Back in the late 80s, I went to a conference on “revenue management,” or the art of pricing airline seats in order to maximise yield. Too high, and you lost business; too low, and you got less than people were willing to pay. Most of the speakers were from the airline industry, which already knew many of the tricks. Many of the listeners were from the hotel business; they were just learning. As for me, I was a customer…and I felt as if I had penetrated the enemy’s strategy session.
Over the years I watched as more and more markets picked up two related concepts: time-based pricing, and overall more efficient use of so-called vanishing assets – or capital goods that could generate revenue only as they were used.