07 - 006 Lodging

Please review Policy 07-001 Introduction to Travel for an overview of USNH travel policies. The procedures below provide more specific requirements related to Lodging.

A.   TRADITIONAL LODGING ACCOMMODATIONS

1.   Allowable lodging cost is generally based on the least expensive available rate for single occupancy in moderately-priced, safe accommodations given reasonable personal convenience. Lodging expenses are reimbursed based on actual cost. USNH uses the federal lodging per diem rate only as a standard measurement for reasonableness of accommodation costs.

2.   Lodging significantly higher (20% or more) than the federal per diem may be acceptable when

a. there is a justifiable business purpose pre-approved by the campus CFO or designee, or
b. it enables the employee to gain professional benefits due to interaction with other attendees, or
c. it results in a lower overall trip cost to USNH as a result of reduced transportation or other costs.

3.   The cost of lodging for overnight travel within 50 miles of the traveler's place of business is not an allowable cost unless the circumstances necessitating such overnight travel are fully documented with a compelling business purpose approved in writing by the department head responsible for authorizing the travel. Potential criteria for approval may include extremely late night or early morning job responsibilities or excessive travel time due to extreme traffic or weather conditions.

4.   When possible, reservations should be made as far in advance as needed to take advantage of advance purchase discounts or special conference rates.

5.   Travelers should inquire while making reservations as to the availability of exemption from state rooms tax for employees of educational institutions. A copy of USNH state exemption letters may be obtained from the USNH Purchasing Office in advance of travel if required by the hotel.

6.   When traveling to a conference, USNH assumes travelers will stay at the hosting hotel even if the rate exceeds the federal lodging per diem rate for the area. If there is a choice of hosting hotels, travelers are expected to stay at the least expensive property.

7.   The traveler should consider using a personal telephone card or personal cell phone to charge calls since this can be considerably cheaper than having the hotel bill the traveler for calls made from a hotel room.

8.   Tips to bellhops and chambermaids are reimbursable if they are reasonable (i.e., $1 or $2 per bag or night of lodging, respectively). However, these tips are not allowed if the employee is reimbursed based on the federal meals & incidental expense (M&IE) per diem rate.

9.   In-room service and/or items from an in-room service center are not reimbursable.

B.   ALTERNATIVE LODGING ACCOMMODATIONS AND CONSIDERATIONS

1.   Items to be considered before booking alternative lodging venues include:

a. Whether traditional lodging is available in reasonable proximity to the business destination
b. Length of stay
c. Comparison of cost against traditional hotel/motel venues
d. Specific dietary or accommodation requirements associated with medical conditions or disabilities, and
e. Need for meeting, team-building and/or collaboration space availability

2.   If a determination is made to choose alternative lodging accommodations, the following requirements must be followed:

a. The facility should be rented through an approved platform (AirBnB, HomeAway or VRBO) that has a host liability insurance program and 24 hour customer service.
b. Travelers should review their campus conflict of interest policy before booking any alternative lodging arrangements run/owned by a relative, friend or acquaintance to avoid any appearance of misconduct.
c. Travelers may use a USNH PCard to pay any related costs through the platform’s website. Adequate supporting documentation should be maintained and scanned for review by the Pcard Manager. See sections C and D below for documentation requirements related to lodging and meals provided by these type of facilities.
d. The facility being rented should not result in any perceived conflict of interest. For example, the property should not be owned by a relative or friend of the person renting the space.
e. Traveler(s) must have a valid business reason for the entire length of the stay.
f. The facility should have basic safety features including operational smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, multiple means of egress, and adequate lighting at a minimum.
g. The host should have a history of positive reviews with the platform on which it is advertised.
h. The facility should also have a valid business permit indicating compliance with related country/region/city and/or local regulations in order for the booking to be deemed legal.
i. Because individuals booking through these venues are assuming personal risks, all USNH travelers using such venues must be at least 18 years old.
j. Campuses may have additional requirements related to use of these venues for sponsored programs, athletics, fundraising and executive travel that require pre-approval by the campus Chief Financial Officer as well.

C.   RECEIPTS FOR LODGING

As described in Procedure 07-004 Travel Expense Reimbursement, travelers must submit original itemized receipts (legible scanned copies acceptable see section B.2 of Procedure 07-004 Travel Expense Reimbursement) to support all lodging expenses claimed.  These include the following:

1.   Hotel/lodging receipt indicating the name and location of the venue and dates of occupancy.

2.   If the traveler stayed at a place where lodging costs significantly exceed the federal lodging per diem rate, the traveler must

a. submit the agenda for the conference/meeting with accommodation cost detail, or
b. provide alternative evidence that the higher costs resulted in a lower overall trip cost to USNH because of reduced transportation or other costs, or
c. provide a justifiable business purpose pre-approved by the campus CFO or designee.

In cases where documentation is insufficient, the lodging per diem should be used for reimbursement.

3.   A credit card charge slip with no detailed breakdown of the charges is not considered an acceptable substitute for an original receipt. If detailed travel receipts are not available, the traveler must contact the hotel or alternative venue to obtain a copy of the original venue’s folio.

D.   MEAL RECEIPTS

1.   Detail for meal charges incurred at a hotel or alternative site must be shown separately on the venue’s receipts and accompanied by a list of attendees/roles, in order to be reimbursable (see Procedure 07-007 Travel Meals). Note that such amounts cannot be combined with any MI&E per diem reimbursement request.


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This page last updated Tuesday, June 25, 2019. For information on the adoption and effective dates of policies please see explanation on the OLPM Main Menu.