Choice Hotels Awards Print, Web Work to ISM

Irma S. Mann, Strategic Marketing has been selected by Choice Hotels International for print and interactive work budgeted at around $2 million.

The Boston shop, which specializes in tra vel and leisure mar keting, picked up the assignment after a re view of undisclosed agencies, said client representative Olivia Kranz. Choice had previously worked with MMG Worldwide in Kansas City, Mo., for the duties added by ISM, Kranz said.

ISM will create print and online advertising to run in American Automotive Association guidebooks, on the organization’s Web site and on various municipal sites nationwide. The agency will also develop a national strategy aimed at inducing military and government travelers to stay at various Choice hotel brands.

The Silver Spring, Md.-based client’s brands include Qua lity Inn, Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn and the Econo Lodge hotel chain. The assignment for ISM encompasses all Choice brands, Kranz said.

ISM’s selection will not have an impact on Choice Hotels’ relationship with lead agency Arnold, McLean, Va., which came aboard last year.

“We can help [customers] get better rates and help Choice provide better service,” said ISM president and CEO Gary Leopold.

The agency is hoping to gain a higher profile in the year ahead, according to Leopold, who bought the shop from founder Irma S. Mann in 1999. ISM cut about 10 staffers (15 percent of its staff) because of a drop in client and tra vel-industry spending following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. ISM currently employs 55 people.

ISM executives believe the tide in the travel/hospitality industry has turned and clients are once more looking to advertise aggressively. The agency has recently launched efforts for several key clients, including The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Boston Coach.