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by Cheryl-Anne Sturken | September 01, 2016
Vanessa Sinders of AH&LA
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On average, federal employees traveling for work will get a few more dollars to spend on lodging under the 2017 per diem rates released by the General Services Administration on Aug. 12. The new rates, based on data provided by lodging research firm STR, will go into effect on Oct. 1.

While rates in most destinations will grow by about $2, the GSA, which sets travel regulations and policy for the federal government, was more generous in its allotment for several major cities, including Atlanta, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Lodging per diem rates for peak season increased from $138 in 2016 to $148 in Atlanta, and from $212 to $222 in Chicago. Washington, D.C., had the largest boost, from $226 in 2016 peak season to $242 for 2017.

Miami and Orlando both received significant decreases, however, possibly reflecting growth in their hotel room inventories in the past 12 months. Miami's rates dipped from $212 in 2016 to $196 for next year, and Orlando's decreased from $227 in peak season to $133, a whopping $94 drop.

To reevaluate the entire per diem process, the GSA has formed a new interagency working group, to convene in fiscal year 2018, to examine rates and boundary lines for approximately 350 areas.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association would like to be involved in this process. "We hope this new working group will engage closely with the travel industry and allow for thorough input and consultation," said Vanessa Sinders, senior vice president of government affairs for AH&LA, in response to the GSA's announcement.