SHARE Center Crowns Winners of 2017 STR Student Market Study Competition


STR's SHARE Center crowned a graduate team from Purdue University Northwest and an undergraduate team from West Virginia University as winners of the 2017 STR Student Market Study Competition at HX: The Hotel Experience in New York City.

The competition featured 31 teams representing 26 colleges and universities from around the world. Each team selected a major metropolitan market to research and analyze in the months leading up to the conference. The teams were provided with guidance on market study presentations as well as a comprehensive set of reports and data from STR. The teams then presented their analysis at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

"This is the third year for the competition, and we're amazed that so many schools have embraced it as an experience they want their students to be involved with each year," said Duane Vinson, STR VP and assistant director of the SHARE Center. "Many schools hold internal competitions to determine the best student team to put forward to represent their school in New York. We're also seeing more international schools in the competition, with teams from Australia, China and Switzerland taking part this year."

In the graduate division, Purdue University Northwest's winning team of Richard Chambers, Yeonju Bae, Madi Walker, Carolyn Sandrick, David Arredondo and Paul Money presented on the Denver hotel market. Team Purdue University Northwest's presentation was advised by Wendy Kasche, assistant professor and interim assistant dean for undergraduate programs in Purdue University Northwest's White Lodging School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

"It has truly been an honor to mentor aspiring students in the third STR Student Market Study Competition," Kasche said. "The opportunity to work with real data and present before industry professionals has provided a rare and invaluable experience for these graduate students. We appreciate the opportunity to participate in such an exciting event, and I look forward to challenging new students in next year's event." 

(L-R): Richard Chambers, Yeonju Bae, Madi Walker, Carolyn Sandrick and David Arredondo with STR senior VP Steve Hood
(L-R): Richard Chambers, Yeonju Bae, Madi Walker, Carolyn Sandrick and David Arredondo with STR senior VP Steve Hood

Students from University of Missouri finished second, and a team from Texas Tech University, which took first place in 2016, placed third in the graduate division.

In the undergraduate division, West Virginia University’s winning team of Matthew Smith, Carrie Digman, Emily Linton, Caroline Morris, Lauren Jurcevich and Nicole Flesche presented on the Pittsburgh hotel market. Team West Virginia University presenters were co-advised by A.J. Aluri, associate professor of West Virginia University’s Department of Management, and Frank DeMarco, teaching associate professor of hospitality and tourism management. 

"I am very proud of our student team. We started our Hospitality and Tourism Management major in the College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University in fall 2014,” said Aluri. “This is a great milestone for our students as we are emerging as one of the top hospitality programs in the country. The STR Market Study Competition sets a higher standard for the undergraduate hospitality programs in the world. STR is the leader in hotel market data and benchmarking, and participating in this international competition prepares students to become future leaders in the hospitality and tourism industry."

(L-R): Matthew Smith, Carrie Digman  Emily Linton, Caroline Morris, Lauren Jurcevich and Nicole Flesche with Steve Hood
(L-R): Matthew Smith, Carrie Digman  Emily Linton, Caroline Morris, Lauren Jurcevich and Nicole Flesche with Steve Hood

Niagara University, which finished in first place in 2015, finished in second place; and University of Delaware placed third in the competition’s undergraduate division.

“Our judges, drawn from different areas of the hospitality and tourism industry, are always impressed with how prepared the students are and how professionally they deliver their presentations,” Vinson said. 

Each presenting team received a plaque, the top three teams received special recognition, and the winning teams in both the graduate and undergraduate categories received a US$1,000 cash prize.

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, there are more than 750 member schools from 65 countries.  For more information, please contact

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