You can't quarantine joy. You can't quarantine movement. You can't quarantine Zumba.
By Alberto Perlman
In recent times we have become accustomed to disruption in the fitness industry, often coming from technology and other industries that look to play in our arena. However, the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic forced us to reimagine our instructor networks (Zumba and Strong Nation) in a way that we never thought was possible nor required before. This disruption has created interesting opportunities for our education division and for our instructors to expand their horizons.
The entry point for any individual to become a Zumba or Strong Nation Instructor has been through live, face-to-face trainings. This has been successfully executed across 188 countries and in over 25 languages by our team of fantastic educators. However, when studios closed and hosts had no ability to facilitate live trainings, we needed to pivot to ensure that we continue to create opportunities for individuals to become instructors and join our amazing community.
We had been working on an online, entry-level Zumba training for a number of months in 2019 with a goal to help those who could not attend live trainings (e.g. someone who lives too far). This was immediately prioritized when the pandemic hit and rolled out within a week of live trainings shutting down in most countries. This online course is extremely comprehensive and allows individuals to become instructors from the comfort of their own home. We have incorporated proprietary AI technology into the training course, as well as allocated live coaches to support people during their journey. The coaches are the same Zumba Education Specialists that were conducting in-person trainings before.
The feedback has been exceptional with satisfaction ratings on par with live trainings. Also, the time to complete the course typically ranges from 10 hours to 2 days in the convenience of people's homes (our live training is a full, one-day commitment). Most recently, we have released Zoom based trainings for our music driven HIIT program, Strong Nation, and the reviews have been phenomenal.
Additional opportunities have also been created for our Zumba and Strong Nation Instructors during the pandemic to allow them to safeguard their income as well as be successful. These have ranged from creating our own teaching platform to allowing instructors to teach virtually on platforms like Zoom and Google Hangouts. We have also initiated Facebook Groups for support and provided tutorials to ensure that they are completely up to speed on the nuances of teaching in a virtual environment.
The response has been enormous, and a large percentage of our instructor base is generating income and connecting to their students online. We have also started to see a trend in outdoor, contactless, spread out outdoor classes which seem to be attracting lots of interest.
We have created as many engagement opportunities directly with our instructor base as possible, such as twice daily livestream classes, virtual convention experiences and bonus educational courses to support our instructors. Creating these unique experiences have allowed us to continue to engage with our instructors on a real and personal level.
Being a community-focused organization with members across the globe in varying levels of lockdown, abilities, frustrations and personal challenges mean that we need to have clear communication available at all times. Like most businesses, our home office was immediately closed and our entire organization was also working remotely within a couple of weeks of the pandemic hitting the US. With an all “hands on deck” approach, we continued as an organization that is quick to respond and exceptional with customer service. We also provided Membership Assistance Relief to our instructors in need, set up a Zumba Family Fund to help instructors who are frontline workers or have suffered tragedies related to covid-19, and we are embarking on a campaign to provide 1 million free meals through foodbanks around the world.
We are committed to providing comprehensive educational opportunities to individuals looking to enter the fitness and dance industry. Regardless of whether this is a hobby or full-time career, we offer ongoing support to achieve their goals. Although our revenue has been hit hard, the Zumba ecosystem and brand continue to be well poised as a solution during this challenging time. Should you or any others wish to become instructors, please visit www.zumba.com or www.strongnation.com.
About Alberto Perlman
Alberto Perlman is Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Zumba Fitness, LLC, the largest branded fitness program in the world. The global lifestyle brand fuses fitness, entertainment and culture into a dance-party experience and has more than 15 million weekly participants in 200,000 locations across 180-plus countries.