I have stayed on official business in hotel accommodations in three countries, and I believe the perdiem amounts are too generous by at least 5-10%. Safe accommodations and food do not necessarily have to cost five-star prices. Many hotels, knowing the government rate, charge right up to the maximum. Per diems should be reviewed more frequently, and the process should be examined.
Having staff go on details and paying for their flight, per diem, and loding when the work could be shipped to them at a fraction of the cost. Ship their work to them and have them do details at their duty station if possible to save on costs.
Some agencies do not request the actual cost of lodging and pay federal employees that travel the lodging per diem. Federal employees travelling to large cities often find loding under per diem, but have no way of reporting it so the government pays the full per diem when we could be saving thousands by paying the actual cost of lodging up to GSA per diem rates.
There should be a system in place to split the savings between both the traveler and government. 50/50 would suffice, but this could be adjusted. Using the above... more »
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Encourage employees to choose the lowest hotel rate below the Per Diem by giving them 10% of the amount below the Per Diem. Example, if the Per Diem is $200 and the final hotel bill is $100, the traveler would receive 10% of the amount below the Per Diem - $10.
There is currently no incentive for an employee to stay at less expensive hotels. I propose that if an employee books a hotel that is less than the maximum allowable per diem, then the employee and the government share the savings. For example, if maximum Per Diem for San Diego is $150 a night, and the employee books a $60/night hotel, the employee is paid half of the difference ($45), and the government saves $45.
If hotel room actual expense is cheaper to book outside the government rate, incorporate that into the DTS options when creating an authorization. Often times the per diem rate is higher than the cheapest rate offered.