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Free Night When Being Reimbursed for Travel

Free Night When Being Reimbursed for Travel

Old Jun 29, 07, 3:35 am
  #1  
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Free Night When Being Reimbursed for Travel

I was reminded of this subject when reading the "Sharing A Hotel Room For A Wedding" thread. I didn't see that one until the Newsletter came around, and by then the thread was a month old. Since this is a related dilemma that has probably been faced by other FTers, I thought I'd throw it out for discussion.

If I travel for business, I submit the receipts and get reimbursed for hotel rooms. When I brought up an issue with the front desk manager at one of the "100% satisfaction or it's free" hotels, he offered to take one night off my bill. Presumably, the discount is compensation for my inconvenience and it's something that I'd appreciate if I was spending my own money.

However, I was the one inconvenienced, not my employer who was paying the bill. Why should he get the discount? Or more important, why shouldn't I get the compensation for my inconvenience while statying at the hotel?

Since I was a regular at that hotel (which is probably why they were so quick to offer a free night for what I thought was a relatively minor issue) I asked if they could bill me for the full stay and then issue a credit to my credit card for the amount of the free night. They were willing to do this, but it bothered me a bit that I was applying for reimbursement based on the receipt rather than than what I actually paid.

This happened many years ago and I no longer work there, but I think about it now and then, wondering what would have been the right thing to do. I suppose I should have just claimed what I paid since travel reimbursement is for expenses, not inconvenience. But that doesn't seem completely fair to me.
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Old Jun 29, 07, 5:00 am
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You probably should have asked for something more tangible, like a comp meal during the stay, that would have only affected you. You got your employer {former or not} involved, and they are entitled to know the outcome. Fair is fair.
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Old Jun 29, 07, 9:09 am
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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers View Post
Since I was a regular at that hotel (which is probably why they were so quick to offer a free night for what I thought was a relatively minor issue) I asked if they could bill me for the full stay and then issue a credit to my credit card for the amount of the free night. They were willing to do this, but it bothered me a bit that I was applying for reimbursement based on the receipt rather than than what I actually paid.
Isn't this fraud? You ended up submitting a false expense report.

As for you thinking about it all these years later, that tells me that ethically you weren't comfortable with it and realise now you should have billed your employer what was paid; the refund should have gone to them, not you.
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Old Jun 29, 07, 9:40 am
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In the past I have explained the fact that I am getting reimbursed to the manager and had him agree that I was the one inconvenienced and not the client paying the bill. I would them let him know that I would greatly appreciate the free night in the form of extra reward points credited to my hotel VIP account. Tell them that you are happy to pay them for the room if they are willing to make you happy by giving you points in return.

I have never been turned down on this.
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Old Jun 29, 07, 12:25 pm
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Originally Posted by SNA1K View Post
In the past I have explained the fact that I am getting reimbursed to the manager and had him agree that I was the one inconvenienced and not the client paying the bill. I would them let him know that I would greatly appreciate the free night in the form of extra reward points credited to my hotel VIP account. Tell them that you are happy to pay them for the room if they are willing to make you happy by giving you points in return.

I have never been turned down on this.
I could go for this.

When I have a rental car problem with Hertz, they give me a certificate good on a future rental, and charge the full amount of the business rental.

MapleLeaf is right, too.
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Old Jun 29, 07, 1:46 pm
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When I worked in hotels (Four Seasons), we recognized this as a major issue and would usually send some sort of amenity (bottle of wine, chocolate plate) to the room if the guest was still in house, or would send them an apology letter and voucher for a future stay if they were checking out and it was obvious that they were going to be reimbursed by their company.

If there was a question about their status (we didn't know if they were traveling on business or not) we would ask them outright, and tell them that we recognized that they were the ones who suffered and felt it was only right that they receive the benefit of any form of compensation - every person I ever explained it to appreciated our thoughtfulness.
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Old Jun 29, 07, 4:37 pm
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What was the nature of the inconvenience? The beer in the mini-bar wasn't cold enough? Or the toilet backed up and you had to sleep in the lobby?
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Old Jun 29, 07, 7:03 pm
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A false expense report is usually enough to get you canned - I'm guessing that's bigger than whatever inconvenience a hotel can throw at you.

Ask for points - enough for a free night at the same category hotel.

Last edited by CPRich; Jul 2, 07 at 8:08 pm
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Old Jun 29, 07, 7:56 pm
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That's why so many places require the credit card statment and the bill, for things like this.
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Old Jul 1, 07, 10:17 pm
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Originally Posted by skylady View Post
You probably should have asked for something more tangible, like a comp meal during the stay, that would have only affected you. You got your employer {former or not} involved, and they are entitled to know the outcome. Fair is fair.
The problem with a comp meal would generally be that again the benefit would attach to teh company again if you were being reimbursed for - so again you don't get the compensation for the inconvenience that you experienced.

Originally Posted by CPRich View Post
A false expense report is usually enough to get you canned - I guessing that's bigger than whatever inconvenience a hotel can throw at you.

Ask for points - enough for a free night at the same category hotel.
I think compensation on business travel is a grey area (not the falsifying of expense reports - that is pretty black and white) - it is hard to distinguish between when you deserve some form of compensation and when your employer should be credited.

A lot will depend on your internal policies and the attitude of your boss. I am lucky and my boss would most likely advocated ensuring I got the benefit rather than the company - but then I am very lucky
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Old Jul 2, 07, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by ElkeNorEast View Post
When I worked in hotels (Four Seasons), we recognized this as a major issue and would usually send some sort of amenity (bottle of wine, chocolate plate) to the room if the guest was still in house, or would send them an apology letter and voucher for a future stay if they were checking out and it was obvious that they were going to be reimbursed by their company.

If there was a question about their status (we didn't know if they were traveling on business or not) we would ask them outright, and tell them that we recognized that they were the ones who suffered and felt it was only right that they receive the benefit of any form of compensation - every person I ever explained it to appreciated our thoughtfulness.
I like this approach. Send a bottle of wine up to the room, and perhaps a voucher for a free stay. Most times, I'd end up using the voucher for a future work-related trip anyway, since I'm on the road so much. (So far, I have used 5 coupons this year, for my company travel - free hotel room, two free rental car days, and two airline vouchers... and figure that'll probably happen again a few times before the year's out. And, if I decided to use one for personal reasons, I'd clear it with my boss first - who I'm sure would understand and agree.)
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Old Jul 2, 07, 5:54 pm
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Whenever I have received some personal compensation (ie. free BUMP voucher) I have always told my boss... never want it questioned. My job is too important for that... as are my ethics.

I would be shocked they would want the compensation... but never risk submitting a falsified expense report. Your definition of falsified and your company's might be different... and their definition is the one that counts.

William
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