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Old 09-16-2012, 12:22 AM
 
6,127 posts, read 6,447,535 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rational1 View Post
SOMEBODY takes a look at the travel expenditures at the end of the year. Maybe not very carefully, but if it was me I would look at the outliers. And then ask if they were getting value for money for the company.

You do not want to look like a high-cost, low-producing employee.
This. The accountant in me is cringing reading this thread. I don't know what business the OP is in, but if they are billing the government for anything, be careful!

I don't travel for business, but earlier this summer I went to a two day training that was five hours away. I had to follow state per diem rates, which for hotels is right around $50 a night. LOL
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Old 09-16-2012, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Amelia Island
2,977 posts, read 3,960,816 times
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I travel frequently for my job and we are required to stay within the per diem rates for that city which gives us the max for food and hotel. On occasion I do upgrade my hotels but I am required to pay the difference. I am required to have a receipt for EVERYTHING.

The link below is what we are required to go by.

Per Diem Rates Look-Up
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Old 09-16-2012, 08:48 AM
 
14,260 posts, read 23,995,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBeagleLady View Post
This. The accountant in me is cringing reading this thread. I don't know what business the OP is in, but if they are billing the government for anything, be careful!

I don't travel for business, but earlier this summer I went to a two day training that was five hours away. I had to follow state per diem rates, which for hotels is right around $50 a night. LOL

In most areas, the GSA rates (the government rates) are much closer to $70-100 per night which will get you into reasonable hotel properties. In expensive cities, the rates are much higher. In many cases, with proper government IDs, hotels offer special government rates which match the GSA rates.

============================================

I review hundreds of expense reports weekly. I cannot speak for all industries but I would venture that MOST employers would take a very dim view of an employee staying at a super luxury hotel on a business trip. Does it happen OCCASIONALLY? Sure. But there had better be a legitimate purpose for choosing a certain luxury property (e.g. client's request, market conditions, and the like).

============================================

As for Hotwire/Priceline, I use them for business travel quite often as the savings are very substantial. Of course, my business travel is very predictable and I generally make the booking no more than two or three days.
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Old 09-16-2012, 10:48 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,285,699 times
Reputation: 3936
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBeagleLady View Post
This. The accountant in me is cringing reading this thread. I don't know what business the OP is in, but if they are billing the government for anything, be careful!

I don't travel for business, but earlier this summer I went to a two day training that was five hours away. I had to follow state per diem rates, which for hotels is right around $50 a night. LOL
I work for a defense company in the Valley. I work as a liaison between Research & Development and Manufacturing. My job is to basically take good ideas and turn them into a viable product. I travel and meet with various individuals and point out flaws in what they want and what is actually viable to manufacture.

So no, I don't work for any government entity and don't have to go by government per diem rates. The company I work for is pretty generous with travel arrangements.

I did actually find out the dates I'll be going in October and booked The Fairfax on Embassy Row for $260/ night. I figured the price was middle-of-the-road enough for D.C. and the location and hotel both seem excellent. I was looking online and it looks like they have a beautiful bar so I can indulge in a few drinks after meetings.
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Old 09-18-2012, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Ayrsley
4,714 posts, read 8,478,283 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M3 Mitch View Post
I agree with annerk, stick with mid priced, these hotels are quite decent anyway. When I traveled a lot for business, mostly I stayed at Marriott hotels, racked up a lot of loyalty points.
Agreed. When I used to travel all the time, I generally stuck with business class hotels like Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Courtyard, etc. Given all I usually did in my room on the road was catch up on work and sleep, I didn't need the Ritz or a nice resort (even when I did stay at such places, I never had much time to make use of the amenities anyways). Plus the full-service hotels are not only more expensive rate-wise, they are also more likely to hit you up with added fees for things like internet access, etc, unless you have a certain level of elite status.

