What is the UW System Lodging Program?
The UW System Lodging Program is the next step of the University’s managed travel program. The UW System is consolidating UW sponsored lodging spend with select commercial hotel facilities located within the State of Wisconsin, including UW institution locations and destinations outside the State of Wisconsin where the UW System has significant travel volume. UW System Administration has formally contracted or entered into partnership agreements with other consortium or peer programs (referred to as “Partnership Program”) to offer rates for standard sleeping rooms at government, negotiated and/or discounted rates that are within UW System Travel Policy rate limits for the location & season of travel. The program also includes managing the reservation process through Concur or with Fox World Travel agents to promote efficiency in process, automation of traveler details for reservation processing and duty of care notification and creates a data exchange between the UW and contracted properties.
What are the benefits in managing the lodging reservation process and contracting with select hotels?
The following are a summary of benefits that the University hopes to achieve.
- Consolidate travel dollars spent for lodging and hotel based meeting & events needs with select UW System contracted or partnership lodging properties located in top travel destinations for the purposes of obtaining optimal rates with greater availability, enhanced services, favorable terms, and included amenities for top travel destinations.
- Designate Concur or use of Fox agents as the primary methods for making individual lodging reservations to achieve the following benefits:
- Efficiency in process for making reservations,
- Provide a platform for data collection between the UW System and contracted lodging properties to identify volume usage for contracted rates and terms,
- Provide users a single source for access to live rates and availability directly from the lodging industry, including exclusive contract rates, promotional rates, and government rates not available on other sites,
- Ability to determine traveler location based upon reservation data and use that information to provide duty of care notification and outreach services in emergency situations.
How were contracted or partnership properties selected?
UW System contract properties and partnership property program hotels were selected based on meeting the following requirements:
- Rates for standard sleeping rooms at state government, negotiated and/or discounted rates that are within UW System Travel Policy rate limits for the location & season of travel.
- Existing UW use of property or properties within the location – based on recent UW financial spend data (Financial data was also used to determine the number of hotels to contract with in any given location).
- Quality of accommodations – Typically industry rating of 3 stars or above.
- Proximity to primary business locations within Wisconsin and for other domestic locations.
- Consistent room availability at contract or partner program rates with limited blackout periods.
- No prepayment requirements outside a one-night deposit for a multi-night stay – per UW System policy.
Lenient cancellation terms and reduced or eliminated penalty fees for early/late check-outs, etc..
- Included amenities that would have otherwise cost the UW additional dollars.
- Automation of tax exemption when utilizing Wisconsin based hotels.
What hotels are under contract and where are they located?
A comprehensive listing of UW System contract and Partnership Program properties is available on UW TravelWIse under Policies & Procedures in a comprehensive hotel directory. See the Sign-in with UW ID to View UW System Hotel Directory. The directory is searchable by location and contains summary details of the property, including negotiated rates.
How do I make reservations?
The required methods for making individual reservations are within Concur or by using a UW team agent at Fox World Travel. Detailed procedures for making reservations, including groups, meeting and events and available payment options are available here in UW TravelWIse see Lodging Reservations and Payment Procedures and Group Lodging Reservation and Payment Procedures. The Sign-in with UW ID to View UW System Hotel Directory is also useful in identifying hotels priors to making reservations.
What if there are no preferred hotels in my business location or preferred hotels are full and not available?
Reserve a non-preferred hotel within Concur or with an agent that has a standard room available within the UW maximum for the location.
What are Partnership Program Properties?
See the lodging procedures for a detailed listing of partnership program organizations. Property specific details are located within the Sign-in with UW ID to View UW System Hotel Directory.
Why are there rates and room types over what UW policy allows in Concur?
Concur displays live inventory sent directly from hotel suppliers therefore rates and room types are not specific to the UW and you will find rates and room types above what UW policy allows – you will also at times find lower rates. Users must adhere to the location rate maximums and only reserve single/standard rooms. Review rate maximums for your location using the TravelWIse Rate Calculator .
