Choice Hotels Makes Print and Online Assignment

Choice Hotels International has selected Irma S. Mann, Strategic Marketing for print and interactive work budgeted in the$2 million range.

The Boston agency, which specializes in travel and leisure marketing, acquired the assignmentfollowing a review of undisclosed shops, said client representative Olivia Kranz.

The work was previously handled by MMG Worldwide in Kansas City, Mo., Kranz said.

The selection will not impact CHI’s relationship with lead agency Arnold in McLean, Va., which signed on last year, sources said.

ISM will create print and online advertising that will appear in American Automotive Association guide books, on the organization’s Web page and on various municipal sites nationwide.

The shop will also develop a national strategy to attract military and government travelers to stay in CHI properties.

The Silver Spring, Md.-based hotel chain’s offerings include Quality Inn, Sleep Inn, Comfort Inn and Econo Lodge. ISM’s work involves all CHI brands, Kranz said.

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

The agency is looking to achieve a higher profile in the year ahead, said Leopold, who bought the operation from founder Irma S. Mann in 1999. ISM has cut about 10 staffers (10 percent of its staff) due to a drop in client and travel industry spending following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The shop currently employs 55.

ISM executives be-lieve the tide in the travel and hospitality sectors has begun to turn; that clients are once more looking to advertise aggressively.

That claim is supported, said Leopold, by recent efforts ISM has undertaken for clients such as Boston Coach, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority and Zoo New England.