312 Lodging Policy

UW-Madison Administrative Policy
Policy # 312

Effective Date: October 1, 2015
Last Updated: July 17, 2019
Last Reviewed: July 1, 2019
Next Review: Jan 1, 2020

Functional Owner: Associate Vice Chancellor, Division of Business Services, Dan Langer
Executive Sponsor: Associate Vice Chancellor, Division of Business Services, Dan Langer
Policy Contact: Travelers and departmental staff should contact their respective Divisional Business Office for policy questions.  Divisional Business Offices may contact uwtravel@bussvc.wisc.edu with questions.

Policy Summary

The University will pay or reimburse actual lodging costs, within the stated maximum rates for the location, when a business trip requires an overnight stay. Lodging payment/reimbursement is limited to the maximum single/standard room rate. The University will not pay lodging costs when travelers are within 50 miles of their home or headquarter city unless the travel is for a multi-day event with an evening business related activity that makes returning to the employee’s home impractical.

Note: Sponsored projects (e.g., fund 144 or 133) are subject to the terms and conditions of the specific award, as well as applicable program guidelines, which may restrict use of funds for certain types of expenses. Please contact the RSP accountant for your award with any questions.

Who This Policy Applies To

Faculty, staff, students and non-employees traveling or using funds and/or resources administered by the University.


The University has a managed travel program. The travel policy is designed to ensure prudent usage of University resources while minimizing the administrative burden for travelers and support staff.

Policy Detail

I. Booking Methods. Travelers and travel arrangers are expected to research rates and reserve lodging using Concur or Fox World Travel to take advantage of potential cost savings. The University has contracts with various lodging suppliers in top travel destinations, including Wisconsin. UW contract rates, which provide opportunities for lodging savings, are only offered within Concur or directly with Fox World Travel agents.  If more cost effective rates are available outside of Concur/Fox World Travel, travelers and travel arrangers may reserve lodging directly with a lodging property or, for external conference reservations, with a conference service/site. Use of internet based lodging brokers or third party sites (e.g. Expedia, Hotels.com, Kayak, Priceline, Hotwire) is prohibited.  See Procedure 312.1 – Making a Lodging Reservation (or Obtaining a Cost Comparison) through Concur or Fox World Travel.

II. Lodging Maximums. Actual lodging expenses are payable/reimbursable up to the maximum nightly rate for that date and location.  See Procedure 312.2 – Determining a Lodging Maximum.  If lodging cannot be found within an allowable maximum, travelers/traveler arrangers may select a lodging option which meets the business need and exceeds the allowable maximum, provided a cost comparison from Concur is included with the payment mechanism.

III. Payment Methods. The recommended payment methods for lodging are Purchasing Cards or My Corporate Cards.  Group lodging or extended lodging may require a purchase order with payment by check or wire.

IV. Room Deposits or Guarantees. The University will not pre-pay/reimburse for lodging costs; however, payment/reimbursement for the first night’s stay, if required as a deposit or guarantee, is allowable. If the trip does not occur, the traveler is required to attempt to obtain a refund for the amount of the deposit from the lodging facility. If unsuccessful, the University will reimburse the employee for the deposit with approval from the Divisional Business Office.

Note: Group reservation deposits or guarantees are contingent upon contractual requirements of the lodging establishment and will be prepaid as required by the contract.

V. Conference/Event Lodging. Travelers attending conferences or other business events not organized by the University may exceed the lodging rate for the location if staying at the conference site or another hotel recommended by the conference organizer. If the conference or event organizer offers a choice in lodging properties, travelers should select the least costly option that meets the business needs.  Reimbursements/payments must be supported by documentation (e.g. conference brochure) that verifies the location of the event. Travelers staying at non-conference hotels are limited to lodging maximums within the location rate. When lodging is required for a University of Wisconsin sponsored conference, meeting or event, lodging will be reserved at no more than the maximum rate for the location.

VI. Shared Lodging. When sharing a room with another University business traveler, the expense of a double occupancy room may be incurred, but may not exceed the total cost of a single standard room rate for the location for each business traveler.

VII. Unlicensed Facilities. Lodging at unlicensed facilities (e.g. Airbnb, VRBO) is prohibited.

VIII. Campgrounds. Campground fees are payable/reimbursable when hotel facilities are unavailable or when the use of a campground is required to meet the business need. Payment /reimbursement for campground use must be supported by a receipt.

IX. Lodging Provided In-Kind. The University will not pay or reimburse any lodging that is furnished in-kind or at no cost, including electing to stay with family or friends during business travel.

X. Terms and Conditions: Travelers are responsible for complying with a lodging facility’s terms and conditions (e.g. cancellation policies, check-in/out hours). The University will not pay/reimburse for charges incurred due to non-compliance with the facility’s terms and conditions.

XI. Extended Lodging. Employees are expected to find lodging at reasonable weekly/monthly rates if the University requires they remain in travel status for an extended period of time (30 days or longer). Affordable options may include leasing residential space (e.g. apartments, condos) through a property management company or rental service or utilizing an extended stay hotel. Travelers must ensure appropriate insurance is available. The cost of necessary utilities (e.g. heat, electricity) is reimbursable when leasing accommodations. Required security deposits are the financial responsibility of the traveler and will not be paid or reimbursed with University funds.  Payment/reimbursement of lodging for travelers on extended leave (e.g. leave with/without pay, sabbatical, research) is not guaranteed. Approval must be obtained from the division level or higher prior to incurring lodging expenses.

XII. Documentation Requirements. The following are required to support a lodging claim/payment:

  • An itemized receipt from the lodging facility that contains the following:
    • Name and address of lodging facility
    • Name(s) of traveler(s) in room
    • Dates of stay
    • Number of people per room
    • Daily room rate
    • Room type
    • Taxes and other fees for each day of stay
    • Itemization of other costs (e.g. parking, internet, room service)
    • Proof of payment (e.g. zero-balance hotel folio)
  • Conference brochure (if exceeding the location maximum to stay at conference site)
  • Cost comparison from Concur (if exceeding the location maximum due to limited availability of rooms)

Consequences for Noncompliance

The University will not pay or reimburse for any lodging cost that is non-compliant with this policy.  Failure to comply with UW-Madison Travel Policy or Procedures may result in disciplinary steps, up to and including dismissal.

Supporting Tools

UW TravelWIse

Lodging & Per Diem Calculator

Concur Travel Booking Tool

University Contract Lodging Directory


  1. Fox World Travel – the University-approved travel agency.
  2. Concur – online travel booking tool approved for use by UW-System and customized for the University by Fox World Travel.
  3. Lodging Maximum: The highest amount the University will pay or reimburse per night of lodging in relation to overnight business travel.
  4. Most Preferred Hotels: Hotel properties in which a contract exists between the hotel and the University of Wisconsin System. Use of these properties is preferred, but not required.
  5. Lodging & Per Diem Calculator: A tool developed by UW System Administration and Fox World Travel used to calculate lodging maximums and per diem allowances for specific travel locations and dates.


Traveler/Travel Arranger –

  • Understand and comply with University travel procurement and payment policies.
  • Review allowable maximums prior to making lodging reservations.
  • Retain all required receipts to be submitted with payment mechanism (e.g. Purchasing Card Statement, expense reimbursement claim).

Related guide

Related Procedures

Related Policies


Policy Number: 312
Date Approved
Revision Dates