Ms. Merl is passionate about the barter business that occupies a $20 billion presence in the world economy. In the hospitality industry, she elevates the practice of trading rooms for advertising into an empowering strategy for creating equity; she guides her clients in how to transform their inventory into “marketing currency” that can fund advertising placements in select, targeted media.
After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s prestigious School of Journalism, Ms. Merl worked at an entertainment public relations firm in Beverly Hills, California, where she handled client special events and press previews.
The transition from the entertainment industry to hospitality came naturally for Ms. Merl. Treating the hotel business like show business, Ms. Merl became Corporate Director of Sales for L’Ermitage Hotel Group in West Hollywood, where she oversaw company-wide sales efforts, the firm’s New York sales office, as well as openings of Le Bel Age, Le Mondrian, and Le Dufy all-suite hotels.
An expert in the luxury hotel market, Ms. Merl joined The Leading Hotels of the World to direct their corporate sales effort from their headquarters in New York City. After successfully positioning them in the North American corporate marketplace, she joined Broadcast Marketing Corporation, a corporate barter company providing millions of dollars worth of travel services to its media industry clients, as Vice President of Travel Services.
Forging solid relationships with key customers such as Ian Schrager Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, The Mark, and The Breakers Palm Beach, Ms. Merl launched Innovative Travel Marketing in 1992. Since then, ITM has provided strategic media planning and buying services to hotel and travel industry clients worldwide and evolved into the most highly regarded barter advertising firm for the travel industry.
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.