Key Travel is the University’s preferred travel supplier and in accordance with Principle 2, hotel accommodation should be pre-booked through them whenever possible and paid for by the University directly. If a particular hotel is not available through Key Travel, it may be possible to book and pay for it through the University directly, prior to travel. If this is not possible, the cost may be reimbursed via expenses with full supporting evidence, including a VAT receipt/proof of purchase, and reason for travel.
Some hotels require the credit card used to place the booking at check-in. This should be clarified before booking as the traveller’s personal credit card may have to be used in this instance and costs re-claimed via expenses.
In the UK, the University considers reasonable rates for overnight accommodation to be:
- up to £150 per night in major cities; or
- up to £100 per night elsewhere.
The University uses HMRC's published benchmark rates as 'reasonable rates' guidance for overseas accommodation. Expense claims that exceed these values may be queried and could be rejected if costs are considered to be unreasonable.
The University does not pay an allowance per day for overnight accommodation. Only actual and evidenced costs may be claimed and in all cases, receipts or evidence must be provided.
Where meals are not included in the hotel cost, they may be claimed as subsistence through the expenses process. If the accommodation is inclusive of meals such as breakfast and/or evening meal, the claimant cannot then claim the cost of these meals if taken elsewhere.
ý Case Study Example - Disallowed scaled-up accommodation claim
Carroll is attending a conference in Newcastle and will be staying in a hotel for three nights. His hotel is charging £70 per night including breakfast. As the guidance rate is £150 per night, Carroll thinks he can claim £450 for his entire hotel stay instead of £210.
Under Principle 3 – A personal benefit is received. The cost difference received of £90 would be classed as a personal benefit under HMRC regulations and subject to income tax and national insurance. Carroll can only claim for the ACTUAL hotel costs incurred, with supporting receipts as evidence.
Examples of what accommodation costs can and should not be claimed:
||UK hotel accommodation costs are higher than allowance rate due to large event taking place (sporting event, concert etc where hotel rooms are at a premium). Under Principle 3, this is a necessary business cost. The higher cost of room is a requirement and not a regular occurrence. Dated receipt/invoice to be submitted as evidence with valid reason for higher hotel cost.
||Should not be claimed. Meals are included in hotel accommodation but prefer to eat in non-hotel restaurant. Under Principle 1, value for money is not achieved. The meal is being paid for twice.
||Should not be claimed. In-house hotel movies or spa costs while travelling on University business. Under Principle 3, a personal benefit is received.
||Pay, at personal cost, for upgrade to more expensive/deluxe room or hotel because individual prefers to stay in premium accommodation. Under Principle 1, value for money must be achieved. Only the University overnight rate per night and meal subsistence rate should be reimbursed. Receipt/proof of purchase must be included as evidence and the claim should be within the University overnight rates.