The university pays directly or reimburses individuals for expenses that are necessary and appropriate to conduct university business. Key considerations and associated processes are found in Business and Travel Expense Policies Fundamentals. The university outlines its core responsibility, guiding principles and IRS regulations with regard to business and travel expenses in Administrative Guide Memo 5.4.2.
The university pays for lodging when employees travel outside of their local area, which is defined as 50 miles one way from home or Stanford, whichever is greater. Before booking lodging for an individual or group who will be traveling on university business, the traveler and travel arranger should understand the key considerations for the travel process. These include whether the trip is domestic or international, if the traveler is a Stanford employee, affiliate or visitor, and the source of funding for the trip. More information on these key considerations is found on the Travel Process page.
Individuals traveling on university business are expected to use lodging accommodations that are necessary and reasonable. The cost of lodging should be kept to a minimum and consistent with a reasonable level of comfort, convenience and security for the traveler. Specific guidelines and details are documented on the Lodging Policy page.
In June 2020, the university implemented a new travel policy that states that university funds may only be used to purchase or reimburse new university-sponsored travel expenses when booked through one of the Stanford Travel booking channels: Casto, Egencia, United Corporate Direct, and Anthony Travel (used exclusively by Athletics). This policy applies to Stanford faculty, staff and students booking airfare, hotel, and/or car rentals. Read the complete policy in the Business and Travel Expense policy overview.
Stanford Travel is the university's travel management service for travelers and arrangers. Per Administrative Guide Policy 5.4.2: Business and Travel Expenses, use of Stanford Travel booking channels is expected, as it supports the guiding principle to spend appropriately, eliminates the administrative requirement to provide documentation demonstrating the expense is reasonable and also connects travel reservations to International SOS.
Lodging arrangements that include contracts or agreements with terms and conditions requiring a signature, such as for the lease of a home or room blocks for 10 or more travelers, should be booked through the appropriate channel and paid through a requisition in iProcurement.
Group Room Blocks
If there are 10 or more people traveling together, rooms are booked directly with the hotel. A group room block will have special rules and cancellation policies. A purchase order (P.O.) is required for all room blocks. In addition, a contract signed by the appropriate authority is required unless a master service agreement (MSA) is in place for that hotel.
Hotels with Master Service Agreements
Stanford University has signed a MSA with the following local hotels to simplify the contracting of room blocks. These hotels will send a group quote in lieu of a contract:
- Sheraton Palo Alto Hotel
- The Westin Palo Alto
Booking Process for Hotels with MSAs
- The Stanford organizer connects with the hotel's group department to confirm availability and pricing for the room block request.
- The hotel sends a quote to the organizer using the group template.
- The Stanford organizer submits a requisition; indicates signature required – "NO."
- Stanford's purchasing team references the MSA and processes the P.O. without signature on quote.
- Quote with P.O. number returned to the hotel within 21 days from the date the quote received. Once the contracted hotel receives the P.O., the terms and conditions of the quote are binding.
Payment and Reimbursement Methods
The Stanford Travel Card (TCard) is the preferred payment method for lodging and hotel costs. Alternatively, personal funds may be used and a request for reimbursement can be submitted after the trip.
In the cases where lodging arrangements include contracts or agreements with terms and conditions requiring a signature, such as for the lease of a home or room blocks for 10 or more travelers, these should be booked through the appropriate channel and paid through a requisition in iProcurement; not with personal funds or TCard.
More information about payment and reimbursement methods and associated policies and guidelines can be found on the Lodging Policy page.