by Administrator | August 31, 2012


The meetings market is an interesting one to cover, as there is a meeting or convention in just about every industry. Gathering people together and meeting face to face is necessary no matter where you live, how old you are, or what career path you are on.


Were the participants of this year’s Successful Meetings University in for some high-energy fun this week as the 2012 Zumba Instructor Convention had taken over the Orange County Convention Center and many surrounding hotels. 


The group’s enthusiasm was contagious and before long many members of the Successful Meetings University were pumping their legs, gyrating their hips, clapping their hands, and dipping and sliding. 


The host hotel for the Zumba Convention was the Peabody Orlando. Gregg Herning, vice president of sales and marketing for Peabody Hotels and Penny Simon, sales manager, wanted to host the Successful Meetings group but learned Zumba had literally taken over the entire 1,641-room hotel and most of its 300,000 square feet of meeting space.

 “I always believe in making lemonade from lemons,” Herning explained during the Zumba-themed reception the Peabody professionals expertly planned. As the Successful Meetings group gathered in the lobby they were greeted by the top international Zumba instructors in the world who were on a makeshift stage doing their thing. Their moves were inspiring and before long the entire group was following along. 


Zumba, I am told, was started by Alberto Perez, better known as Beto, who was an aerobics teacher in Colombia.  As he was getting ready for a class he was teaching he realized he didn’t have his aerobics CD with him. Instead, he put on merengue and salsa music and Zumba was born. Today, there are said to be 12 million people taking classes every week in approximately 125 countries. Add to that list a few newbies from Successful Meetings University!

- Andrea Doyle