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Entries in Zumba (32)

Monday
Nov082010

Zumba Bonus!

By Jon Feld

Chances are, you’re probably very familiar with—if not already a huge fan of—Zumba, one of the fastest-growing group fitness programs in the industry today.

In 1999, celebrity fitness trainer Beto Perez brought Rumbacize—a dance fitness class that he created based on salsa, merengue, and other Latin music—to the U.S. from his native Cali, Colombia. Perez quickly teamed with entrepreneurs Alberto Perlman and Alberto Aghion and, in 2002, they re-branded the program Zumba and secured a deal with a large infomercial company to launch the concept nationwide. The exposure resulted in the sale of hundreds of thousands of videos to the U.S. market through its parent, Hollywood, Florida-based Zumba Fitness, LLC.

“The Zumba program reached mass awareness as a use-at-home videotape and DVD set sold via television infomercials,” says CEO Perlman. “When members started asking for it at clubs, we started training instructors. As consumer demand continues to grow, so does our instructor network. Currently, we’re in 60,000 locations in 105 countries, and 7.5 million people take Zumba classes every week.” In contrast, in 2006, the Zumba program was in about 2,000 locations in just three countries.

CBI spoke with Perlman about the company’s mission, its evolving programming and growing culture, and more.

And, if you haven’t yet experienced the Zumba phenomenon yourself, check out Mia’s Mother-Daughter Zumba Party!

CBI: How has Zumba’s mission served your long-term growth?

Alberto Perlman: Our mission is to make our instructors successful by keeping their classes full. Our goal is to get to 100 million Zumba students worldwide. It’s achievable because Zumba has created an entirely new category of fitness—a category that caters to the people who don’t usually work out. It’s easy to bring fitness people into the club, but we’re in the business of bringing in all types of people, including non fitness-oriented people, into our classes.

CBI: It seems as if there’s a growing Zumba culture out there—not just around the programming, but around building community. Are you seeing this? 

AP: Zumba is all about community. The objective of a Zumba class is to have a great time; fitness is almost a by-product. Both our instructors and self-proclaimed “Zumba fanatics” are passionate about the Zumba program.

Zumba strikes a very deep chord in people. Some people even tattoo the logo on their bodies. Zumba is not about how a member looks after months of working out (although they do look quite good); it’s about how a member feels in the moment, while they’re working out. It’s social. The Zumba program brings people together because the workout feels more like a party. People have fun, make friends, and laugh at parties—the same is true for a Zumba class. Zumba builds retention by building community.

To support our community, we recently launched Z-LIFE Magazine, a lifestyle magazine focusing on the passion, energy, and vibrancy that bring our amazing community together.

CBI: How have your specialty programs helped expand your market base?

AP: We created these programs because people were asking for them. The active older adults don’t want to do bicep curls; they want to dance and have a good time. So we created Zumba Gold—which adds rhythms like cha-cha, jive, swing, and tango. We’ve heard some incredible love stories about older couples meeting at their Zumba Gold class. It’s amazing. Zumbatomic is our answer to kids’ fitness offerings that are boring and/or competitive. Zumbatomic is exercise in disguise for kids. Zumba Toning targets our current base and helps those consumers who want to focus on toning arms and shoulders without counting reps. Aqua Zumba…well, let’s just say we are heating up the pool party.

CBI: What’s new at Zumba?

AP: There’s a lot going on—as always. In the fourth quarter of this year, we’ll be launching our first Zumba video game. The really cool thing about the game is that, like all our at-home products, they help get people prepared to take a live class at a gym.

We’re also working on several strategic initiatives, such as figuring out how to get more men into the group exercise room and growing our relationships with major club chains around the world. We don’t charge the clubs any licensing fees, but we literally offer them full-service support free of charge. We’re also more than tripling our advertising spending to get our gym partners more members. And we still have a long way to go outside of the U.S. Currently, we’re working on licensing more and more new instructors in Europe and Australia, and building infrastructure to support them.

More than anything, as we grow, we take measures to protect the essence of the Zumba spirit. We want people to literally feel the music. As we continue to expand, our chief goal is to ensure that the magic remains the same.

Friday
Sep102010

Ready to Make a Splash?

By Patricia Glynn

Are you looking to grow your business? Do you want to boost revenues, increase retention, and attract new members? Well, there’s one solution you may want to consider, as it’s proving highly effective for many clubs: just add water.

As the September CBI magazine feature article “Making a Slash!” reveals, club-based aquatic programming has, in recent years, undergone a refreshing, bottom-line-enhancing makeover. Yes, senior-centric water aerobics classes and youth swim lessons are still flourishing staples. But now, more inventive and athletic courses—such as aqua combat, scuba diving, synchronized swimming, triathlon training camps, aqua boot camp, and ZUMBA Splash—are fast becoming popular mainstays and are making the pool the ultimate place to get fit and have fun. Indeed, these sort of fresh, updated offerings, along with the revitalization of more traditional stand-bys, have members and prospects alike eager to suit up and dive in.

One location in particular, Wave House Athletic Club (WHAC) in San Diego, California, is doing quite swimmingly, thanks to its revamped and incredibly innovative aquatics department. The 3,000-member-strong facility, situated on the beach and originally built in 1925, really sets a new standard and offers a little bit of everything: pool parties, aquatic personal training, water polo competitions, mixed-martial-arts-inspired classes, and 10’ high barreling waves ideal for wannabe surfers looking to “hang ten.” Simply put, WHAC, which features a 12,000-square-foot pool, as well as two outdoor artificial surfing simulators, is not only successfully attracting plenty of the traditional pool cohorts (children and seniors), but the site is also drawing, in droves, two commonly underrepresented groups—young adults and the middle-aged.

To find out more about how WHAC is doing it, and to learn how others, too, are getting more members into the pool, check out this month’s issue, available now in your mailbox and online

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