Hospitality Experts in Media Planning and Buying Using Barter as a Financial Tool
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Comprised of hospitality industry professionals, ITM’s Executive Team has extensive experience in sales, marketing and strategic media planning and buying. Their range of experience includes working with a wide range of independent hotels and chains of over 200 properties.
Jody B. Merl, President
As Founder and President of Innovative Travel Marketing (ITM), launched in 1992, Jody Merl created the only media planning and buying company for the hospitality and travel sector using barter as a financial tool. Rooted in Jody's highly specialized expertise, ITM couples its exceptional relationships with media corporations to enable clients to expand their cash marketing budgets and create trade-based budgets by monetizing unsold rooms as 'currency' to fund marketing.

Jody has evolved ITM into the most highly regarded, media planning and buying firm for the travel industry. She has not only forged solid relationships with an array of companies, from Ian Schrager Hotels to The Breakers Palm Beach and the Denihan Hospitality Group, but earned renown for saving hotel and travel companies millions of dollars by monetizing perishable, unsold inventory that could have gone to waste. In recognition of her success, Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International has honored Jody among its prestigious "Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing" for 2010. Her recently expanded Newspaper Print and Digital division affords global multi-cultural reach for a broad category of clients.

With the success of ITM as a barter company and the growth of her hotel room inventory, Ms. Merl co-founded and endowed the ITM Hospitality Fund, a New York City-wide program that provides no-cost hotel rooms to needy patients and their families who face the daunting expense of traveling to Manhattan for critical medical treatment. She has been featured as a "New Yorker of the Week" on New York 1 News and received a Golden Bell Award for Community Service in recognition of her creation of the ITM Hospitality Fund. Ms. Merl won the first HSMAI Professional of the Year Award in 2004.

Kim Aiello, Executive Vice President ITM Newspaper Media Buying Services
With almost 20 years' experience in advertising agency and newspaper media-buying experience, Kim Aiello is renown in the industry for her peerless expertise as a masterful negotiator who works tirelessly and creatively to deliver the greatest value and service to her clients. She is passionate about providing the best rates and positioning for advertisers and providing consistent business to over 2000 newspapers around the country. As a newspaper guru, loyalist and operational wiz, Kim is leading ITM's expanded division of multi-platform newspaper - print, digital and mobile - to service a broad category of businesses as the division EVP Media Buying. In this role, she will continue to be a trusted conduit and unrivaled buyer between agencies/clients and the newspaper sector. Kim received her Master of Business Administration from Dowling College.

Debbie Durso, Vice President, Media Director
Debbie Durso combines an extensive background of advertising agency and barter industry experience. She is responsible for managing the Media Department, nurturing client relationships, and developing new trade relationships with all media. Debbie is dedicated to maintaining a high level of service with ITM’s long-standing media partners and clients.

Tessie Remo, Director of Client Services
Tessie Remo contributes to the excellent relationships with ITM’s hotel and media clients by ensuring their specific needs are met. A long-standing member of the Executive Team, she oversees all ITM reservations for individuals and groups and is also responsible for the management and distribution of hotel inventory and merchandise. Her background is in hotel sales and reservations having worked in corporate and group sales for Oberoi Hotels, The Warwick New York and the New York Helmsley Hotel.

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