Theses Doctoral

Fundamental Tradeoffs for Modeling Customer Preferences in Revenue Management

Desir, Antoine Minh

Revenue management (RM) is the science of selling the right product, to the right person, at the right price. A key to the success of RM, which now spans a broad array of industries, is its grounding in mathematical modeling and analytics. This dissertation contributes to the development of new RM tools by: (1) exploring some fundamental tradeoffs underlying any RM problems, and (2) designing efficient algorithms for some RM applications. Another underlying theme of this dissertation is the modeling of customer preferences, a key component of any RM problem.
The first chapters of this dissertation focus on the model selection problem: many demand models are available but picking the right model is a challenging task. In particular, we explore the tension between the richness of a model and its tractability. To quantify this tradeoff, we focus on the assortment optimization problem, a very general and core RM problem. To capture customer preferences in this context, we use choice models, a particular type of demand model. In Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 4 we design efficient algorithms for the assortment optimization problem under different choice models. By assessing the strengths and weaknesses of different choice models, we can quantify the cost in tractability one has to pay for better predictive power. This in turn leads to a better understanding of the tradeoffs underlying the model selection problem.
In Chapter 5, we focus on a different question underlying any RM problem: choos- ing how to sell a given product. We illustrate this tradeoff by focusing on the problem of selling ad impressions via Internet display advertising platforms. In particular, we study how the presence of risk-averse buyers affects the desire for reservation con- tracts over real time buy via a second-price auction. In order to capture the risk aversion of buyers, we study different utility models.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Industrial Engineering and Operations Research
Thesis Advisors
Goyal, Vineet
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 19, 2017