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Dynamic price competition with fixed capacities
Talluri, Kalyan; Martínez de Albéniz, Víctor
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
Many revenue management (RM) industries are characterized by (a) fixed capacities in theshort term (e.g., hotel rooms, seats on an airline flight), (b) homogeneous products (e.g., twoairline flights between the same cities at similar times), and (c) customer purchasing decisionslargely influenced by price. Competition in these industries is also very high even with just twoor three direct competitors in a market. However, RM competition is not well understood andpractically all known implementations of RM software and most published models of RM donot explicitly model competition. For this reason, there has been considerable recent interestand research activity to understand RM competition. In this paper we study price competitionfor an oligopoly in a dynamic setting, where each of the sellers has a fixed number of unitsavailable for sale over a fixed number of periods. Demand is stochastic, and depending on howit evolves, sellers may change their prices at any time. This reflects the fact that firms constantly,and almost costlessly, change their prices (alternately, allocations at a price in quantity-basedRM), reacting either to updates in their estimates of market demand, competitor prices, orinventory levels. We first prove existence of a unique subgame-perfect equilibrium for a duopoly.In equilibrium, in each state sellers engage in Bertrand competition, so that the seller withthe lowest reservation value ends up selling a unit at a price that is equal to the equilibriumreservation value of the competitor. This structure hence extends the marginal-value conceptof bid-price control, used in many RM implementations, to a competitive model. In addition,we show that the seller with the lowest capacity sells all its units first. Furthermore, we extendthe results transparently to n firms and perform a number of numerical comparative staticsexploiting the uniqueness of the subgame-perfect equilibrium.
Management and Organization Studies
revenue management
subgame-perfect equilibrium.
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