GUNS or BUTTER: Breaking Through the Politics of Choosing Sexy over Sustenance
Thursday, Oct. 6
9 to 9:45 a.m.

Business Analytics and Revenue Management fight for the same capital dollars and expense budgets as other critical projects. In the era of social media, personalized online marketing and customer profiling many companies are pouring resources into CRM and loyalty efforts which are futuristic and sexy. But you need to maximize revenues today! How do you compete when your job is to focus on the basics? Greg Cross will share his perspective as a Senior Executive in balancing competing interests and getting resources into the hands of those who have to deliver by making blocking, tackling and revenue generation more sexy. 

Greg Cross
Senior Vice President of Revenue Management
Hyatt Hotels Corporation


Making Insights Actionable
Thursday, Oct. 6
9:45 to 10:30 a.m.

In the emerging world of information, communications and entertainment, choices for consumers have become increasingly complex and the opportunities to grow new sources of revenue and profits for companies are rapidly changing.  Michael Diamond, as SVP of Marketing Strategy and Intelligence, leads Time Warner Cable's integrated efforts to bring quantitative and qualitative insights to support product development, marketing, and pricing.  He will share his perspectives and experiences on leveraging insights to support breakthrough business growth.

Michael Diamond
Senior Vice President of Marketing 
Time Warner Cable, Inc.



The Ethnography of Optimization—Cultural Change for Fact-based Decision-making
Thursday, Oct. 6
4 to 4:45 p.m.

Improved Revenue Management Technology inevitably occurs in a human environment and brings with it organizational stress, from process change to enterprise-wide cultural transition.  Recognizing the wide range of human motives at play can help identify the common friction points, ease the pain of change, and lead to better outcomes.  Scott Deaver will explore common problems which he has seen in integrating automation into an organization and he will discuss ways to build a consensus for change to assure a happy conclusion.

Scott Deaver
Executive Vice President of Strategy
Avis Budget Group




B2B Track

Panel Session A: Managing Margins through Smarter Pricing to Offset Rising Costs

Does the prospect of rising input costs invariably mean tighter margins?  Not according to our panel of experts! Volatility of input costs creates chaos for some and opportunity for others. Savvy companies are employing Breakthrough Analytics to distinguish where costs must be absorbed and where they can be passed to customers. Perhaps more importantly, our panelists will explore revolutionary concepts which could identify when to grow share by holding price and where price volatility creates an opportunity for price premiums.

Moderator: Mark Ferguson
Conference Co-chair
Adjunct Associate Professor
Georgia Institute of Technology

Cary Shackelford
Sr. Mgr. of Strategic Margin Management
Acuity Brands

John Mark
Vice President, Strategic Business Development
HD Supply

Mark MacLachman
Senior Data Analyst
RaceTrac Petroleum

Panel Session C: Retaining Customers…or Winning them Back!

In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace customer loyalty, if it exists, is tenuous. A destructive tactic for many firms is to attempt to buy customer loyalty with price, or win them back with desperate discounts. Our panel of experts will discuss how advanced analytics can be used to identify at-risk customers so that proactive steps can be taken to assure retention. The panel will also discuss strategies to win back lost customers by targeting discount offers that are both attractive and profitable.

Moderator: Jeff Anderson
VP of Client Solutions
Revenue Analytics

John Breen
Assistant VP of Strategic Pricing
Equifax, Inc.

Laura Vriesman
Director of Commercial Contracts
Herman Miller

Ganesh Bala
Senior Director, Marketing Measurement & Analysis
Marriott International

Amit Aggarwal
SVP of Revenue Management, SVP of Revenue Management
Clear Channel Radio

B2C Track

Panel Session B: Practical Ways to make Technology more Productive and Less Disruptive

For Breakthrough Analytics to result in Business Acceleration, advanced capabilities such as predictive analytics and optimization must be seamlessly integrated with people, process and systems.  This is not easy. People and organizations push back extensive change, irrespective of potential benefits. Our panel of experts will share their experiences in overcoming both corporate inertia and human resistance to adopt new tools and techniques that achieve transformational change and drive profitable revenue growth.

