The Collins College Of Hospitality Management

Undergraduate student team wins 2nd overall at the STR Student Market Study Competition in NYC

STR competition


On November 10, 2019, six undergraduate students from Cal Poly Pomona’s (CPP) Collins College of Hospitality Management (CCHM) took 2nd place in the 2019 Smith Travel Research (STR) Student Market Study Competition. Coached and led by Linchi Kwok, Ph.D., and Margie Jones, Ph.D., the CPP team participated in the competition as newcomers with 25 other colleges and universities. This was a significant victory for our students and helped The Collins College position itself among the renowned hospitality programs in the country and world.

STR is the leading data analytics provider for the lodging industry. Since its debut in 2015, the STR Competition has received attention from the hospitality programs around the world. The competition took place during the HX: Hotel Experience Trade Show in New York City in November 2019.

“The challenge of being the first team at Collins to compete meant we had to forge our path without the benefit of having old PowerPoints or previous teams to guide us,” sophomore team member Sean Mayor said. “We started from square one and built our way up through constant practices, feedback, and revisions.” 

STR assigned each of the 25 competing teams a major US hotel market to review; the Cal Poly Pomona team received Seattle.  The team analyzed the STR hotel data for Seattle, created a powerpoint presentation of their findings, and gave a 25-minute presentation to a panel of judges.  After the presentation, our students responded to additional questions from the panel with ease. 

“The students had become quite accustomed to questions and knew the Seattle hotel market inside and out as many faculty, staff, members of the school’s Board of Advisors, and alumni volunteered their time to watch and critique the presentation,” said Kwok, a faculty advisor to the team. “Their success would not have been realized without this outside support.  Everyone shared the same goal and kept an open mind for feedback and suggestions. It was truly a team effort.”

“None of the students had been exposed to a hotel market study before joining the team, but each of the team members shared excitement to learn and take on this challenge; this positive attitude contributed immensely to the team’s success,” senior team member Natalie Thé said. “Additionally, each member being receptive to feedback allowed us to improve the presentation and our performance constantly; we were all very proud of the results.”

The students that made up the team included (in alphabetical order of their last names) include:
Emily Fedorchek, Heather Kingsbury, Devon Lilley, Sean Mayor, Marissa Robledo and Natalie Thé

BIG thank you to Dr. Linchi Kwok, Dr. Margie Jones, Carolina Sanchez, and Hank Jones for their continued mentorship and coaching.

To view Dr. Kwok's publication on, CLICK HERE. 

To view Dr. Kwok's publication on, CLICK HERE.

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