Ed Stone - Owner/President
Ed Stone has an extensive background in the association, travel, hospitality, entertainment and leisure industries. With major accomplishments in the areas of marketing, research and development planning, advertising, public relations, publicity, sales, television and event production. With over 45 years of experience in the travel industry, Stone has a wealth of knowledge and experience in association, travel and hospitality marketing.
He is a native of Georgia and a graduate of the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism.
Stone Communications – 2001- Present – Fairfield Glade, TN/Estero, FL
Using his skills, talents and strong relationships of the past fifty years, Ed focuses on his clients in the association, tourism, leisure and hospitality industries. His expertise is in the development and management of marketing programs for facilities and area destinations. He develops cutting-edge website programs that are created specifically for travel destination related businesses. He also works with various associates in making thorough evaluations of current websites of Convention & Visitors Bureau’s and other tourism operations. Ed continues to work with destinations on developing research programs he has created to assist in generating additional visitors with limited dollars. He is also freelance travel writing for several major national publications. and websites.
Stone Communications provided all marketing and communications support to the International Association for the Leisure & Entertainment Industry (IALEI), a membership based association with some 2,500 members worldwide. This family entertainment based association is now a part of the International Association of Amusement Park & Attractions (IAAPA), based in Alexandria, Virginia.
Ed continues to write and provide stories to various travel oriented magazines, newspapers and websites. In 2002, he launched www.gogolfandtravel.com website that now generates some 200,000 visitors annually. He is a contributor to Tennessee Golf Quarterly, the PGA publication for the State.
Stone & Associates – 1988-2001 – Hendersonville, Tennessee
Stone was the owner of a full-service marketing and communications agencies with emphasis on developing and conducting travel media tours. Stone and his wife, Fran, built the business to include all services for the travel, hospitality and leisure industries. The longest tenured client was the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors for 12 years. Stone was retained by the Audubon Institute to handle all aspects for the grand opening and marketing of the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was retained for the management and marketing of Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Destin, Florida, from 1990-92. He became the first agency of record for the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce in 1995. Other clients included: Daytona Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, St Augustine Convention & Visitors Bureau, St. Pete/Clearwater Convention & Visitors Bureau, Pennsylvania Dutch Country (Lancaster, PA) Visitors Bureau, Reading/Berks County (PA) Convention & Visitors Bureau, Louisiana Travel Promotion Association, plus others. While owner of Stone & Associates he created and oversaw the marketing of many other regional and national projects. He and his staff developed and created a standard by which travel media tours are conducted to showcase areas throughout the Southeastern United States.
Opryland USA (Gaylord Entertainment, Inc. - Now presented as Ryman Hospitality Properties) - 1974 to 1988 – Nashville, Tennessee
Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations - Stone was responsible for all corporate marketing, sales, advertising, promotions, public relations/publicity and special events for one of America’s premiere convention and tourist destinations and attractions. Stone was directly responsible for the development, planning and implementation of new products and marketing programs for these Opryland USA Inc. companies: Opryland Showpark, Opryland Hotel, Grand Ole Opry, The Nashville Network (TNN), the General Jackson Showboat, Grand Ole Opry Sightseeing Tours, Opryland Talent Agency, Opryland Travel Company, Opryland Music Group (Acuff-Rose/Opryland Music Publishing and 16th Avenue Records), Gaylord Syndicom and “Hee Haw.”
Stone was responsible for public relations/publicity and community relations for the Opryland USA complex. During this time, he was directly involved and was executive producer for several major television specials on NBC-TV, ABC-TV, CBS-TV, TNN and other syndicated shows.
He was directly responsible for all corporate sponsorships at Opryland USA during his nearly 15-year tenure. This entailed the solicitation, development and fulfillment of sponsorships involving such companies as Kodak, Coca-Cola, Toyota, American Airlines, National Car Rental, General Mills, Frito/Lay, etc. These programs accounted for some $1 million-plus in cash fees and $2 million in sponsor-supported marketing programs.
Callaway Gardens - 1963 to 1974 – Pine Mountain, Georgia
Director of Advertising and Public Relations - While performing the duties of publicity and advertising at the 2,500-acre resort, Stone worked in all areas of marketing, public relations/publicity and sales for both the conventions/recreational and horticultural divisions. Stone established the first convention services department to handle the results of successful convention sales solicitation programs. He was most effective in working to position the entire property and area as a national travel destination.
PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS AND INDUSTRY ACTIVITIES
• Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). A 42-year member of the Society of American Travel Writers and has received seven President’s Awards. He is one of only 37 Marco Polo members in SATW’s 56-year history. Chairman of Finance Committee (1987-90), co-chairman of 1988 national convention and elected by membership to serve on Board of Directors from 1987-1990. Served as chairman of membership roster sales committee from 1987-92. Served as the Board Meeting Planner from 1998-2000, 2006-2007 and 2010. He was the SATW-Hawaii 2002 Convention Chairman.
• Society of American Travel Writers Foundation board of directors and trustee since its founding in 1984. Secretary from 1989 to 1995. Treasurer from 1996 to 2000. Continues to serve as trustee.
• Travel Industry Association of America (TIAA). Chairman of 1988 national convention in Denver and served on Board of Directors 1987-90. Served as secretary and member of the executive committee in 1988-89. From 1985-87 served as chairman of the National Council of Travel Attractions.
• Southeast Tourism Society (STS). Founding member and charter president (1983-85). From 1988-96, he served on STS Board of Directors and chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Southeast Tourism Society’s Marketing College.
• International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). Board of directors from 1984-1988. Second vice president (1987) and first vice president (1988).
• University of Georgia College of Mass Communications. Has served on the Advisory Board since 1987 to present as an emeritus member.
• Sequoyah Birthplace Museum. Serves on the board of directors since 1988.
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