Moderator: Robert G. Cross
Chairman & CEO
Revenue Analytics

Dev Koushik
Director, Revenue Optimization
InterContinental Hotels Group

Bob Thye
Senior Director of Pricing & Revenue Management
Time Warner Cable

Scott Stark
VP Market Information Manager
Bank of America


Panel Session D: Getting All you Deserve—Evolving from Value Creation to Value Extraction

Marketing is all about getting into the heads of the customers; Pricing and Revenue Management is about getting into their wallets! Companies spend enormous energy and capital in creating brand awareness and a value proposition for customers, but less regard is given to capturing the value they create. New techniques such as customer segmentation criteria and market response modeling uncover a tremendous differential in customer willingness-to-pay.  Join our panel of experts as they discuss how they use rigorous analytical processes to model and monitor customer behavior to increase their share of the customers’ wallets. 

Moderator: Michael Bentley
Director of Revenue Management Strategy
Revenue Analytics

Diana Block
VP of Revenue Management
Royal Caribbean International

Bill Dudziak
Director of Pricing Analytics
The Home Depot

Russell Vereb
VP of Revenue Management Systems
Marriott International

Dan Kowalewski
VP of Revenue Management Services
Wyndham Hotel Group




  Breakout Sessions

Partnering with Customers to Maximize Margins: A True Story of Win/Win
Breakout Session A
Thursday, Oct. 6
1:30 to 2:15 p.m.

Price negotiations with customers can be challenging as both sides fight to win. However, SP Richards took a unique approach to partner with independent office supply dealers by providing analytic software tools and a patent-pending process of aggregating point-of-sale data. The process includes partnership with key stakeholders throughout the industry, cutting edge software that small businesses do not typically have access to, and a partnership mentality that includes the sharing of powerful information. Wilbur Reid will share his perspective on how the result became a win/win relationship that allows both distributor and reseller to improve their margins.

Wilbur Reid
Director of Strategic Pricing
SP Richards Company


97/3 – Revenue Management in an Industry Challenged by Change
Breakout Session B
Thursday, Oct. 6
1:30 to 2:15 p.m.

"The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."

Faced with increasing competition for consumer interest and technology-driven disruptions, the live entertainment industry is beginning to look to long-proven Revenue Management principles to generate incremental revenues and drive attendance. Understand that despite the facts and logic, Revenue Management in this industry is 97% organizational change and 3% “fancy math”. Alan Rakov will discuss how Live Nation is using Revenue Management to inspire innovation and create positive change.

Alan Rakov
President of Revenue Management
Live Nation North American Concerts



Principles for Revenue Management and Price Optimization Success
Workshop A: The Basics
Friday, Oct. 7
8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Revenue Management and Price Optimization have the potential to generate millions of dollars in additional revenue and profit.  However, the path to success is littered with the bones of "what might have been." This "Back to Basics" workshop, taken from a series of M.B.A. lectures and current client experiences, has been updated this year to provide a fresh perspective on the principles which help companies drive profitable growth.

Examine the fundamentals of using rigorous analysis and advanced technology to increase revenue productivity from existing assets through this thought-provoking session. Review and reinforce the secrets to success in a wide variety of industries and challenge conventional thinking.

In this highly interactive workshop which uses case studies and real-time audience response technology, attendees will learn:

  • How to think like a customer

  • A stepwise approach to Revenue Management and Price Optimization

  • The Worst Practices in pricing and Revenue Management

  • What CEOs really want

  • Ah-ha moments in the evolution of Pricing and Revenue Management

  • Creating a revenue driven organization

Robert G. Cross
Chairman & CEO
Revenue Analytics


Is Bigger Really Better? