Using Dynamic Programming Decomposition for Revenue Management with Opaque Products
BuR Business Research Journal, Vol. 6, No. 1, May 2013
22 Pages Posted: 18 May 2013
Date Written: May 17, 2013
Opaque products enable service providers to hide specific characteristics of their service fulfillment from the customer until after purchase. Prominent examples include internet-based service providers selling airline tickets without defining details, such as departure time or operating airline, until the booking has been made. Owing to the resulting flexibility in resource utilization, the traditional revenue management process needs to be modified. In this paper, we extend dynamic programming decomposition techniques widely used for traditional revenue management to develop an intuitive capacity control approach that allows for the incorporation of opaque products. In a simulation study, we show that the developed approach significantly outperforms other well-known capacity control approaches adapted to the opaque product setting. Based on the approach, we also provide computational examples of how the share of opaque products as well as the degree of opacity can influence the results.
Keywords: capacity control, dynamic programming decomposition, opaque products, revenue management
JEL Classification: C61, M11, M19
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