The General Service Administration has decided to increase its federal per diem rates on hotel rooms to $83 per night -- a move that hoteliers say is significant for the lodging industry. The GSA had earlier proposed a new plan for calculating per diem rates, but industry groups such as AH&LA and the U.S. Travel Association voiced their opposition to the changes. "Per diems are meant to reflect actual market rates, actual rates that were charged," said Shawn McBurney, AH&LA's senior vice president of government affairs. "Radically changing the methodology would artificially reduce the rates that a traveler could pay. We thought this wasn't a good idea and probably would actually increase what government travelers would pay in the long run."

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