Business/Traveler Circulation Guide—U.S. Newspapers

  1. Introduction
  2. Group Circulation
  3. Hotel Copies - Guest Refund Based
  4. Hotel Copies - Purchased by Hotels
  5. For the Audit

Introduction

This guide explains the rules and guidelines governing circulation classified as Business/Traveler on AAM documents.

This guide is not intended to be all-inclusive, but provides general definitions and guidance for this classification.

It is the publishers’ responsibility to ensure their business/traveler circulation programs are executed in compliance with all AAM rules and guidelines. Upon request, AAM’s Publisher Relations department provides a confidential review of members’ programs. To take advantage of this review or if you are developing an initiative that is not addressed in this guide, please contact your Publisher Relations manager.


AAM reports for U.S. newspapers will include a classification of paid circulation labeled Business/Traveler. See Rule C 3.4 Business Traveler Copies.

Definition

Business/traveler is a paid circulation category that encompasses copies distributed in hotels, and either paid for by guests, or paid for by the hotel for its guests. This circulation category also includes copies that are paid for by a business for its employees. This category is referred to in AAM rules as “group” circulation. The business employee copies must be name or title specific.

Types of Business/Traveler Circulation

There are three subcategories of business/traveler circulation:

  • Group – Copies purchased by businesses for designated employees
  • Hotel Copies – Purchased by guests via refund
  • Hotel Copies – Purchased by hotels

Financial Transactions

As this is a paid category of circulation, all copies must be paid for at a qualifying amount, which is at least one cent per copy or subscription, net of all considerations.

Group Circulation

Definition

Group circulation represents copies purchased in quantities of two or more by a company intended for specifically designated employees (known by name and/or title).

Qualification Requirements – Group

In order to qualify these copies for inclusion in the business/traveler paid circulation category, the program must be executed in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • The employer must pay at least one cent, net of considerations, for each subscription or single copy.
  • The copies may be for employees based from headquarters, subsidiaries, or branches of the company.
  • The copies must be individually identified with the name or title of the employee, or the company must maintain a list of all the designated employee recipients (by name or title) and make it available to the AAM auditor upon request.

Digital editions served to employers for designated employees are eligible for inclusion on AAM documents, provided the above qualification requirements are met and the employer requests digital delivery.

 

Hotel Copies - Guest Refund Based

Definition

Guest-refund based hotel copies represent newspapers included with the guest’s room charge, and where a refund is offered if the guest wishes to decline the newspaper.

Qualification Requirements

In order to qualify these copies for inclusion in the business/traveler paid circulation category, the program must be executed in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • The hotel guest must receive notification at check-in that a newspaper is included with the room charge and may be declined for a refund or credit.
    • This notification must occur on either the registration form, the key cardholder, or a sticker affixed to the top of each day's newspaper.
    • Examples are available on AAM’s website.
    • A sign, poster or tent card at the front desk or in the room isn't sufficient notification.
  • The notification must inform the guest how to decline the newspaper and state the amount of the refund or credit if it is declined.
    • The guest refund instructions must be clear and simple.
    • The refund amount must be at least one cent, net of all considerations.
  • The newspaper must be delivered to the guest’s room.
  • The delivered newspaper must be the current issue.
  • Copies declined and refunded are considered returns and must be excluded from paid circulation.

Digital editions served to hotels are not eligible for inclusion as paid circulation on AAM documents. If you are considering a paid, digital hotel program, please contact your Publisher Relations manager to discuss.

 

Hotel Copies - Purchased by Hotels

Definition

Copies purchased by hotels and distributed free to guests as complimentary amenities are include in the hotel copies – purchased by hotels category. These copies are free to the guests, but have been purchased by the hotel for at least one cent per copy, net of all considerations. These newspapers are available for guest use in public areas of the hotel, or delivered to guest rooms.

Note: If the hotel intends to resell these copies in its gift shops, these are subject to the requirements and classification rules of individually paid, single-copy sales.

Qualification Requirements

In order to qualify these copies for inclusion in the business/traveler paid circulation category, the program must be executed in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • The hotel must order the copies.
  • All copies ordered must be available for pick up by guests – distributed on-site to its guest rooms or in common areas (such as lobby, restaurants, meetings rooms, etc.).
  • The hotel must pay at least one cent, per copy or subscription, net of all considerations.
  • The hotel must be invoiced for the copies on a regular billing cycle.
  • Copies distributed must be the current issue.

Note: Copies distributed at the hotel, but ordered or paid for by a third party aren’t eligible for inclusion as business/traveler circulation. Copies requested by and distributed at a hotel that are non-paid or paid for by a third party may be eligible for classification as verified - retail/business.

Digital editions served to hotels are not eligible for inclusion as paid circulation on AAM documents. If you are considering a paid, digital hotel program, please contact your Publisher Relations manager to discuss.

For the Audit

For circulation claimed as business/traveler on AAM reports, a newspaper must maintain the following documentation:

  • Order
  • Payment
  • Delivery
  • Compliance with all other program requirements

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • For copies purchased by businesses for designated employees:
    • Copies of invoices between the business and the newspaper
    • Payment of invoices by the business
    • List of employees receiving the newspaper
  • For copies purchased by the hotel for guests:
    • Draw/returns (leftovers)
    • Copies of invoices between the hotel and the newspaper
    • Payment of invoices by the hotel
    • Name and contact information of hotel employee/manager responsible for managing the execution of the program.
  • For copies purchased by guests with refund:
    • Example of registration notification (registration form, key card holder or sticker on newspaper)

During the course of the audit, the auditor will determine the level of review necessary for business/traveler programs. Audit procedures will be employed as deemed appropriate by the auditor and audit management.

As a reminder, copies claimed as paid on Publisher’s Statements that are not supported by payment at the time of the audit are excluded from paid circulation on the Audit Report.

It is the publisher’s responsibility to ensure that business/traveler programs are executed in compliance with all AAM rules and guidelines. Upon request, AAM’s Publisher Relations department provides a confidential review of members’ programs. To take advantage of this complimentary review, or if you are developing an initiative that is not addressed in this guide, please contact your Publisher Relations Manager.

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