STR SHARE Centers: real data for colleges and universities

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. — When STR decided to set up the SHARE Center to provide hotel information to colleges and universities, little did they know the program would mushroom to 530+ schools.

Duane Vinson (left) and Steve Hood.

Duane Vinson (left) and Steve Hood.

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. — When STR decided to set up the SHARE Center to provide hotel information to colleges and universities, little did they know the program would mushroom to 530+ schools, including 16 in Canada. 

“We would always help professors and students who would call or email about information,” said Duane Vinson, who works with Steve Hood to run the program. “There was no structure and we dealt with maybe the top 10 schools. About four years ago, we decided to broaden the reach. We thought we might get 50 to 60 schools, but now we have more than 530 schools. The response has just been incredible.”

After an initial free trial period where professors can explore materials and resources available, the SHARE Center offers a tiered program, with costs depending on the number of faculty involved and number of reports requested.

“The cost is not significant,” Vinson said. “If a school comes back and says this is not in their budget, we would never say they had to drop the program.”

The SHARE Center also works with the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education to help market the program to the academic community.

Help ranges from sample reports and reference documents, to help with projects, ideas for class, or for work on a publication or speech. “There is a lot of collaboration with professors, in hotel or other industries. We have a lot of contacts in related areas such as airline or cruise data.” 

Information is customized — for example, a college or university might want to look at the impact of Airbnb, a natural event like an earthquake, or a sporting event on hotel occupancy, ADR or RevPAR within their community. SHARE can provide that information.

SHARE, an acronym for Supporting Hotel Academic Research and Education, also offers Certification in Hotel Industry Analytics (CHIA) in partnership with AHLEI (American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute.) “Basically, it gives graduating students a stamp of approval — that they understand STR reports and hotel metrics.”

University of Guelph offers this certification, and is a supporter of SHARE. “The SHARE Center breathed life into the
information I provide every class
period,” said Justin Taillon, assistant professor, School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Guelph. “We built the CHIA into our
Hospitality Analytics Course. Students are so
excited to earn the certification and then use
what they learn.”

SHARE also offers a shorter version of CHIA, the Hotel Industry Foundation and Introduction to Analytics (HIFIA), suitable for two-year college programs.

Asked what's next, Vinson says that while they have been geared toward students and professors in hotel operations, they would like to set up a module for tourism based on tourism analytics. They would also look at real estate and information technology for focused versions of the CHIA certification.