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Revenue Management Without Forecasting or Optimization: An Adaptive Algorithm for Determining Airline Seat Protection Levels


  • Garrett van Ryzin

    () (Graduate School of Business, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027)

  • Jeff McGill

    () (School of Business, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada)


We investigate a simple adaptive approach to optimizing seat protection levels in airline revenue management systems. The approach uses only historical observations of the relative frequencies of certain seat-filling events to guide direct adjustments of the seat protection levels in accordance with the optimality conditions of Brumelle and McGill (1993). Stochastic approximation theory is used to prove the convergence of this adaptive algorithm to the optimal protection levels. In a simulation study, we compare the revenue performance of this adaptive approach to a more traditional method that combines a censored forecasting method with a common seat allocation heuristic (EMSR-b).

Suggested Citation

  • Garrett van Ryzin & Jeff McGill, 2000. "Revenue Management Without Forecasting or Optimization: An Adaptive Algorithm for Determining Airline Seat Protection Levels," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 46(6), pages 760-775, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:46:y:2000:i:6:p:760-775

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Etschmaier, MM & Rothstein, M, 1974. "Operations research in the management of the airlines," Omega, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 157-179, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pak, K. & Piersma, N., 2002. "Airline revenue management: an overview of OR techniques 1982-2001," Econometric Institute Research Papers EI 2002-03, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Erasmus School of Economics (ESE), Econometric Institute.
    2. Lan, Yingjie & Ball, Michael O. & Karaesmen, Itir Z. & Zhang, Jean X. & Liu, Gloria X., 2015. "Analysis of seat allocation and overbooking decisions with hybrid information," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 240(2), pages 493-504.
    3. Yingjie Lan & Michael O. Ball & Itir Z. Karaesmen, 2011. "Regret in Overbooking and Fare-Class Allocation for Single Leg," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 13(2), pages 194-208, December.
    4. repec:spr:compst:v:70:y:2009:i:3:p:477-504 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Georgia Perakis & Guillaume Roels, 2010. "Robust Controls for Network Revenue Management," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 12(1), pages 56-76, November.
    6. Chiang, David Ming-Huang & Wu, Andy Wei-Di, 2011. "Discrete-order admission ATP model with joint effect of margin and order size in a MTO environment," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(2), pages 761-775, October.
    7. Roland T. Rust & Tuck Siong Chung, 2006. "Marketing Models of Service and Relationships," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 25(6), pages 560-580, 11-12.
    8. Sumit Kunnumkal & Huseyin Topaloglu, 2009. "A stochastic approximation method for the single-leg revenue management problem with discrete demand distributions," Mathematical Methods of Operations Research, Springer;Gesellschaft für Operations Research (GOR);Nederlands Genootschap voor Besliskunde (NGB), vol. 70(3), pages 477-504, December.
    9. Becher, Michael, 2009. "Simultaneous capacity and price control based on fuzzy controllers," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(2), pages 365-382, October.
    10. repec:eee:ejores:v:263:y:2017:i:2:p:337-348 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. repec:spr:eurjtl:v:7:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s13676-017-0109-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Pak, K. & Piersma, N., 2002. "airline revenue management," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2002-12-LIS, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    13. William L. Cooper & Diwakar Gupta, 2006. "Stochastic Comparisons in Airline Revenue Management," Manufacturing & Service Operations Management, INFORMS, vol. 8(3), pages 221-234, February.
    14. Yingjie Lan & Huina Gao & Michael O. Ball & Itir Karaesmen, 2008. "Revenue Management with Limited Demand Information," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 54(9), pages 1594-1609, September.
    15. Hung, Yi-Feng & Chen, Chien-Hao, 2013. "An effective dynamic decision policy for the revenue management of an airline flight," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 440-450.


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