HSMAI Top 25 Profiles: Gathan Borden, VisitLEX

HSMAI recently honored the 2020 Top 25 Extraordinary Minds in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization — recognizing leaders from hospitality, travel, and tourism organizations for their accomplishments in the preceding 18 months. We’re profiling all of them in an HSMAI Special Report and sharing excerpts, including Gathan Borden, CHDM, Vice President of Marketing, VisitLEX.

Gathan D. Borden is a 14-year veteran of the tourism indus­try. In his role with VisitLEX (the Lexington Convention & Visitors Bureau), he oversees advertising, branding, mar­keting, public relations, social media, visitor services, and web strategies for the city of Lexington as it relates to travel and tourism. A much-sought-after industry speaker, Borden speaks frequently at local, regional, and national tourism conferences on various marketing topics and trends. He is a board member of the U.S. Travel Association’s Destination Council Board of Advisors, the Kentucky Travel Industry Association, Horse Country Inc., and the American Cancer Society, and a founding member of the Lexington-based Kentucky Black Bourbon Guild, which seeks to honor the history of minorities’ contributions to the bourbon industry and increase the representation of minority cultures in the spirits industry.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: At the onset of the pandemic, Borden immediately pivoted VisitLEX’s marketing efforts, creating multiple viral online promotions, including daily Facebook programming, destination Zoom backgrounds, website updates, and more.

NOMINATED BY: Casey Galasso, Quinn PR — “Gathan consistently stays one step ahead of his peers in destina­tion marketing, and it’s his ability to innovate nimbly and efficiently that gives VisitLEX the leg up, breaking through the clutter in standard tourism promotion. Beneath Gathan’s humble, suave demeanor is a quiet storm of ideas and forward-thinking innovation. He never stops moving, and where he goes, the industry follows.”


“My motivation over the past year has been to see the hospitality industry thrive again. We were riding this 10-year high, and we saw it all fall apart in a matter of months. Travel has so many positive effects on our personal and professional lives, and we’ve all missed it. Knowing how many people are employed in our industry and knowing how big of an impact our work has on the local hospitality community personally motivated me to do all that I can to make sure that our community stayed safe, was educated, and pre­pared for the return of travel.”

Categories: Marketing
Insight Type: Articles