SUU Hospitality Places at National STR Student Market Competition

Published: December 18, 2023 | Author: Mary Amateis | Read Time: 2 minutes

Hospitality team dressed professionally for the competition

Southern Utah University’s hospitality program had the privilege of attending the 2023 STR & ICHRIE Americas Student Market Study Competition for the second year in a row. Student teams from the top hospitality programs from around the world compete in the STR competition. The event is the opportunity of a lifetime for students to showcase their knowledge and research ability in reading and analyzing market research.  This year, SUU was represented by four hospitality students: Matthew Watson, Makayla DeSargant, Ryann Arnold and Courtney McClelland. The team walked away with a sixth place award, edging out 16 teams from the North American region’s best hospitality programs. 

Each student team was tasked with conducting their research on the hospitality industry for a market of their own choice, using STR data. The teams examined both current and economic trends, seasonality and business patterns to provide advice for the Salt Lake City market. Speceifically, on hotel performances in the Salt Lake City region with interpretation and investment. The virtual competition kicked off with a preliminary round in which teams from participating universities presented online to a panel of senior-level industry professionals. Finalists were then selected to move on to global competition. The University’s hospitality team had help from Assistant Professor of Hospitality Sijun Liu who served as the team advisor. 

"Being able to participate in this competition with my fellow hospitality peers was an amazing experience,” said Ryann Arnold, an hospitality student who participated in the competition. “The hard work and time that all of us put into the competition helped create stronger bonds within our major. It was also fun to be able to apply the things that we're learning in class in a professional manner within the industry."

The STR released all available data to participants at the end of August. The student teams then have two and a half months to analyze the data and come up with a comprehensive report on their selected market. The process is designed to promote the development of analytical expertise, critical thinking, presentation skills and teamwork. 

All students participating were equipped with a Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics, which they had the opportunity to earn through prior class coursework.

The STR Market competition is a fantastic opportunity for young professionals to put the skills they are learning in the classroom to use analyzing and interpreting data in the hospitality industry. The competition also offers a great chance for students to meet peers and network with professionals in the industry to get a foot in the door after graduation. 

For more information about next year's STR competition and SUU’s HRHM program involvement, email Professor Sijun Liu at

Tags: Business Hospitality

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