Bonnie Reuben
(310) 248-3852

For Immediate Release

Innovative Travel Marketing Helps Hotels Use Unsold Inventory To Stay Competitive

New York, NY - The $20 billion barter industry may float right below the radar screen of mainstream business, but it holds a dramatic presence in our economy. Once considered a secondary strategy for companies, barter is an important financial tool and creative business strategy for corporate America.

More and more companies are using barter - deploying their unsold goods and services or non-cash resources as 'currency,' in exchange for goods and services they need. 80% of Fortune 500 companies utilize barter to help resolve the problem of unsold inventory and avoid millions of dollars in loss. Some companies use over run product with private labels to help their media expenditures.

Against the backdrop of corporate barter institutions, there is Innovative Travel Marketing (ITM), a successful barter company founded by Jody Merl in 1992. The only barter firm in the country that specializes in the hotel and travel industry, ITM helps clients increase profit by using the value of available rooms as currency to purchase advertising and other services. Ultimately, trading with ITM empowers companies with the ability to use their room inventory as a financial tool to bring in new business.

Hoteliers know available hotel accommodations and meeting and banquet space represent unrealized revenue that can never be recovered. Rather than be wasted, these unused hotel rooms could be traded for a broad spectrum of ad placement opportunities and other services and products at no cost to the property. Barter also allows a hotel to avoid loss of room revenue, because it will recover full value in trade credit: a more lucrative strategy than discounting (usually through a third party, via the Internet, whereby the hotel receives a small percentage of the rooms' real worth). Plus, guests staying in the rooms through a barter arrangement tend to spend money in food and beverage outlets, bringing additional revenue to the hotel.

"Using barter as a financial tool to expand sales and marketing efforts is a simple and effective way to purchase media without writing a check," says Jody Merl, President of ITM. "Putting a barter line in the budget annually affords hotels marketing dollars to really get results and impact their business. Consumer advertising helps to capture market share and increase rate during peak periods."

By using barter to supplement advertising budgets, hotels are also able to free up cash to be spent on upgrading facilities, Merl adds. "Hotels can spend their budgets on keeping up with the trends or even better, the barter dollars can be used to trade for merchandise such as great beds, flat screen TVs, hi-end bedding and more," she says.

How Barter Works
The barter process is relatively simple. For a 300-room property running an 80% annual occupancy with a $200 average daily rate, $4,380,000 of potential revenue is not being realized. By trading 10% of the available inventory, the property can gain more than $400,000 worth of valuable barter services without displacing regular cash business and the rooms are utilized.

About ITM
Established in 1992 by Jody Merl, Innovative Travel Marketing (ITM), is the only company that specializes in hotel and travel advertising using barter to expand buying power. The firm integrates expertise in strategic media planning and buying, with the financial intelligence of barter - the exchange of unsold room inventory for advertising placements and services. ITM's clients, which include some of the finest hotels, resorts and airlines worldwide, benefit from cash-saving strategies to expand marketing budgets, increase occupancy rates and profitability.

With a focus on the hospitality industry, ITM associates have more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience. Over 90% of ITM's clients repeat their advertising campaigns annually. For information on Innovative Travel Marketing, call (973) 331-8171, ext. 10., or visit

# # #