For the first time in three years, the U.S. General Services Administration has raised the standard lodging per diem rates for federal government employees—but conference allowances have been eliminated.
For fiscal year 2014, which starts October 1, 2013, the standard per diem for a hotel room is $83 per night, up from $77, where it had been since 2010.
The American Hotel and Lodging Association applauded the increase. “The FY 2014 per diem rates released today by GSA are welcome news for government travelers who stay in hotels while traveling on government business,” said Katherine Lugar, AH&LA president and CEO. “These rates, which are calculated to reflect actual market room rates, are a key component of an efficient federal travel policy. The methodology used to establish the rates released today ensures that federal travelers will be able to find hotel rooms at a good value to the federal government.” The per diem rates are compiled based on market data provided by Smith Travel Research. According to GSA officials, the per diems are five percent below the average daily room rate for the market.
However, the GSA did eliminate the Conference Lodging Allowance for fiscal year 2014, stated Anne Rung, associate administrator of government-wide policy and chief acquisitions officer at GSA in a blog post. The Conference Lodging Allowance permitted federal employees to spend 25 percent over the per diem when traveling for conferences. This move will save the federal government $10 million next year.
The standard per diem rate applies to areas where per diems aren’t specified. Most major cities and destinations have per diems based on the local market and the time of the year. In Boston, for example, the per diem is $221 (during September and October), $158 (November–February), $201 (March–June), and $183 (July and August) for FY 2013. Next year, the per diems go up to $237, $170, $229, and $207, respectively.
In Washington, D.C., per diem rates will decline slightly in the fall and summer in FY 2014. Currently, the per diems are $226 (September and October), $183 (November–February), $224 (March-June), and $169 (July and August). In FY 2014, they will be $219, $184, $224, and $167, respectively.
Go to the GSA Web site for all of the per diem rates.