by Oliver Smith, The Daily Telegraph, October 19, 2017
Even in a world overwhelmed by cringe-inducing jargon, trendy acronyms and PR guff, where “moobs”, “YOLO”, and “hangry” are recognised by the Oxford English Dictionary, the travel industry stands out from the crowd as an unrivalled purveyor of extraordinary nonsense.
After all, it lumbered us with “glamping”, the “digital detox”, “voluntouring” and “minimoons” – all words that can only be spoken with a grimace.
It’s not just hip new companies spewing this tripe; the old establishment are at it too. Among the newest additions to the creaking cupboard of holiday buzzwords is “spatisserie”, utilised by The Dorchester, which really ought to know better. This awful portmanteau describes a “uniquely named” and “luxurious yet informal” dining space attached to its spa, which serves “opulent” and “elegant” tea and cake. I’ve not yet had a cup of tea and a slice of Victoria sponge that warranted such adjectives, but I live in hope.
“Unique” is another word beloved in the travel industry – and almost always used erroneously. The good folk at The Dorchester will be distraught to learn that “uniquely named” spatisseries can also be found at the Culloden Estate and Spa in Northern Ireland and Boringdon Hall in Dartmoor.
This week we were also introduced to the “Bleisure traveller”, a dreadful mashing of the words “business” and “leisure” which describes people who do a bit of sightseeing during a work trip. It’s a new trend apparently. What utter twaddle.
Another relatively recent arrival was “flocation”, used by a firm offering boating holidays (surely “bolidays”?) to describe a domestic break (otherwise known as a “staycation” or “holistay”) on water. Presumably some of these involve floating hotels (which we’ve been pained to hear called both “floatels” and “boatels”).
Why must these perfectly adequate descriptions be shortened to something so tragic? Are we too bereft of time to speak in proper sentences? Even the single word “luxury” (which in itself has lost all meaning – even caravans have been given this adjective) has been shortened to the disgracefully lazy “luxe”.
Who’s to blame for this trend? To what address must the angry correspondence be directed? PR gibberish is nothing new, but the tendency to replace sensible English words with pigswill really went into overdrive after “staycation” first reared its ugly head. That was in 2009, when the global financial crisis and the weak pound made overseas holidays less affordable. The first recorded use of the word, however, has been attributed by Merriam-Webster researchers to a 1944 article in the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Take a Stay-cation instead of a Va-cation, this year,” it suggested. A strongly-worded letter is now on its way to Ohio.
It would be another 65 years before “staycation” really entered the global lexicon, helped by tourist boards and newspapers across the planet, and hot on its heels came all manner of copycats. Daycation (a three-syllable description for a one-day holiday, ingeniously replacing the two-syllable “day trip”). Neighcation (riding horses). Weighcation (shedding timber). And more besides. Below is our list of banished travel buzzwords. If you find Telegraph Travel using them in anything but an ironic sense, feel free to direct that angry correspondence to us.
- Staycation - domestic holiday
- Holistay - ditto
- Neighcation - horse-riding holiday
- Daycation - a one-day holiday
- Weighcation - dieting holiday
- Gaycation - for LGBT holidaymakers
- Mancation - think paintballing, tequila tasting and tickets to the F1
- Brocation - same thing
- Traincation - rail holidays
- Spacation - spas in Britain
- Dogcation - holidays with Fido
- Momcation - er...
- Floatel - a hotel on water
- Flocation - a holiday on water
- Bleisure - going to a museum after your big business conference
- Bizcation - as above
- Voluntourism - combining a holiday with charity work
- Glamping - roughing it with little Hugo in a teepee
- Babymoon - a holiday when you're ready to pop
- Minimoon - the shorter of two honeymoons
- Early-moon - a pre-wedding holiday
- Buddymoon - why not take your mates along?
- Weddingmoon - a wedding and honeymoon wrapped into one
- Spatisserie - a restaurant in a spa
- Wellness - just an awful word
- Intuitive medical - this will be replacing "wellness" soon, we're told
- Spafari - safaris combined with "wellness"
- Doga - yoga with Fido
- Cinetourism - visiting a destination associated with a film. A slum tour of Mumbai, for example, or "Hobbiton", in New Zealand
- Jetiquette - how to behave on a flight
- Flightseeing - viewing an attraction, the Grand Canyon, for example, from an aircraft
- Digital detox - a holiday without your mobile, tablet or laptop
- Twixmas - a short break between Christmas and New Year
- Brokepacking - backpacking on a budget (wasn't that the point of backpacking?)