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January 29, 2002

Barter Company Providing Complimentary Hotel Rooms For Families In Need

Innovative Travel Marketing (ITM) President Jody Merl and Michael Stoler, President of the investment banking/management consulting firm Princeton Commercial Corporation, have teamed up to create the ITM Hospitality Fund to provide complimentary hotel rooms for patients and families in times of need.

They are donating lodging to needy patients and families who are undergoing treatment at various area medical centers in metropolitan New York. The ITM fund was modeled after the Ronald MacDonald House concept.

The impetus for creating the ITM Hospitality Fund was to devise an additional outlet to make barter work for a socially charitable cause. The fund is the quintessence of barter--enabling the optimal use of excess inventory to aid the less fortunate during a critical time in life. For further information, log-on to

Airline Currency Expanding

What started out in 1981 as a marketing tool, when American Airlines introduced its AAdvantage frequent flier program, has become a massive new alternative currency that over 100 million people (members) use to acquire numerous products/services in addition to flying trips.

The airline industry now has an $80 billion currency--4 trillion air miles at 2¢ each--and the frequent flyer currency, already dwarfing the commercial barter industry, is making a move toward expansion that will give it greater value for the millions who hold the currency.

Leading the way is Northwest Airlines, which has announced that blackout periods will become a thing of the past beginning March 1. Northwest will be the first U.S. airline to take the step but it's expected other carriers will follow suit.

Randy Petersen, publisher of Inside Flyer magazine, cites a parallel situation that happened in the lodging sector a few years back. Then, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide relaunched its frequent-guest program without blackout dates. It was a huge success with customers, and was later matched by other big hotel chains.

The changes are taking place because airlines have gotten better at forecasting demand and managing their inventory (seats) than they were 20 years ago in the infancy of frequent-flyer miles.

Northwest is also going to provide 250 miles of award credit when members travel on deeply discounted CyberSaver fares. Additionally, it plans to let members purchase up to 7,500 miles a year as gifts or for their own accounts to redeem travel awards. Before long the airline industry, aggregately, will have a currency that's larger than many countries around the world.

Here And There. . .

  • Now, more than ever, promoting barter will pay off. Trade exchange owners looking for the proven way to motivate their client base and stimulate more trade activity among their clients can obtain a copy of the 15-year-old, proven, informational marketing tool--The Competitive Edge newsletter.

    The Competitive Edge is mailed to clients, prospects, etc. because BarterNews research, among the exchange owners, shows that only a third of the members of a trade exchange receive e-mail. For more information E-mail for a sample copy and details. (Be sure to include your complete mailing address and phone number in your e-mail.)

  • Correction: Last week we reported the top five traders through the BANC (inter-trade exchange currency for members of NATE) did $1.5 million in BANC sales...that figure was an aggregate total of the five traders, not a total for each individual trading through the BANC.

  • Myanmar, one of the worlds' poorest nations, having limited infrastructure and funds is going to barter its timber, rice, and fish to Russia for the country's first nuclear reactor. Myanmar's foreign minister stresses that it will be used purely for peaceful purposes.

  • Another avenue for an immense amount of advertising is coming on-stream... 35,000 post-office lobbies across the country! A new Postal Service initiative will allow (the sale of) advertising in post-office lobbies, on mail-delivery trucks, and even on mail-collection boxes.

  • STMicroelectronics, Europe's largest chip maker and No. 3 in the world for 2001, is spending $2.5 million to plant 550,000 pines on a vast tract of former pastureland in Texas. ST's planting plans are aimed at obtaining gas-emissions credits which can be bartered (exchanged) against any future pollution taxes.

  • Landlords, pushing for occupancy rather than having an empty, or half-empty, building with uncertain cash flow are busily bartering heretofore valuable external signage rights, naming rights, or both to secure tenants. (Tenants will typically pay for the cost of the signs, their installation, maintenance, and removal once the deal ends.)

  • Orlando, Florida, has the largest share of troubled hotel loans in the U.S.--around 25% of the nation's total--as delinquencies on hotel loans have soared due to the recession and a continued reluctance to flying.

  • reported that almost $40 billion was spent in 2001 to scoop up dot-com firms at bargain basement prices. Technology led the way, with web sites falling off dramatically as investors soured on content and e-commerce over the Internet.

  • Gotcha Brands, a leading global beach-lifestyle brand for more than 20 years, has signed a new five-year renewal with Hawaiian TV producer and event promoter Reid Inouye, to sponsor his long-running "Backdoor TV." Inouye will provide Gotcha with 30-second commercial spots, which will be bartered to local radio stations for promotional time.

  • Steve Case, of AOL fame, says he is always focusing 5 to 10 years in the future, thinking about what's ahead rather than getting buried in the day-to-day stuff.

    "I spend most of my time thinking about the world that is coming," Case told the Wall Street Journal recently. What's he thinking about now? Two things: convergence of technologies and placing a bet on globalization.

  • Two-way trade (business) between Canada and the U.S. amounted to an astonishing $475 billion last year--$1.3 billion a day. Canada is the largest trading partner of the U.S., and it's the number one export market for 37 of our 50 states.

    NAFTA's removal of trade barriers and obstacles to growth, along with executives on both sides possessing unquenchable faith in the future, will see continued economic relations being cemented.

  • The American Express Small Business Network reports that 99% of all U.S. businesses are small businesses. Question: Why are only 2% of the 27 million small businesses members of trade exchanges?

    Send your opinions to: Note: Small business is defined as under $10 million in annual sales, and/or under 100 employees if a service business; 500 employees if a manufacturer.

  • U.S. trade (imports and exports) now totals over $2 trillion a year! That's about 26% of the $8 trillion of international business done between the 200+ countries around the globe. And countertrade approximates 10% of the $8 trillion figure.

We welcome your comments, questions, and observations.
? Copyright BarterNews 2003. Redistribution of BarterNews content expressly prohibited without the prior written permission of BarterNews.