Biggest thing is pick a chain (Hilton, Marriott, etc.) and stick with it so you can earn elite status and rack up those hotel points - I'd rather avoid the cool boutique hotels and stick to a major chain so I can keep banking those (you'll forget about missing out on the spiffy, independent hotel when you're staying in a $600/night room on a beach somewhere in the Carribean for a week for free). And if you're not required to use a company CC, get a CC tied to that hotel chain and use it to rack up points even faster.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:18 AM
 
Location: SoCal
6,069 posts, read 9,531,033 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
I work for a defense company in the Valley. I work as a liaison between Research & Development and Manufacturing. My job is to basically take good ideas and turn them into a viable product. I travel and meet with various individuals and point out flaws in what they want and what is actually viable to manufacture.

So no, I don't work for any government entity and don't have to go by government per diem rates. The company I work for is pretty generous with travel arrangements. ....
You may not work *for* any government entity, but you are doing business *with* government entities. How you conduct your business matters very much to them. (I also work for a defense contractor, and they make sure we stay aware of that.)

For that reason it's wise to avoid any possible appearance of impropriety. Luxury for luxury's sake is a red flag when someone starts investigating any sort of wrong-doing.
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Old 09-19-2012, 09:26 AM
 
35,108 posts, read 40,247,428 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
I work for a defense company in the Valley. I work as a liaison between Research & Development and Manufacturing. My job is to basically take good ideas and turn them into a viable product. I travel and meet with various individuals and point out flaws in what they want and what is actually viable to manufacture.

So no, I don't work for any government entity and don't have to go by government per diem rates. The company I work for is pretty generous with travel arrangements.

I did actually find out the dates I'll be going in October and booked The Fairfax on Embassy Row for $260/ night. I figured the price was middle-of-the-road enough for D.C. and the location and hotel both seem excellent. I was looking online and it looks like they have a beautiful bar so I can indulge in a few drinks after meetings.
Wow, 3 of those nights and my rent and utilities are paid for an entire month. When I traveled for business we could stay and the Twin Towers in Chicago IF the Holiday Inn was booked so I got to stay at the Towers one time, it was wonderful and I had a great view of the river and Michigan Avenue however, to me it was not worth the cost but we did not have time to enjoy any amenities. I was in the room from about 7 pm - 6am which is enough time to shower, dress and sleep, then back to work.
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Old 09-19-2012, 10:54 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,285,699 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oddstray View Post
You may not work *for* any government entity, but you are doing business *with* government entities. How you conduct your business matters very much to them. (I also work for a defense contractor, and they make sure we stay aware of that.)

For that reason it's wise to avoid any possible appearance of impropriety. Luxury for luxury's sake is a red flag when someone starts investigating any sort of wrong-doing.
I guess I'm not as worried about my expenses than I am about showing what my company can do and how I can work with them to implement their goals and ideas. I feel my expenses are almost a non-issue when you're talking $100 million+ contracts. I work hard, I'm very good at what I do, and I have a consistent track record of delivering under deadlines; there's a certain point where one should feel they're an asset to the company they work for and should be allowed a few perks. Traveling for business and pleasure is always a new experience and even though it's a business trip, I'm not going to scrimp on meals and lodging as I wouldn't on a leisure trip either.

Does your company have certain policies regarding business travel and expenses? I'm just curious for curiosity sake on how other government-contracted agencies deal with business expenses? Do you have a corporate credit card or like myself, do you fill out a mound of paperwork and turn in expenses when you arrive back?
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Old 09-19-2012, 11:11 PM
 
14,260 posts, read 23,995,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
I guess I'm not as worried about my expenses than I am about showing what my company can do and how I can work with them to implement their goals and ideas. I feel my expenses are almost a non-issue when you're talking $100 million+ contracts. I work hard, I'm very good at what I do, and I have a consistent track record of delivering under deadlines; there's a certain point where one should feel they're an asset to the company they work for and should be allowed a few perks. Traveling for business and pleasure is always a new experience and even though it's a business trip, I'm not going to scrimp on meals and lodging as I wouldn't on a leisure trip either.

