Policy: 201.H Lodging

Statement of Policy

The University will pay or reimburse actual lodging costs, within the stated maximum rates for the location, when the 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. Travelers and travel arrangers are responsible for understanding the policy requirements and rate maximums prior to reserving rooms using any of the options above. The University will not pay or reimburse any lodging cost that is non-compliant with this policy.

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.

Lodging Contracts
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. Travelers and travel arrangers are encouraged to take advantage of the contract rates when available at the location. Location-specific lodging contract details are available in the University Lodging Directory.

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. 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, Airbnb, Hotwire) is prohibited.

Note: Conference rates are not available in Concur; however, rates found in Concur/Fox World Travel may be less than conference rates. Travelers and travel arrangers are expected to search Concur/Fox World Travel for their conference hotel(s) prior to finalizing lodging arrangements. Alternatively, travelers and travel arrangers must contact the lodging facility directly or utilize the conference/event link to obtain the conference rate.  

Lodging Maximums
Domestic lodging maximums (excluding Alaska, Hawaii and all US territories) are established by the General Services Administration (GSA) and reviewed and updated annually. Foreign lodging maximums (including Alaska, Hawaii and all US territories) are established by the Department of State and the Department of Defense and are reviewed and updated monthly.

UW-Madison has contracts with selected lodging vendors offering favorable hotel rates available through Fox World Travel and the Concur on-line booking tool. If a lodging rate is not available within the University’s maximum, when booking the hotel, travelers and travel arrangers should first check Concur/Fox World Travel to ensure there was not a more favorable rate available prior to making the reservation. A cost comparison from Concur/Fox World Travel must be attached to the payment mechanism.

The table below outlines how lodging rates are determined based on location. To determine the rates applicable to a specific location, please use the UW TravelWIse Calculator.


Maximum Tax Exemption
Within the State of Wisconsin

Maximums vary by location and are determined by the General Services Administration (GSA).  See the UWTravelWIse Calculator.

If you are traveling in-state on official UW business, you are exempt from the payment of state and local taxes on lodging.  To avoid payment of the tax on hotel/motel rooms, you need to provide vendors with a tax exempt wallet card, which can be obtained from your Divisional Business Office.

Domestic Locations outside the State of Wisconsin

(not including the states of Alaska and Hawaii)

Maximums vary by location and are determined by increasing the rate established by the General Services Administration (GSA) by 25%.  See the UWTravelWIse Calculator.

Note: Taxes are not included in the maximum amount established for the location and may be paid when not exempt.
To avoid paying tax outside the state of Wisconsin, please see UWTravelWIse to determine if the University has a tax exemption agreement with the state you are traveling to.  Use the following navigation: Before You Go > Procedures & Operational Standards > Sales Tax Exemption > Obtaining Sales Tax Exemption from Other States.

Foreign Locations

(including all US territories and the states of Alaska and Hawaii)

Maximums vary by location and are determined by the US Department of Defense.  See the UWTravelWIse Calculator.

Note: Taxes are included in the maximum amount established for the location.
Not applicable


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.

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.

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. Claims/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. 

Note: University contract rates may be less than conference rates; therefore, travelers and travel arrangers are expected to search Concur/Fox World Travel for their conference hotel(s) prior to finalizing lodging arrangements.  

Unlicensed Facilities
Lodging at unlicensed facilities is prohibited. If commercial lodging facilities are unavailable or do not meet the business need (e.g. remote location research assignment), exceptions may be granted by the Divisional Business Office.

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.

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 .

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.

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 approving authority.

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

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

Documentation Requirements
The following are required to support a lodging payment/reimbursement:

  • E-Invoice from Fox World Travel (if reservation was made via Concur/Fox World Travel
  • 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)

Travelers and departmental staff should contact their respective Divisional Business Office for policy or procedural questions. Divisional Business Offices may e-mail uwtravel@bussvc.wisc.edu with questions.