Yield Management: A Tool for Capacity-Constrained Service Firm

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Airlines typically sell their seats for a variety of different fares. If customers make reservations early, low fares might be available, but if customers call at the last minute, they will probably have to pay the full fare. Since deregulation, early all airlines have been using a technique called yield management. Yield management allows the airlines to allocate their fixed capacity of seats in the most profitable manner possible. Since the airline's inventory of seats is perishable, the airlines must have a method of quickly and accurately allocating potential demand to capacity. The airline industry has been in the forefront of using management, but yield management has potential application to any firm constrained by capacity. Other services which have adopted yield management include the lodging, rental car, delivery service, rail and cruise line industries. The objective of yield management is to maximize the revenue or yield of the firm. A good yield management system will help the firm decide how much of each type of inventory (whether it be seats on an airplane, rooms in a hotel, or cars in a rental car fleet) to allocate to different types of demand. This article attempts to structure the concept of yield management by reviewing current literature, classifying types of solution approaches, discussing the managerial implications of yield management and presenting a future research agenda. While corporate research on yield management has been performed, most firms are understandably reluctant to share the results of their research with others. Operations management researchers could assist small and medium sized capacity-constrained firms by developing simple and accurate yield management techniques. The intent of the paper is to focus attention n the yield management and stimulate practical and theoretical research in this area.

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revenue; capacity management; airline industry; pricing


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Required Publisher Statement: © Elsevier. Final version published as: Kimes, S. E. (1989). Yield management: A tool for capacity-considered service firms. Journal of Operations Management, 8(4), 348-363. doi:10.1016/0272-6963(89)90035-1.
This version of the work is released under at Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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