Does your company have certain policies regarding business travel and expenses? I'm just curious for curiosity sake on how other government-contracted agencies deal with business expenses? Do you have a corporate credit card or like myself, do you fill out a mound of paperwork and turn in expenses when you arrive back?

First, there is a difference between skimping on meals and lodging and what you described in your original post. I do not expect people to do the Motel 6 fleabag and to eat at fast food. However, I also do not like to see people staying at the Ritz Carlton and dropping c-notes on dinner unless there is a LEGITIMATE business purpose. People may not tell you that your expenses are out of line but they will take note of it.

I will say that "reasonable" hotel rates are highly divergent depending on the market. For example, I expect my employees to stay at the hotel down the street where we have a $65/ night rate when they are in town. It is a great place with free breakfast. However, I authorized a $475/night room rate for a San Francisco hotel during a software conference.

========================

Most companies do have travel policies and generally hold pretty tight to them. They include:
  • Use of a corporate travel agent
  • Use of a corporate credit card for all business purchases
  • Certain preferred vendors for air, car rental, and hotel with negotiated rates.
  • Spending limits.
  • Class of travel for business travel.
Most companies require you to complete a weekly expense report that is turned in shortly after the completion of the trip. And yes, you do have to turn in receipts - all of them.


Yes, I do believe very strongly in providing a company credit card to all employees. They are expected to use the card for travel. We pay expenses 2-3 days after the expense report is approved. Employees are responsible for paying their card off.


One warning to you. I don't run up thousands in expenses on my card if the employer does NOT pay promptly. I have had friends get stuck with $5-15k in unpaid expenses when a company lets them go or suddenly shuts down.


That is probably more than you want to know.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 15,285,699 times
Reputation: 3936
Quote:
Originally Posted by jlawrence01 View Post
First, there is a difference between skimping on meals and lodging and what you described in your original post. I do not expect people to do the Motel 6 fleabag and to eat at fast food. However, I also do not like to see people staying at the Ritz Carlton and dropping c-notes on dinner unless there is a LEGITIMATE business purpose. People may not tell you that your expenses are out of line but they will take note of it.

I will say that "reasonable" hotel rates are highly divergent depending on the market. For example, I expect my employees to stay at the hotel down the street where we have a $65/ night rate when they are in town. It is a great place with free breakfast. However, I authorized a $475/night room rate for a San Francisco hotel during a software conference.

========================

Most companies do have travel policies and generally hold pretty tight to them. They include:
  • Use of a corporate travel agent
  • Use of a corporate credit card for all business purchases
  • Certain preferred vendors for air, car rental, and hotel with negotiated rates.
  • Spending limits.
  • Class of travel for business travel.
Most companies require you to complete a weekly expense report that is turned in shortly after the completion of the trip. And yes, you do have to turn in receipts - all of them.


Yes, I do believe very strongly in providing a company credit card to all employees. They are expected to use the card for travel. We pay expenses 2-3 days after the expense report is approved. Employees are responsible for paying their card off.


One warning to you. I don't run up thousands in expenses on my card if the employer does NOT pay promptly. I have had friends get stuck with $5-15k in unpaid expenses when a company lets them go or suddenly shuts down.


That is probably more than you want to know.
No, I appreciate the information. I'm new to this whole ordeal of business traveling and the information is useful.

We have a corporate travel agent, we have preferred vendors, and many people here have a corporate credit card. I'm able to use my personal credit card and simply turn in the statement at the end of the trip along with the paperwork regarding the expenses I accrued. We don't have "hard" spending limits, it's more "use reasonable judgement".

Thankfully, I've never had trouble with my employer not reimbursing me a few days after the paperwork cleared HR. The few times I have traveled for business before, my employer only took a few days to look over my expense report and promptly deposit the money into my account.

The information you provided is valuable and I appreciate it.
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