Our Work

ICF Next × Hotels.com

Under a rock

A chance to live under a rock, without Wi-Fi, during all of election week.
Under a Rock
ICF Next x Hotels.com

The situation

It’s fair to say that 2020 was a year the travel and tourism industry would rather forget.

With leisure and business travel at an all-time low, it was harder than ever for booking sites to connect with their consumers. If Hotels.com wanted to stay top-of-mind, they needed to tap into something people were talking about and tie it back to travel in a relevant way.

And that something was the 2020 presidential election.

NPR headline: The Diagnosis: Politis Fatigue Syndrome
a Tweet from @sarahndepityy: I need to live under a rock until election day. I feel it's gonna get dirtier from here on out.
The New York Times Headline: These Americans Are Done With Politics - The Exhausted Majority needs a break.
A Tweet from @joshgondelman: This election makes me envy the quiet dignity with which the dinosaurs went extinct by meteor.
Statistic: 46% of U.S. social media users say they are 'worn out' by political posts and discussions
A Tweet from @Apayl: Words can't describe how tired I am of this [censored] election.
Definition of political fatigue: when you are exhausted by all the political crap in the media
A Tweet from @_EazyC_: I'm gonna pull a Patrick Star real quick and live under a rock until the next election.
Venn diagram

Realest world truth: People are over politics

Real World Truth:
- Political Fatigue Syndrome
- Overconsumption of Political AdvertisementsBrand Truth:
- Escapism
- Recharging
- Rewarding
- HumorA person icon in the center of a Venn diagramarrow pointing to the center of diagramWhere we build emotional connection: This brand "gets me".

The solution

Offering poll-weary voters a much-needed chance to escape, we listed a remote, man-made cave in New Mexico for all of election week for the bargain price of $25. In other words, a chance to live under a rock.

Though this room was only available on a first-come, first-serve basis, those who tried to book it and failed automatically received 20% off any stay, at any property, with the word “rock” in its name.

A Tweet from @hotelsdotcom: Election burnout making you [angry emoji faces]? We can help you swerve** the election week convos and live under a rock ... literally. 

**just make sure you vote first, cool ppl vote.

Image pointing to a cave in the middle of nowhere with the text "hide here."
Visit Site
A political advertisement in someone's lawn voting for living under a rock with the caption of "Election Burnout?"An image of a home built into a caveAn image of a home built into a caveAn image of a home built into a cave

The impact

As soon as it hit Hotels.com, everyone started talking about this unique, one-of-a-kind room—from the Washington Post, CNET and People to Thrillist, Travel + Leisure and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

At a time when the world was completely shut down, it helped make travel a big topic of conversation again.


News outlets featured the listing




National morning shows covered the story


Landing page visits
Masthead: Campaign
Masthead: AdAge
Masthead: Cnet
Masthead: Fox News
Masthead: Country Living
Masthead: Business Insider
Masthead: Radio.com
Masthead: New York Post
Masthead: Travel + Leisure
Masthead: The Washington Post