Action Needed – Hotel Per Diem Rates Could Drop

Posted on: March 30, 2012

As a South Carolina hotelier, it is imperative to call and email the GSA regional administrator in your area IMMEDIATELY and express your concerns about a plan that will significantly reduce per diem rates nationwide. In addition, every state hotel association needs to call their members of Congress and express those concerns as well.

GSA establishes federal per diem rates by using market data provided by Smith Travel Research in order to establish rates that reflect the market where those rates apply. GSA collects average daily rates from the “mid-price range” which are rates from independent, midscale, upscale, upper upscale properties. GSA omits rates from economy and luxury hotels from the data as it considers them outside the mid-price range (too low and too high, respectively). However, GSA is giving serious consideration to changing its methodology in calculating per diem rates by removing upper upscale hotel rates from the data. If this is done, it will create a significant reduction in per diem rates. Although they haven’t made a decision yet, they are planning on releasing next fiscal year’s rates on time which means that a decision must be made soon.

We are continuing our discussion with GSA headquarters and expressing our concerns about this proposal. PSAs NEED TO CALL IMMEDIATELY GSA is divided into regions that are led by politically-appointed regional administrators and are very strong voices within the agency. Those regional administrators are from the areas the regions cover and are extremely sensitive to issues impacting those within their regions. When those regional administrators are contacted about certain issues, they communicate those concerns internally.

GSA headquarters needs to start hearing from every one of them that there is strong opposition to this proposed change in per diem methodology. The name and contact information for the regional administrator is below. Please take a moment to contact them. South Carolina Regional Administrator, Shyam Reddy (404) 331-3200 shyam.reddy@gsa.gov

Urge Your Senators to Cosponsor the JOLT Act

Dear South Carolina Power of Travel Coalition Member,

With Congress working through the summer to finish up a number of items before the election season, our industry has an enormous opportunity to pass critical legislation that will greatly increase the number of international visitors to our communities in South Carolina.

Introduced by a bipartisan coalition of Senators, the “Jobs Originated Through Launching Travel (JOLT) Act” (S.3199) would reform the Visa Waiver Program to allow more countries to qualify, develop a pilot program for premium processing of visas in exchange for a higher fee and increase accountability by setting specific goals for visa processing.

Senators Graham and DeMint have not yet signed on as cosponsors and supporters of this legislation, and we need your help to get them on board. Please consider joining our grassroots campaign to help industry partners in Washington recruit these key Senators as supporters.

Help us pass the JOLT Act in the Senate by encouraging your Senators to cosponsor this bill. There are several key ways you can help TODAY:

  • Use our template to write a letter to your Senators, telling them to cosponsor the JOLT Act. Email us a signed copy on your organization’s letterhead to travelcoalition@ustravel.org. We will hand deliver it to the Senate offices.
  • Call the offices of your Senators and tell them to cosponsor S.3199, the JOLT Act. Dial 877-201-9067 to be patched directly through to your Senators, and use our talking points to help with your call.
  • Go to our action center website for additional ways to become involved.

This is an important effort, and we need your help! The Senate is running out of time to get this legislation done, and the travel industry cannot afford to wait on the sidelines while international visitors choose other destinations. Get involved TODAY!

Thank you for your support!

Candice Knezevic Director,
Grassroots and Industry Relations U.S. Travel Association

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