Qué es y Cómo Nace el Revenue Management

Se dice que Revenue Management es: ‘Vender el producto correcto al precio correcto al cliente correcto en el momento correcto’.  Esta definición no arroja luces sobre lo que es RM.  ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre hacer RM y una buena estrategia de Marketing?  Para entender qué es el RM creo que es mejor remontarnos a sus orígenes.

Todo comenzó el año 1972, cuando Kenneth Littlewood[i] propuso que cuando existen dos precios para un bien, uno debe vender al precio bajo hasta que la probabilidad de vender al precio alto sea mayor que la razón entre el precio bajo y el alto.  Esta regla (Littlewood’s rule) sería en unos años la base para los algoritmos de optimización utilizados por los sistemas automatizados de RM.

El 24 de Octubre de 1978, se firmó el Airline Deregulation Act en EE.UU. que terminaba con la protección monopólica del estado a las líneas aéreas dentro de ese país.  A partir de entonces se liberó la entrada de competidores al mercado y también las tarifas aéreas.  Aparecieron nuevos competidores y las Big Six, como se conocía a las compañías que habían disfrutado de la protección del estado desde el año 1937 comenzaron a desaparecer o al menos se vieron en serios aprietos.  El año 1981 apareció People Express Airlines y comenzó a ganar participación y a convertirse en una tremenda amenaza para las ‘big six’.  People Express es probablemente el caso más notables de las low-cost de esos años.

La respuesta de American Airlines llegó finalmente el 21 de diciembre de 1985 con el lanzamiento de las ‘Ultimate SupersAAver’ (USS).  Tarifas que tenían descuentos de hasta un 80% sobre la tarifa normal de un mercado.  Pero las ‘big six’ ya habían lanzado tarifas reducidas para competir con las low-cost.  ¿Cuál fue la diferencia?  En una palabra: DINAMO.  DINAMO era el sistema automatizado que desarrolló AA para incorporar la regla de Littlewood en sus decisiones.  Este sistema calculaba en forma dinámica la probabildad de vender el último asiento en la tarifa ‘full’ y de ese modo optimizaba la cantidad de asientos que se ofrecían a la tarifa USS.

Cómo habrá sido de exitoso DINAMO y las Ultimate SupersAAver, que se estima que en los primeros tres años, esta estrategia le valió a AA US$1.400.000.000.  Por otro lado, People Express pasó de ser una compañía muy admirada y rentable a la bancarrota en un año.

El RM optimiza las decisiones de cuánto vender con descuento usando modelos de proyección de demanda desagregada y algoritmos matemáticos.  En el caso de las líneas aéreas era bastante directo concluir que la respuesta a People Express era vender una porción de los asientos a una tarifa competitiva, especialmente dado que en promedio el 30% de los asientos iban vacíos.  El problema era identificar dónde estaba ese 30%.  Especialmente porque los pasajeros que estaban dispuestos a pagar las tarifas ‘full’ eran, generalmente, los que compraban más a última hora.  Esto hacía necesario hacer un pronóstico de cuántos de esos pasajeros iban a querer comprar en cada vuelo para así poder guardarles asientos hasta el último momento.  Ésa era la misión de DINAMO.

Por supuesto que hoy la ciencia del RM ha avanzado mucho; la regla de Littlewood fue generalizada a casos con más de dos tarifas por Peter Belobaba[ii] en 1987 y hoy existen modelos de optimización que incorporan los efectos de red (como el hecho de que en un avión entre dos ciudades viajan pasajeros que conectan con otros vuelos a diferentes destinos o que en un hotel hay que optimizar la capacidad en una noche para huéspedes con diferentes fechas de entrada y salida).  Los modelos de proyección de demanda también se han visto beneficiados por el uso de herramientas estadísticas cada vez más avanzadas.



[i] Kenneth Littlewood, “Forecasting and Control of Passenger Bookings” 12th AGIFORS Symposium Proceedings, pp. 96 – 117, 1972

[ii] Peter P. Belobaba, "Airline Yield Management, An Overview of Seat Inventory Control," Transportation Science, vol. 21, (No. 2), p. 63-73, (May, 1987)

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Comentarios

hola Matías! muy interesante la historia!, he estado leyendo tus post, he aprendido bastante!

un abrazo!

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El Revenue Management es una disciplina fascinante. Siempre hay algo nuevo que aprender relacionado a esto y hay múltiples herramientas/prácticas de maximización de ingresos que se pueden aplicar a industrias como hoteles, casinos, bancos, manufactura, cine, golf, transporte, etcétera.

Los invito a visitar mi blog www.therevenuemanagementalist.com para que conozcan más acerca de esto.

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