and usage – Dirty-flow Nov 19 '14 at 12:54
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    I don't think its off topic. I was asking about hotel terminology and if there are difference between those 2. Apparently they are different based on answers below. – Reynaldi Nov 19 '14 at 13:23
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    It's not appropriate to EL&U, because it is asking about the usage of the words specific to the hospitality industry domain; EL&U is for questions about the English language of interest to linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. – choster Nov 20 '14 at 17:24
  • yes great , i understood that folio is the soft ware where the services are ongoing charging,, and when we want to check out we print it as an invoice . so that invoice is the final bill ,, but folio is something to post the services charges and payment in until the check out time. – mohamed ali Dec 9 '17 at 14:17

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:

  1. Guest
  2. Staff
  3. Master (assigned for group accounts; for example a tour group consisting of multiple guests)
  4. 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.

  • So basically invoice is just a print-out that has all the information in the folio except for the non-billable services? – Reynaldi Nov 19 '14 at 13:32
  • well it also includes your payment option, how much you paid using what method and it serves as a record of your stay (for example, if you need to file stuff for a business trip for tax or reimbursement, the invoice is used). The folio is almost never shared with the guest. – Burhan Khalid Nov 19 '14 at 13:42
  • I got it now. Thanks alot for the explanation. – Reynaldi Nov 19 '14 at 13:56
  • I have late question about folio. You said that folio will be opened when guest checked in. But what if guest makes deposit to a reservation before he/she checks in? Does the deposit goes to a folio? – Reynaldi Jun 24 '15 at 1:29

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.

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    Rather than spend all your breath on emphasizing how hotel-spefic the meaning of "folio" is, you should consider reformatting your answer so the part that actually answers the question is not hidden in the middle of that rant. – hmakholm left over Monica Nov 4 '15 at 20:12

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.

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    So a folio is a kind of receipt acknowledging the bill is paid by a third party? – Calchas Dec 12 '15 at 7:31

Folio is the hotels record of your stay's finances and an invoice is your bill for that stay.

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