Outlier detection in network revenue management

Rennie, Nicola and Cleophas, Catherine and Sykulski, Adam and Dost, Florian (2023) Outlier detection in network revenue management. OR Spectrum. ISSN 0171-6468

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This paper presents an automated approach for providing ranked lists of outliers in observed demand to support analysts in network revenue management. Such network revenue management, e.g. for railway itineraries, needs accurate demand forecasts. However, demand outliers across or in parts of a network complicate accurate demand forecasting, and the network structure makes such demand outliers hard to detect. We propose a two-step approach combining clustering with functional outlier detection to identify outlying demand from network bookings observed on the leg level. The first step clusters legs to appropriately partition and pools booking patterns. The second step identifies outliers within each cluster and uses a novel aggregation method across legs to create a ranked alert list of affected instances. Our method outperforms analyses that consider leg data without regard for network implications and offers a computationally efficient alternative to storing and analysing all data on the itinerary level, especially in highly-connected networks where most customers book multi-leg products. A simulation study demonstrates the robustness of the approach and quantifies the potential revenue benefits from adjusting demand forecasts for offer optimisation. Finally, we illustrate the applicability based on empirical data obtained from Deutsche Bahn.

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Journal Article
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OR Spectrum
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13 Jun 2023 09:35
Last Modified:
21 Sep 2023 03:26