Planning Your Trip
Travelers will cover the additional expenses personally if the trip is not planned with careful consideration of the travel guidelines. In such cases, taxes and surcharges will be prorated and reimbursed only for the allowable rate.
Lodging may be reimbursed when an individual is traveling overnight on official business outside their official station.
- Travelers cannot be reimbursed until after the trip has taken place.
- Supporting receipts and (zero-balance) itemized hotel bills must be submitted with the reimbursement request. The itemized hotel bill must show: that payment was made, the method of payment, the last 4 digits of the charge card number.
- Any unusual charges must be fully explained in the comments section of the automated Expense Report.
- Lodging charges may be listed daily on the Expense Report and CANNOT be summarized.
- Original receipts must be centrally maintained in a department file.
FINDING THE BEST RATE
- Lodging expenses vary depending on the location, but all expenditures must be necessary and reasonable. First preference shall be given to selecting lodging in the economy class.
- Travelers may use Cruise Ventures, Inc. (CI Travel) or any other travel agency, or use the GSA CONUS and OCONUS per diems to identify lodging establishments offering rates within the current guidelines when making travel arrangements.
- REMEMBER: Out of Country/International Travel requires preapproval.
- The appropriate lodging rate is determined by the physical location of the hotel, NOT the mailing address. If the physical address of the hotel is not a city shown on the lodging guidelines chart, but the hotel is located within an allowable city or county, the traveler is responsible for providing documentation that the hotel is located in the city/county.
- Meal and lodging per diem rates
- Government rates must be requested by all travelers and confirmed at the time the reservations are made and during check-in.
- When making hotel reservations using your Corporate Travel Card, you must ask the hotel not to charge your card for a one-night deposit, if your travel is scheduled far in the future. Instead of charging the card, ask the hotel to bill the University directly. If a payment is required immediately, prepare a prepayment purchase order for the one-night deposit.
- Guaranteed Hotel Reservations - Hotel industry practice has changed and many hotels are charging credit cards a one-night deposit at the time the reservation is made.
- Since hotels charge for non-cancelled reservations, changes in travel plans must be communicated to the hotel or travel agent, if applicable.
- Cancellation charges will not be reimbursed if the traveler has been negligent in canceling reservations.
SPRINGHILL SUITES (on Hampton Blvd.)
- SpringHill Suites - (located on Hampton Boulevard) has agreed to offer a lodging rate of $89 per night for Old Dominion University guests.
- In addition to the cost of nightly lodging, there will be an additional Guest Amenities Surcharge of $25 per room/day and the appropriate taxes, which is permissible under Commonwealth guidelines. This rate is only available to guests of the University who are not Government employees and have their charges billed directly to a University budget. The Guest Amenities Surcharge is waived for Government employees, but these charges may not be billed to the University.
- University employees are bound by the Commonwealth guidelines but are not required to obtain pre-approval for overnight travel in the United States. University employees are only required to submit a Pre-approval Request in Chrome River to obtain authorization to travel to international destinations. Travel guidelines established by the University departments may require pre-approval for other trips.
- An Expense Report must be submitted in Chrome River with supporting documentation to request reimbursement after the travel has been completed.
DWELLINGS OTHER THAN HOTELS/MOTELS (ie: AirBnB, Apartments, etc.)
- When lodging in dwellings other than hotels or motels, a comparison statement, including authorization by the University President or his designee must be submitted with the Expense Report. The comparison statement should show the total cost for using the alternate accommodation, length of contract, the cost of the usual accommodations and the net savings, e.g. Apartments.
- Reimbursement for the use of AirBnB or similar lodging alternatives for official business travel is not permitted.
TWO OR MORE EMPLOYEES TRAVELING TOGETHER
When two or more people traveling on official state business stay in the same hotel room, the lodging rate applicable for the hotel location plus the cost charged by the hotel for any additional persons in the room will apply. Documentation from the hotel listing additional hotel charges for each additional person, per room, must be provided. This regulation is not intended to discourage agencies from employing cost savings measures such as multiple travelers lodging in the same room. However, do not diminish the overall savings that might otherwise be obtained by concurrently upgrading to luxury or premium accommodations.
If the actual hotel rate exceeds the allowable guidelines, the Budget Unit Director's (BUD) approval of the Expense Report will authorize reimbursement of the excess lodging up to 100% above the guidelines after the trip is completed. The Assistant Vice President for Finance/University Controller will review the excess lodging justification, if the hotel rate is more than 100% above the allowable guidelines.
The traveler is responsible for obtaining the single rate and the costs for additional persons in the room. This documentation must be attached to the Expense Report when submitted. If this amount exceeds the allowable guidelines, justification for the excess lodging rate must be recorded in the Comments section of the Expense Report. Justification for Excess Lodging conference hotel no other hotel rooms available within reasonable distance conference hotel booked Other (provide explanation) When the Expense Report is submitted in Chrome River, it will automatically be routed to the BUD and the Assistant Vice President for Finance/University Controller for excess lodging approval, as required.
- Advance Payments - Advance payments for direct billed hotel/motel expenses are discouraged. Use of the 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, the traveler may request a direct billing from the vendor, and the University may process a payment before the trip to prepay costs for one night of lodging to cover the hotel deposit.
- Direct billing - 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 applicable. A copy of the PreApproval request should be included with the vendor payment for international travel only. Documentation supporting direct bills must include: name of traveler, dates, purpose of travel, and the Pre-Approval request number, if applicable. Direct agency billing must be supported by a purchase order, or may be submitted on an Authorization for Purchase form if paying a government agency or if less than $500. Those employees who do not have the Corporate Travel Card should generally use this process.
- Direct agency billing of meal expenses incurred during overnight travel, including charging meals to direct-billed hotel rooms, is not permitted.
Excess Lodging Costs Up To 100% Above Guidelines
Budget Unit Directors are responsible for ensuring travelers understand their responsibilities for making a good faith effort to secure lodging within the published guidelines before requesting exceptions.
For all official State business-related travel, the Budget Unit Director (BUD) or the Assistant Vice President for Finance/University Controller may approve reimbursement for lodging up to 100% over the guidelines when circumstances warrant. Excess lodging rates will be approved after the trip is completed when the Budget Unit Director approves the Expense Report.
The appropriate pre-approval must be completed in advance and attached to the Expense Report in all instances for approval for excessive lodging when traveling out of the country.
Excess Lodging Costs Exceeding 100% Above Guidelines
Only the Commonwealth of Virginia Comptroller's designee (Director of General Accounting) may grant exceptions for expenses exceeding 100% over the guidelines. Requests for expenses exceeding 100% over the guidelines must be reviewed, evaluated, and approved by the Office of Finance prior to sending it to DOA. The Office of Finance is responsible for sending these requests to DOA.
Such approvals must be requested and granted prior to the travel, and the approved request must be attached to the reimbursement request.
Requests for such exceptions must include sufficient documentation showing alternative cost comparisons that justify the exception. The cost comparison must include the name and complete address of the hotels, including zip code, used for the cost comparison. Failure to attach this cost comparison will result in a delay in processing.