Hotels become the home away from home for travelers, and the properties chosen should be safe and comfortable. Of course, comfort is rather relative, so it is good to find a reputable chain and stick with it. Also, this can potentially be one of the largest expenses of a trip depending on the length of stay. It is not uncommon to for a week's stay to illicit a hotel bill twice the amount of the airfare.
Setting up a hotel is best done through Corporate Travel, especially at the same time a flight is booked. This decreases the chance that the dates are reserved incorrectly. Also, booking with Corporate Travel gives you the advantage of a full-service travel agency that has information you may not otherwise get, plus they can compare rates if you cannot find a state contracted hotel at your destination. Need something fun to do? They can either give you some ideas or suggest where to go look.
From the TPASS's website:
The State Travel Management Program (STMP) of the Texas Procurement and Support Services (TPASS) contracts with hotels for discounted rates for state employees on transient travel while doing business for the State of Texas. In order to be awarded a contract with the State of Texas, hotels must offer a certain percentage discount off their standard rack rates and must offer at least 20% of the hotel's total single room inventory at these discounted rates based on availability. In many instances, contract hotels have offered more than the required discount and there is no limitation on the number of rooms available to state travelers. In some instances, the discount rates may not be available during holidays or special events or lower rates may be available during low occupancy periods. Some hotels offer free meals, airport transportation, and newspapers. Some hotels may extend discounted rates to state employees for personal travel; however, that option is not part of the contract. The individual hotel listing contains all the contract services offered by the contract hotel.
Hotels within Texas now require additional proof or documentation that the exempt organization (school district, junior college and higher ed agency) is in fact exempt from paying the Texas state hotel occupancy tax. Along with the hotel occupancy tax exemption certificate, hotels within Texas want a Comptroller's letter of hotel tax exemption or verification the organization is on the Comptroller's list of exempted entities, such as a printed copy of the Comptroller's web site listing the organization as exempt for the hotel tax.
The following is needed when staying at any lodging facility:
Exemption Certificate for Hotel Tax
Letter from the Comptroller's Office
Here are links to the TPASS's pages for hotel
vendors. These are grouped by city under each state. If a city is not listed,
there are no agreements with any hotels in that city.
Out of State Meals and Lodging Per Diem - In-state per-diem remains $85/night for lodging and $36/day for meals
Remember that hotel bills for employee travel cannot be direct billed.