How do I pay for my hotel costs?
The UW travel policy does not allow prepayment of individual lodging costs and making reservations in Concur or with agents only “holds/guarantees” the reservation. Payments must be made at check-out by the traveler using charge cards as required by the institution. Lodging costs will be reimbursed to the traveler after approval and audit. Note: Avoid debit card holds. Use a credit card, cash or other method of payment at check-in and use debit card at check-out if that is the payment method of choice.
What if I want to use University owned lodging facilities rather than commercial hotels?
The use of University owned facilities remains an allowed option. Travelers and arrangers can continue to make sleeping room reservations and meeting/event arrangements through current means.
Do I have to use the program for lodging?
Change to UW System Administrative Policy 415 – Purchase & Payment of Lodging, effective February 1, 2017 now requires that UW System travelers and those that arrange lodging for others will utilize UW System contract or partnership properties at negotiated rates whenever offered in the business location and will make reservations within Concur or with the UW agent team. For meetings & events, when it is determined by the organizer that use of a hotel is needed for sleeping rooms and/or other conference, meeting or event needs, a UW System contract or partnership property will be utilized whenever available at the business location.
Can I just call the hotel to request rates?
No, the reservation process has changed to require use of Concur or a Fox World Travel agent for individual hotel reservations.
Rates vary over nights of stay and some nights are over what is allowed?
For travel that requires a multi-night stay, the hotel may offer a different rate for one or more nights of stay. This may occur during high demand periods or over weekends. These rate differentials will be allowed with explanation providing that the total cost for all room nights averages to no more than the University’s nightly rate maximum for the location.
What about External Conference Lodging Reservations and Rates?
There are no changes to the policy or procedures for External conference lodging reservation procedures or rate exceptions. Travelers are strongly encouraged to search Concur for their conference hotel(s) as often there are rates available that are less than the conference rate.
What about International Lodging Needs?
For individual reservations, both Concur and the UW agent team can be used for most international locations served by commercial hotels. For group reservations and/or when using non-commercial lodging establishments it is recommended that you review the UWSA Office of Procurement’s Master Contract with International Travel and Educational Program Providers or work with your institution’s procurement office to solicit bids under a separate procurement process.
How do I recommend a favorite hotel or newly built hotel for future inclusion in the program?
The UW System has not contracted for hotels in all locations because there may not be significant spend or lodging need to leverage for optimal rates and availability. Recommendations for hotels to be included in the next contracting process (late 2017 for 2018) can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org The travel office will conduct an analysis to determine if there is enough potential to contract in the location or with additional properties. If the anticipated sleeping room volume is not covered in a particular location or where there are issues with room availability we may have the potential to send additional RFP’s ahead of 2018 for inclusion in the 2017 program.
I see 2 or more UW rates in the UW System Lodging Directory, what do those mean?
- For Wisconsin based hotels – If the property sells single/standard rooms at the State Government rate we required that rate will be provided as “rate 1”. Typically State rate rooms are limited and may not always be available. When the property is out-of-state rate rooms they will provide the University negotiated rate as “rate 2”.
- Some hotels have seasonal differentials and if so the rates are listed by season date ranges.
- In some cases hotels have provided additional UW rates for double occupancy or higher classes of rooms (suites, non-standard, etc.) for exceptions when single/standard rooms are not available. Use of these higher rates require a justification prior to reimbursement.
Can I utilize contract or partnership property hotels for personal or leisure travel?
UW System contract hotels at locations within the State of Wisconsin that have rates at or below the government rate may never be used for personal or leisure travel. Some properties outside the State of Wisconsin have allowed personal or leisure use of the negotiated rate. Personal use provisions are notated under the specific property summary within the Sign-in with UW ID to View UW System Hotel Directory. Other general published rates available within Concur can be used for personal reservations including Triple A and AARP if you are a member. Concur users will have to select these programs in their Concur Profile Hotel Preferences for these membership rates to display.