Travel when the time is right? Fu*k it. Let's plan it now.
That’s the attitude a Calgary-based travel advisor is embracing this month as part of a head-turning marketing campaign she’s developed, called “The Fu*k-It List,” that’s aimed at securing future bookings.
“The ‘Fu*k-It List' is about living life on your own terms to accomplish whatever your dreams are,” says creator Tannis Dyrland, owner of Travel With Tannis, an affiliate of The Travel Agent Next Door.
Dyrland coined the term in January after realizing that 2021, as far as the reopening of the travel industry is concerned, was already shaping out to be a dud after the Canadian government unveiled stricter border and air restrictions.
The longtime travel professional needed something she could sink her teeth into, so she created a proactive phrase that not only encapsulates society’s frustration with the COVID-19 pandemic, but also gives people a direct push to commit to a future trip – instead of putting it off.
“The idea is ‘Fu*k it – let’s do it,” says Dyrland, who, since March 1, has been releasing three worldly itineraries each week as part of a branded “Fu*k-It List” on her Instagram account.
The trips are spectacular getaways, to say the least, ranging from wellness trips in Bali to medina adventures in Morocco to palace-hopping in Vietnam to the beaches and reefs of Australia – all within a reasonable price point, comparable to a luxury all-inclusive stay in Mexico.
“I have personally been to the majority of these destinations,” explains Dyrland, who also hosts her own podcast about travel. “Or they are places I have always wanted to go, but put off.”
Dyrland was at first worried that using salty language, like “fu*k,” in her marketing materials might turn people off.
But it’s the naysayers who can wash their own mouths out with soap because the complete opposite happened.
“The response has been incredible,” says Dyrland, who, since launching The Fu*k-it List, has seen a spike in business, having recently secured group bookings to Bali, Morocco, and beyond, for travel in 2022 and 2023, as a direct result of her campaign.
Fu*k bucket lists
Travel bucket lists – the places a person hopes to visit during their lifetime before they “kick the bucket” – are a tale as old as time and they can certainly plant a seed for inspiring travel dreams, especially as the coronavirus continues to interfere with plans.
And Dyrland’s Fu*k-It List is indeed still about planning future trips – “but not like you’re dying,” the travel agent says.
“I’ve always struggled with the term ‘bucket list’ because it implies death,” she says.
While creating The F*ck-It List was new and exciting, Dyrland still did her due diligence and paid a consultant to review the colourful term, just to make sure she wasn’t crossing any professional boundaries.
“I went to a social media marketer and asked, “Can I do this?’ And she was like, ‘Absolutely,” Dyrland says.
The only thing Dyrland was advised to do was modify the expletive by replacing the “c” with an asterisk.
“Some people see that “word” and it immediately turns them off. Whereas if you see it implied, it’s just implied,” Dyrland says.
She even went as far as creating an official dictionary term for "Fu*k-It List," a noun, which she defines as “the desire to live life on your own terms and accomplish your travel dreams” and “to live and not plan like you’re dying.”
Used in a sentence? “I’m adding that to my fu*k-it list,” the definition reads.
“I wasn’t sure if it was too vulgar or insinuated this profane attitude,” Dyrland tells PAX. “I didn’t want people to think it’s an angry thing.”
But she thinks the term is resonating because “people have had enough” of the pandemic, especially as spring approaches.
“People are feeling stuck,” says Dyrland. “Not a lot of people are sitting on monetary wealth either. But putting down a $250 dollar deposit on a trip, and paying it off over the next 15 months, gives people something to look forward to.”
Given the return she’s already seen, the money she used to pay that consultant was “the best $500 I ever spent,” she adds.
Time to start living
It’s eye-catching messaging that truly differs from the safe and soft rhetoric the travel industry has been circulating in recent months, specifically about booking travel...“when the time is right.”
Really, the tone out there is pretty vanilla when compared to something like The Fu*k-It List, which also sums up Dyrland’s unwillingness to be beaten down anymore.
“It’s not that I’m not compassionate about what’s going on, but I have been absolutely decimated this year,” she says, referring to the hits travel agencies have endured over the past 12 months, from having commissions recalled to working endless hours, for free.
“I can’t have this light attitude about it anymore,” she says.
This is why Dyrland is also giving the middle finger to the suppliers that she says didn’t support her business when she needed it most.
The itineraries featured in Dyrland’s Fu*k-It List are specifically linked to companies that “supported me during the pandemic and never recalled my commission,” she says.
With that, Dyrland will continue releasing Fu*k-It List itineraries on her Instagram throughout March, hoping it will inspire more to stop “living in the doom and gloom and look ahead.”
“My whole thing is about getting people to feel energized and optimistic,” she says. “I think we’ve all had a taste of what it’s like to not live...and that’s scary.”
“I just want more people to say, “Fu*k it – let’s do it.”
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