The rates listed in the Hotel Directory are for transient/individual travel only. They do not apply to conferences and group meetings. Those rates are negotiated as a part of the conference package. If you are attending a conference or are part of a group room block, you are obligated to pay the conference/group rate or stay at a different lodging facility.
Generally, no. The employee may only be reimbursed for his or her actual lodging expense not to exceed the maximum lodging reimbursement rate. State agencies have varying policies established in accordance with the guidelines provided in Textravel, published by the Comptroller of Public Accounts (CPA).
Yes, if the hotel states in the Hotel Directory that they will be charging such a fee. It is the traveler's responsibility when making a reservation to check out all policies the hotel imposes. If a reservation is canceled for business reasons, please refer to the CPA's Textravel for reimbursement amounts.
In accordance with Texas Government Code 2113.106, "State Facilities for Meetings, Conferences, and Examinations. A state agency shall use state-owned or state-occupied facilities for meetings, conferences, and administration of group examinations and may not use appropriated money to lease private facilities for these purposes unless state facilities are not available when needed, are not adequate to accommodate the meeting, conference, or examination, or are not an economically favorable alternative to other facilities.
No, this is not a requirement of CPA. The rates listed in the Hotel Directory are for transient/individual travel only. However, you might want to give first consideration to the hotels listed in the directory since they are partnering with the state by offering discounted transient rates.
First, keep in mind that contract rates are based upon availability. If the hotel no longer has the contract rate available, you will need to see if the rate they are offering is within the reimbursable amount or look for another contract hotel. If a contract hotel/rate is unavailable, then you may look to a non-contract hotel and note the appropriate exception on your travel voucher.
Second, if the hotel reservationist is completely unaware of their listing/contract rate in the Hotel Directory, ask to speak with the Director of Sales, Sales Manager or General Manager. Most of the time, they will know the correct rate. If this does not solve the problem, contact your agency's travel coordinator for assistance in getting the correct rate or a refund if you have already stayed there. If your agency's travel coordinator is unable to help, contact the Comptroller of Public Accounts, State Travel Management Program office at 512-463-3435 and state that your problem is with a contract hotel rate.