1501.6 - Procedure on Lodging Accommodations

Introduction

Purpose

This procedure ensures compliance with State of North Carolina travel regulations as defined by the legislature and communicates current rates as set by the US General Services Administration (GSA), US Department of State, and Department of Defense (DoD), as applicable.

Scope

This procedure applies to all employees (faculty, staff, employed students, and senior University administrators) and non-employees (non-employed students, independent contractors and University affiliates).

Procedure

University faculty, staff, students, affiliates and independent contractors are encouraged to procure commercial lodging reservations through the University travel program. The University travel program includes the Concur Travel booking tool, World Travel, Inc., and Anthony Travel for Athletics bookings. Exceptions are allowable when the traveler is attending an event which provides them access to negotiated lodging rates not available through the University travel program. Third-Party Lodging may be approved if the traveler can provide documented evidence of savings to the University and/or use of the third-party lodging is deemed justifiably necessary.

Travelers may be reimbursed for lodging expenses incurred while in travel status on University business. For the purposes of determining eligibility for lodging reimbursement, travel status means:

  • being at least 35 miles from the employee's normal duty station or home and,
  • while traveling, the employee must be acting in their official capacity as required by their work activities.

Lodging

Effective for travel beginning March 1, 2023, the University will now utilize the lodging per diem rates set by the US General Services Administration (GSA), US Department of State, and Department of Defense as applicable. Travelers should secure lodging no more than 50% higher than the lodging rate set for their destination and dates of travel. Lodging rates only apply to the nightly room rate charged by the lodging establishment and do not include taxes and fees.

When traveling within the Continental United States (CONUS), travelers will use the per diem rates set by the US General Services Administration (GSA). Daily lodging rates (excluding taxes) are updated annually, effective October 1 of each year. Rates may vary by month depending on the seasonality of the market.

When traveling to Hawaii, Alaska, US Territories, and Possessions, travelers will use the per diem rates set by the Department of Defense. Maximum lodging rates are updated annually or as needed; rates may vary by season.

When traveling internationally, travelers will use the Foreign per diem rates set by the US Department of State. Maximum lodging rates are established monthly by location.

Reimbursement for lodging may be made only in the amount documented by an itemized receipt of actual lodging expenses from a commercial lodging establishment.

Excess Lodging Expenses

Excess lodging expenses must be justified if hotel rate is more than 50% higher than the lodging rates detailed above. If those rates are exceeded, the traveler will be required to detail the reason for excess lodging. Allowable reasons include, but are not limited to:

  • Lodging was secured at the negotiated rate established for the event (i.e. conference hotel rate)
  • Area costs have escalated due to special events (i.e. major sporting events, large conferences, etc.)
  • Cost of excess lodging is less than the cost of lower cost lodging plus transportation costs
  • Traveler or University determines that lower cost lodging would put the traveler at risk for safety or security.

Excess lodging is not allowed for reasons of convenience or personal preference of the traveler. Employee justifications for Excess Lodging will be provided during the Expense Report process in Concur. Travelers submitting for reimbursement via Web Travel or Campus Voucher must complete and provide Form 1501.6.3f - Excess Lodging Justification with the reimbursement request.

Third-Party Lodging

Third-Party Lodging refers to establishments that are being rented out by a third party (e.g. Airbnb, VRBO, etc.) or an establishment treated as an apartment building by state or local law. Requests for all types of Third-Party Lodging must provide suitable evidence of savings to the University.

Each traveler must provide a completed Finance Form 1501.6.1f - Non-Hotel Lodging Authorization Request to Travel Services for review and approval prior to signing a lease agreement. Comparison rates for at least 2 hotels must be submitted with the form to document the savings. Any requests that do not show a savings must provide sufficient justification to support the necessity for Third-Party Lodging.

The form and accompanying email approval must be provided with the expense report/reimbursement request along with the supporting receipt (signed lease agreement or an itemized invoice).

Lease agreements with family members are prohibited.

Special Situations: Group Travel

University Group Travel is defined as pre-approved travel arranged by the University for three or more individuals to accomplish a specific common University purpose. University Group Travel may be:

  • paid for in full or in part, directly or indirectly by the University;
  • organized by the University with participants or sponsors paying;
  • organized by others and paid for by the University; and/or
  • supported by the University in the form of organization, management, staffing, transportation, or space provision.

University Group Travel may include arrangements for transportation and lodging. University Group Travel must be conducted in full compliance with University Travel Policies.

Multiple travelers attending the same event may not always fall under the definition of Group Travel. When this occurs, it is necessary for each traveler to submit their reimbursement requests separately (for expenses for meals, lodgings, tips, and transportation by public carrier). However, when multiple travelers use the same personal or State car, only one traveler should report the cost of operating the car.

Reimbursement to an Employee sharing a room with another Employee will be limited to one-half of the occupancy rate if both claim expense for the room, otherwise, one Employee may request the full occupancy rate for the room they shared. If an Employee purchased rooms for a group of University travelers, a list of traveler's names and status (i.e. volunteer, student, Faculty/Staff) must be attached to the Expense Report in Concur. If an Employee submits Finance Form 1501.6.2f - Group Travel Request Form to pay for lodging expenses on a Travel & Expense Card or P-Card, this form must be attached to the Expense Report in Concur or to the P-Card transaction in Bank of America Works.

Reimbursement to an Employee sharing a room with a non-University traveler(s) will be limited to the single occupancy rate.

Forms and Instructions

Definitions

Please refer to Finance Policy 1501 on Business Travel for a list of common definitions.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Contact Information

Subject: Travel Policy

  • Contact: Travel Services
  • Telephone: 919-962-0210
  • Email: travel_team@unc.edu

Subject: Concur

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Details

Article ID: 131468
Created
Thu 4/8/21 9:09 PM
Modified
Mon 2/26/24 1:58 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
03/01/2023 12:00 AM
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Travel and Payment Card Services Manager
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
03/01/2023 12:00 AM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
03/01/2023 12:00 AM
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
01/03/2024 12:00 AM
Origination
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
08/02/2019 12:00 AM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Finance and Budget