Ann Marie Russo is a home-based agent whose
business is "about 99%" in the swingers-and-nudist niche. It
happened by accident, she said.
She said she and
her husband like to relax at nude beaches. After numerous
conversations with fellow sunbathers, Russo -- who at the time was
on staff with a brick-and-mortar agency -- realized there was a
market for her among nudists who wanted assistance with booking
holidays where they could shed their clothes when on a beach or
maybe more often than that.
As that business
grew, it morphed into a specialty that encompassed swingers because
sometimes, though not always, the two go hand in hand, Russo
The business grew
partly by word of mouth because Russo's first clients were
comfortable with her, and they shared the information with
"Clients have to
feel comfortable talking to their agent about this kind of travel,"
she said. "It's very private, and people often won't go to their
neighborhood travel agent for this."
Russo took her
business home in 2000. Home is in Apopka, Fla., and she is now
president of A&S Travel Center of Florida, working with A&S
Travel Center, Wallingford, Conn., as her host and producing an
estimated $400,000 in volume.
her home-based operation was primarily focused on traveling disc
jockeys. As air commissions dwindled to zero and service fees could
not make up for the loss, that business also dwindled, and Russo turned her attention to her other
While word of mouth
was very helpful, building that business was nevertheless a slog
during the early days, she said.
"I'd go to Yahoo
Groups and spend days posting special trips. We'd go to swingers
clubs and hotel socials and give away Hedonism trips [with Hedonism
sponsorship]. "It was exhausting in those first couple of
Now she has a good
core of customers who live all over the U.S. with a few in Europe.
Her main annual project is a swingers cruise group of about 500,
for which she arranges lots of private parties and shore
The easier work,
Russo said, is the bookings for individuals because, for nudists or
swingers or both, there are only a few resorts and even fewer tour
operators to choose from.
She knows the
management at most or all of them, which helps in getting good
prices or services.
As a result, she
said, "I can make a $3,000 booking in a few seconds."
She books clients
at nudist resorts in warm-weather states and in the Caribbean as
well as at any of the several Caribbean resorts that have separate
As to the question
of whether staff at nudist resorts wear clothes, she said cocktail
waitresses are topless.
Other staff wear
clothes, but she said they don't have to.
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