Student Market Team Interviewed Powerhouse of Hotel Professionals To Prepare for 2021 STR Competition

November 8, 2021

This year, Collins College students, Nadya Capozzi, Michael Jeong, and Kodi Tang chose to research and present the Orange County market for this year’s Smith Travel Research (STR) Virtual Student Market Analysis Competition

Part of understanding the lodging market requires knowledge of the power of the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE), surf tourism and great places for eating and drinking. To get the inside scoop, this team scored interviews with a powerhouse of hotel development advisors.

The student team kicked off their efforts by talking with Sarah Chen, Convention Marketing Manager at Visit Anaheim. Chen shared great insights on Disney Forward, the Anaheim Convention Center, the new ocV!BE development and exciting new lodging products coming into the OC market.  

Once anchored with the destination marketing organization perspective, Associate Professor Linchi Kwok, Ph. D and Professor Margie Jones, Ph. D worked closely with Raj Chandnani, Board of Advisor member and Executive Vice President and Chief Development Officer of WATG Los Angeles, to interviews with different industry professionals.

Through this collaboration, the student team interviewed one of the OC’s premier hotel developers and past honoree of Hospitality Uncorked, Bob Olson, who is the founder, CEO, and President of R.D Olson Development, as well as Greg Villegas, 1991 architecture alumnus and Vice President and Director of Construction & Full Services at WATG and Wimberly Interiors.  

Olson and Villegas explained to the team what it takes to be a developer in Orange County through the use of stamina. They also identified business drivers for the local market and preferred submarkets, as well as lessons learned through their past and current developments.  

"It has been an incredible experience to gain new insights and knowledge about this industry by being a part of this competition,” said student team member, Michael Jeong. “I am confident that we will do well and win first place if we qualify for the finalists' stage."

Join us in sending the team the best wishes as they prepare to share their research and analysis about the OC lodging market in the competition. 


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