Eric Terry joined the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging, and Travel Association (VRLTA) in 2014, bringing over three decades of hospitality experience to the organization. Representing a membership of over 1,500 across the Commonwealth, the VRLTA has represented Virginia’s restaurants, hotels, and travel attractions for nearly 80 years. As President, Eric steers strategic initiatives for the Association and leads advocacy efforts before the Virginia General Assembly and Congress on both state and national issues and successfully persuading state legislators to allocate $250 million in federal stimulus funds for industry relief during the COVID–19 pandemic.
Prior to joining VRLTA, Eric found business success in the entertainment, hotel, casino resort, and events industries. Held positions include Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Redstone Companies Hospitality, Benchmark Hospitality, and Malibu Entertainment Worldwide, Inc. He also served as President of Xelerate Group, a marketing agency he launched in 2002. The enterprise saw significant growth under his leadership, expanding at an annual rate of over 60 percent during his five years at the helm, and became recognized as a force in national events marketing, sponsorship partnering, media buying, and celebrity appearances. Some of the partnerships he helped facilitate include NASCAR, Chuck Norris (World Combat League), The Food Network, and Indy Racing League.
Eric has also worked for Hollywood Casino Corporation/Pratt Hotel Corporation, Bristol Hotels, Marriott Hotels and Resorts, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg over the course of his career. In 2020, Eric was recognized in Virginia Business Magazine as one of the “Top 500 Power List in Hospitality/Tourism,” and was named one of “Virginia’s Heavy Hitters” by the same publication in 2023.
Eric is a board member of the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA), a past Chairman of the International Society of Hospitality Associations (ISHA), and is a former president and vice president of the Crowne Plaza Marketing Association. He graduated from the Hospitality and Tourism Management School at Virginia Tech, and is also an Advisory Board Member of the Virginia Tech Hospitality & Tourism Management Department.
More about Eric...
What is your ultimate Virginia weekend getaway?
Primland Resort is a great place to spend a weekend.
What is your favorite cuisine, and a favorite Virginia restaurant that serves it?
I'd have to say seafood. Rockafeller's in Virginia Beach is a longtime favorite.
Which places are on your travel bucket list – Virginia and beyond?
In Virginia, I'd like to stay at Salamander Resort & Spa in Middleburg. Outside of Virginia, Spain tops the list.
Mountains or beach?
The beach - it offers sun and fun!
Eat out or carry out?
Eat Out. I’ve had a lifetime of carryout lately!
Amusement park or camping?
I'd actually prefer a 5 Star Resort!
Name a place in Virginia you’d like to visit.
Chincoteague is somewhere I haven't been - yet.
What’s your area’s best-kept secret?
Fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.
Favorite place for a beer or a cocktail?
Perfect day in your (Virginia) hometown?
Steaks and cigars.