Single-Leg Revenue Management with Advice

by   Santiago Balseiro, et al.

Single-leg revenue management is a foundational problem of revenue management that has been particularly impactful in the airline and hotel industry: Given n units of a resource, e.g. flight seats, and a stream of sequentially-arriving customers segmented by fares, what is the optimal online policy for allocating the resource. Previous work focused on designing algorithms when forecasts are available, which are not robust to inaccuracies in the forecast, or online algorithms with worst-case performance guarantees, which can be too conservative in practice. In this work, we look at the single-leg revenue management problem through the lens of the algorithms-with-advice framework, which attempts to optimally incorporate advice/predictions about the future into online algorithms. In particular, we characterize the Pareto frontier that captures the tradeoff between consistency (performance when advice is accurate) and competitiveness (performance when advice is inaccurate) for every advice. Moreover, we provide an online algorithm that always achieves performance on this Pareto frontier. We also study the class of protection level policies, which is the most widely-deployed technique for single-leg revenue management: we provide an algorithm to incorporate advice into protection levels that optimally trades off consistency and competitiveness. Moreover, we empirically evaluate the performance of these algorithms on synthetic data. We find that our algorithm for protection level policies performs remarkably well on most instances, even if it is not guaranteed to be on the Pareto frontier in theory.


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