Back to Hospitality: Getting Smarter and More Profitable in a Post-COVID World

Guests are ready to travel again. Greet them with technology that delivers the best guest experience. Explore the new world for hospitality with the 2021 “Back to Hospitality” report from Skift and Oracle.

Four keys to accelerate innovation, resiliency, and growth in hospitality

  • Non-room revenue

    In an effort to recover lost business, hoteliers are placing a greater focus on non-room revenue, exploring ways to better monetize existing products and services, and to capitalize on upsell opportunities.

  • Competing with short-term rentals

    With growing competition from short-term rentals, hoteliers are countering with new initiatives—from marketing their own attributes better to offering amenities and services that help guests “live like a local.”

  • Rethinking hotel operations

    Hoteliers cannot assume pre-pandemic ways of running their businesses can continue unchanged. Industry leaders are rethinking their operations—including distribution, marketing, and staff training—to improve profitability and win guest loyalty.

  • Technology upgrades

    The challenges of 2020 highlighted the need for hospitality IT that could provide 24/7 access to data, facilitate collaboration, and adapt quickly to changing business needs. This explains hoteliers' rising interest in cloud solutions that achieve more with less.

Skift regional spotlight for hospitality recovery

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Research methodology

Drawing on insights from the expertise and experience of the report’s participants (more than 500 hospitality executives and just under 5,000 consumers worldwide), the report is designed to help hoteliers better understand pertinent opportunities and challenges, and to inform and guide the industry as it recovers during this pivotal rebound window of opportunity.

How hotels plan to capture non-room revenue

After a year in which many hotels experimented with new service offerings, the survey explores which new products and services have the most potential. It also explored how hotels could more efficiently monetize and merchandise these aspects of the hotel experience.

Non-room revenue opportunities

“Since 2020, our hospitality business has been exploring new opportunities to grow non-room revenue to supplement business from unsold rooms.”

Non-room executive view

Will customers buy?

Many hotels are now selling various products and services to guests and non-guests beyond just rooms. Assuming they fit your needs, how interested would you be in purchasing these items from a hotel?

Non-room consumer view

Strategies to compete with short-term rentals

2020 saw a significant increase in traveler demand for short-term rental properties. This year’s research explored the most attractive features and amenities of short-term rentals, along with which amenities, features, or marketing strategies hotels might use in order to better compete moving forward.

Short-term competitors

Is your organization considering any of the following property or room changes to better compete with short term rentals?

Short-term rentals executive view

Rental decision drivers

Which of the following features is most important in deciding to stay in a short term rental instead of a hotel?

Short-term rentals consumer view

From staffing to marketing, operations are evolving

The pandemic forced many hotels to make tough decisions about their staffing, operations strategy, remote work plans, and changes to the guest experience. This year’s survey investigated what hotels learned in 2020 to help run their business better, and which operational changes from the pandemic period they plan to continue as travel begins to recover.

Training for success

“We plan to provide additional training or education to our staff to support our plans to create new non-room revenue opportunities.”

Rethinking operations

Distribution strategies

How will you adjust your company’s distribution strategy to sell new non-room revenue products and services?

Rethinking operations

Cloud and tech upgrades drive collaboration, agility

Technology investment typically operates on a long-term timeline for many hotels. But 2020 accelerated a variety of changes implemented by hospitality IT departments. The survey looked at the adoption of technology solutions like cloud-based software, digital tools that help facilitate collaboration, and improvements to the guest experience.

Embracing hospitality tech

“The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated our adoption of new technology at our hospitality business.”

Technology upgrades executive view

Customer expectations

Which of the following changes to the hotel experience (if any) do you hope to see from hotels once you’re willing to travel again?

Technology upgrades consumer view

Skift is the largest intelligence platform in travel, providing media, insights, and marketing to key industry sectors. Through daily news, research, podcasts, and Skift Global Forum conferences, Skift deciphers and defines the trends which matter most to marketers, strategists, and technologists who shape the industry.


SkiftX, Skift’s in-house content marketing studio, works collaboratively with Oracle Hospitality on custom projects to engage the world’s largest travel decision-maker and influencer audiences.

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