Federal Per-Diem Rates Could Plummet

 The U.S. General Services Administration is looking at several options for per-diem pricing that would result in rate decreases in most markets, according to a report in HotelNewsNow.com. The publication's parent company, STR, provides hotel rate data to the GSA. Among the options are to freeze current per-diem rates for the next fiscal year; to eliminate a 25 percent flexibility for federal employees when they can't find rooms at the per-diem rate; and to remove upper-upscale hotels from the average-rate calculation. (Currently, luxury hotels aren't part of the calculation unless their rates are lower than upper-upscale properties.) According to the report, one example of the proposed calculation change revealed the standard per-diem rate decreasing from $136 to $107. While no rates have yet been established, federal directives include a decrease of agency travel spending of 30 percent compared to fiscal year 2010. Per-diem rates usually are announced in August and go into effect on Oct. 1.