An undergraduate team from Virginia Tech University and graduate students from the University of New Orleans won the SHARE Center's STR Student Market Study Competition held in November.
HENDERSONVILLE, Tennessee—STR’s SHARE Center crowned an undergraduate team from Virginia Tech University and a graduate team from the University of New Orleans as the winners of the STR Student Market Study Competition held virtually during 21-22 November 2020.
Due to the pandemic and the convenience of an online format, the competition attracted its largest turnout on record, with 50 teams representing 44 colleges and universities across 17 countries. For the first time, entrants included schools in Russia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Lithuania, Croatia and South Korea. Teams of three to six students, with the assistance of their faculty advisor, selected a market and were provided with a standard set of reports and data in early September. Over the next eight weeks teams analyzed the data, drew on outside resources and worked together to create the market study presentation. The teams submitted their presentations to be evaluated and scored by seasoned STR speakers. Ten undergraduate teams and five graduate teams were then selected to move on to the final round, where they conducted a 30-minute online presentation to a panel of senior-level industry judges.
“By holding this year’s competition as a virtual event, we anticipated an increase in participation, but we were pleasantly shocked by the amount of interest,” said Duane Vinson, STR VP and assistant director of the SHARE Center. “It was great to have so many new schools represented this year, and we hope to build upon that next year. Each year, the students put so much incredible effort into their analysis and presentations. As I said during the announcement of awards, few of the presentations were perfect, but they were all outstanding. The students and their faculty advisors should be very proud of what they’ve accomplished.”
Virginia Tech’s winning team of Adrien Andenmatten, Matt Bartlett, Adrianna Berrios, Meghan Byrnes, Won Park and Lillian Walker presented on the Norfolk/Virginia Beach market. The team’s presentation was advised by Thomas Duetsch, professor of practice in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Virginia Tech University.
“I am very thankful that STR, in the middle of a pandemic, was able to provide an opportunity for so many university students to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to a real-world situation,” Duetsch said. “Not only did our student team spend countless hours analyzing all the STR data, they also forged professional relationships by meeting via Zoom with DMOs, hoteliers, industry association executives and hotel brokers. Their ability to synthesize so many pieces of information and succinctly and creatively explain the story of a market like Norfolk/Virginia Beach is what makes this competition so special. I am very proud of our Feiertag HTM students and know that they have developed valuable skills through this competition to stand out in a very competitive COVID-19 job market.”
New Orleans’ winning team of Caroline Andrews, Jasmine Curtis, Yvonne Everhardt and Montana Pinell presented on the Austin, Texas market. The team’s presentation was advised by Dr. Han Chen, assistant professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration, and Dr. Yvette Green, associate professor in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Administration.
"It was a team effort. The graduate students who participated in the STR market study enjoyed the whole competition process, right from choosing the city, analyzing real-world data, drawing practical conclusions and presenting them in a professional manner in front of judges from the industry,” Chen said. “We appreciate STR for providing a platform entirely online during a challenging time. The students and the faculty are grateful for this opportunity to represent the University of New Orleans and the school of HRT.”
In the undergraduate section, students from Michigan State University finished second, and a team from Hong Kong Polytechnic University placed third. In the graduate category, students from Louisiana State University in Shreveport and Cal Poly Pomona came in second and third place, respectively.
Each presenting team received a plaque, while the top three teams received special recognition and the winning teams received a US$1,000 prize.
About the SHARE Center
The STR SHARE (Supporting Hotel-related Academic Research and Education) Center supports schools around the globe by providing large volumes of hotel and tourism data, as well as related resources to professors and students for research, student projects and use in the classroom. The SHARE Center’s objective is to help improve the quality and increase the industry relevance of hospitality and tourism research and education. Launched in 2011, nearly 1,000 schools are involved from 80 countries.
STR provides premium data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights for global hospitality sectors. Founded in 1985, STR maintains a presence in 15 countries with a corporate North American headquarters in Hendersonville, Tennessee, an international headquarters in London, and an Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore. STR was acquired in October 2019 by CoStar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGP), the leading provider of commercial real estate information, analytics and online marketplaces. For more information, please visit str.com and costargroup.com.
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