Government Connections - Winter 2010 - (Page 29)

The Per Diem Pendulum By Charles Sadler, CGMP, CHSP, CHSC THE GENERAL SERVICES How GSA got to these numbers is lot more simple to understand Administration (GSA) has than the actual outcome. GSA has turned to Star Global, which proreleased its new per diem rates, which became effective October 1. Per duces the STAR Report. The STAR (Smith Travel Accommodations diem is the allowance provided to government employees for lodging Report) Report is the benchmarking tool which is used by the (excluding taxes), meals and incidental expenses incurred while on majority of international and national hotel chains as well as many official government travel. GSA says that the overall decrease in per independently operated hotels. It enables them to track the property’s diem costs in fiscal year 2011 is 3.85 percent after factoring in meals occupancy, ADR (Average Daily Rate) and RevPAR (Revenue Per and incidental expenses. The reason for the decline is a decrease of Available Room) performance against their competition. It provides 5.73 percent in the estimated cost of hotel rates. the most accurate rate and information for the lodging industry and How does per diem work? It often seems like there is no such has become GSA’s critical tool for evaluating per diem rates. thing as a federal government program that is simple. Per diem In my editor’s letter this issue (page 9) I explained SGMP’s role rates sound simple, but the process gets complicated fast. In as an organization supporting our members. We cannot go in and establishing per diem rates, GSA sets two different kinds of rates: barter with GSA to change your rate or influence them in such a a standard per diem rate and a non-standard per diem rate. direct manner. What we do is educate our members on the process The standard rate, reviewed every three years, is an aggregate of rates and what resources are available to cope with or address an issue. for locations across the country. For fiscal year 2011—which started SGMP and GSA have a close business relationship. We network for on October 1, 2010—the standard per diem rate will jump from $70 more opportunities to work together and provide additional benefits to $77 to reflect the average daily rate for lodging across the country. and information to our members. We are here to keep you in the The standard rate is used in 2,600 counties. Reimbursement for meals loop and understand a process or decision. The business environment and incidental expenses will not change. These rates range from $46 to changes constantly and per diem rates are affected by the economy, $71 for meals per day, depending on the location, and $5 for incidental expenses. The result is that, for most of the United States, the standard per diem rate will be $123 ($77 lodging, ...a number of SGMP members reading this will be $46 meals and incidental expenses) traveling to Washington, DC, on business. When you traveled beginning on October 1. There are 378 areas across the to DC in FY 2010, you received up to $300 reimbursement. country that use a non-standard per If you travel there in FY 2011, you will receive $282. diem rate when determining how much a federal traveler will receive market demand and competition; that’s the free market economy in while conducting business on behalf of Uncle Sam. In the new fiscal which we all work. It is always a good practice to understand what year, the rates for 310 of these areas will decrease, while 50 areas will can affect your market so that you can be better prepared to meet go up and 18 will remain the same. In some areas, there has been a the change or demand, which is SGMP’s role as your partner in significant reduction in the per diem rate. For example, a number of government meetings. G SGMP members reading this will be traveling to Washington, DC, on business. When you traveled to DC in FY 2010, you received up to $300 reimbursement. If you travel there in FY 2011, you will Charles Sadler, CGMP, CHSP, CHSC, is SGMP’s executive director and CEO. receive $282. Contact him at “ ” 29

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Winter 2010

Government Connections - Winter 2010
Table of Contents
President’s Letter
Editor’s Letter
Going Places
Education Edge
That’s Technology
Supplier Strategy
Plan Green
Travel Tips and Trends
Good to Know
Dieting on a Per Diem
The Per Diem Pendulum
Contact Sport vs. Meeting Professionals
Raining Cats & Dogs
Are You Planning to Fail?
7 Deadly Sins of Small Meetings
Meeting Follow-Up is Key to Success
SGMP Nation
Membership News
Conference Connection
Advertisers’ Index
The Meeting Minute

Government Connections - Winter 2010