State agencies may process requests for excessive lodging charges without approval from the Governor's Travel Control Board provided the request is in compliance with the travel rules. A request is considered in compliance if:
- In the City of Chicago, a minimum of five (5) Preferred hotels were contacted (i.e., hotels appearing in the latest Travel Guide for State Employees or subsequent Travel Updates).
- In all other areas within the State of Illinois -- a minimum of three (3) Preferred hotels were contacted
- In all out-of-state locations, a minimum of three (3) properties were contacted.
For areas with less than three (3) hotels on the Preferred Hotel Listing, a minimum of three (3) budget to mid-price hotels must have been contacted (where available). Upscale or deluxe properties would not count as contacted properties unless they appear on the Preferred Hotel Listing. Lodging is only allowed at non-Preferred hotels if the rate offered is lower than the rates of Preferred hotels in that particular area.
If the request is determined to be in compliance, agencies may process the claim provided:
- A note is placed in the "Comments" field on the travel voucher to reflect agency approval of the excessive lodging amount.
- Agencies maintain documentation of the justification for all excessive lodging approvals.
The following types of lodging requests do require written approval from the Governor's Travel Control Board prior to submitting a claim to the Office of the Comptroller for payment:
- All excessive lodging requests not in compliance with the travel rules.
- All requests for in-headquarters lodging expenses.
- All requests for unanticipated fees/charges assessed by hotels including: early departure fees, unused hotel room charges, etc. Energy fees/charges assessed by hotels are reimbursable and do not require an exception.
All requests submitted to the Travel Control Board must contain a detailed explanation of why the exception should be granted, and must be personally signed by the Agency Head. Requests will be returned that fail to meet these requirements.
Employees should check with their Agency Travel Coordinator for specific policies and procedures related to the exception process.