Challenge: Long wait times and hassles at American customs checkpoints are a deterrent for international visitors. The U.S. Travel Association sought to improve the entry process at gateway airports to help increase international travel to the United States.

Approach: APCO created and executed a campaign that framed international travelers as valued customers, promoted smart policies and addressed stakeholders’ security concerns. Survey data quantified the economic impact of an inefficient entry system; Travelers’ Voice, a traditional media and digital campaign, personalized the issue and drove conversation on social media.

Results: U.S. Travel’s campaign successfully raised visibility, defined the debate in favorable terms and ultimately improved the entry process for international visitors. Its recommendations were included in a presidential memorandum that directed the Secretaries of Commerce and Homeland Security to set a national goal and develop airport-specific action plans to enhance the entry process.

Results At A Glance: 

  • Generated more than 204 million impressions and 127 media placements across top-tier national press, regional newspapers, radio, local broadcast and cable television
  • Coverage by CNN, USA Today, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Politico, Travel Weekly and other publications
  • 150,000 Twitter engagements
  • Nearly 20,000 visits to
  • Increased dialogue with more than 1,000 re-tweets using the rally call #travelersunite
  • Facebook campaign reached 1.1 million individuals, resulted in 24,000 interactions, 5,360 “likes” and nearly 1,000 additional fans
  • Earned PR News Social Media Icon Awards, “Best Facebook PR Campaign” and The Holmes Report’s Global SABRE Award and Gold U.S. SABRE Award for best campaign for an Association