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Lodging

Lodging may be reimbursed when an individual is traveling overnight on official State business outside his/her official station;  defined as the place, office or building where the traveler performs his/her duties on a routine basis. 

The traveler should check, request and confirm government rates both at the time reservations are made and during check-in.  The State’s allowable lodging rates can be found at:  http://www.doa.virginia.gov/Admin_Services/CAPP/CAPP_Topics/20335-2013.pdf.

Contents

Expenses Must be Reasonable and Necessary
General Lodging Regulations

     • Reimbursements up to 150% of the Lodging Rate
     • Reimbursements Above the 150% of the Lodging Rate
     • Number of Persons in a Hotel Room
     • For Non-Luxury, Conference Hotel
     • Alternative LodgingAdvance Payments
Direct Agency Billing of Lodging Expenses
Reimbursement Requirements
     • Traveler Name is on the Folio
     • When Sharing a Room and Traveler's Name is not on the Folio

Expenses must be Reasonable and Necessary

The Commonwealth of Virginia will reimburse individuals traveling on official State business for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred. Travel expense accounts are open to the public and must be able to sustain the test of public review. When planning and paying for travel, economy, prudence and necessity are of primary concern. The use of State funds to accommodate personal comfort, convenience, and taste is not permitted.

It is the policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia to limit travel costs to only those expenses that are necessary for providing essential services to the Commonwealth’s citizens. Further, travelers and travel planners must seek ways to reduce the cost of travel.

General Lodging Regulations

The maximum reimbursable lodging rates listed in State Travel Regulation lodging and per-diem tables do not include taxes and surcharges.  (Note: The lodging rates are room rates–not per person rates.)  The College will reimburse a traveler for the actual amount charged by a lodging facility for the room up to the maximum rates listed for the city where the traveler spent the night, plus taxes and surcharges charged by the lodging facility.  Room rates incurred beyond these maximum rates will not be reimbursed, and taxes and surcharges will be pro-rated based on the maximum allowable rate.  There are a few exceptions:

Reimbursements up to 150% of the lodging rate

The agency head or designee appropriate to your department may approve reimbursement for lodging up to 150% of the maximum rate when circumstances warrant, in advance of travel.  A written justification for the exception must be completed in the Travel Authorization form. 

Reimbursements above the 150% of the lodging rate

If the room rate exceeds the 150%, the Travel Accounts department can ask the Director of Financial Operations for an exception.  If you want the Travel Accounts department to request an exception to exceed 150% of the State’s maximum allowed rate, you must do the following at least three weeks prior to the travel dates:

  • E-mail the Travel Accounts Manager with a clear cost justification for exceeding the 150%.
    1. Clear justification must include sufficient documentation showing alternative cost comparisons justifying the exception. The cost comparisons must include the name and complete address of the hotels–including zip code–used for the cost comparison.
    2. These requests must be reviewed and approved by the Travel Account Manager or Travel Accounts Payable department before being sent to the Director of Financial Operations for consideration.
  • The Travel Accounts Manager will let you know the Director of Financial Operations decision.
  • The Directors decision is final. 
Number of persons in a hotel room

Generally, when two or more travelers stay in the same room, the allowable lodging rate is the destination rate room rate plus the amount charged by the lodging facility for the additional person. In other words, if two travelers share a room, each is NOT allowed the maximum rate–unless approval is granted by the department designee; one traveler is allowed the maximum lodging rate plus the additional cost of the additional person.  The itemized hotel receipt must show the additional charge separately from the room charge. If the hotel bill indicates that more than one person stayed in the room, a written explanation must be provided, along with the rate difference between single and double rates or additional fee charged by the hotel.

For Non-Luxury, Conference Hotel

Two travelers may share a room, (it could be a colleague from another College).  For non-luxury conference hotels, the Director of Financial Operations (Fiscal Officer) may approve in advance lodging rates that are less than the lodging guideline applicable to the travel destination multiplied by the number of official business travelers in the room. For example, if two people share a room at a conference hotel in Baltimore, a room rate less than $296 ($148 x 2) could be approved. Please submit your request at least two weeks prior to travel to ensure approval. (Examples of luxury hotels are Ritz-Carlton, Paramount, Park Hyatt, Four Seasons.) In summary, if you are sharing the cost of a room and your room rate exceeds the allowable lodging rate on the table by more than 150% of the rate, the Director of Finance can approve a “per person” rate up to the actual rate listed on the lodging table.

Alternative Lodging

When lodging other than hotels and motels is used, e.g., apartments, houses, etc., a comparison Statement including authorization by Agency Head or Designee must be submitted with the Travel Expense Reimbursement Voucher (TERV). The comparison Statement should show the total cost for using the alternate accommodations and length of contract, the cost of the alternative accommodations, and net savings.

Advance Payments

Advance payments for direct billed hotel/motel expenses are discouraged. Use of the State-sponsored Travel Charge Card is encouraged to secure room confirmations. Actual advance payments using the travel charge card program will not be reimbursed prior to the trip. If circumstances make advance payments a necessity, advance payments are limited to one night deposit for direct bill payments.

Direct Agency Billing of Lodging Expenses

Direct agency billing of lodging expenses (rates, taxes, and surcharges only) incurred during overnight travel is permitted. Direct bill charges, however, are still considered travel expenditures and are governed by these travel policies and should be included with the estimated costs of the trip if the trip is expected to exceed $500. Documentation supporting direct bills must include the name of traveler, dates, and purpose of travel. 

Reimbursement Requirements

Traveler Name is on the Folio
Submit with the original travel voucher the original, itemized hotel bills obtained at time of checkout, and other supporting receipts for lodging expense. For hotel rooms obtained through Internet providers, the traveler must submit the “hardcopy final page from the Internet site showing total cost and confirmed services.” Any unusual charges must be fully documented.

In order to be reimbursed for lodging expenses, your hotel receipt must:

  • Show a zero balance.
  • Be an original, i.e., not a photocopy.
  • Show the room rate and taxes broken out separately and by day.

 The only exception to this would be lodging expenses using Internet Purchases. If a payment for lodging is made through the Internet, print a copy of the receipt for the electronic purchase showing the total costs and confirmed services.

When Sharing a Room and Traveler’s Name is Not on the Folio
Submit with the original travel voucher the original, itemized hotel bills obtained at time of checkout, and other supporting receipts for lodging expense.  When sharing a room, each traveler will ONLY receive reimbursement for their portion of the expenditure.

 In order to be reimbursed for lodging expenses, your hotel receipt must:

  • Show a zero balance.
  • A photocopy of folio is acceptable if your name is not on the folio.
  • Show the room rate and taxes broken out separately and by day.
  • If you paid your traveler companion directly for your portion of the charges; you will need to provide proof of payment in order to receive reimbursement.  That could be back and front of cashed check; email from traveler acknowledging payment received.  Additionally, provide documentation that details the room arrangement.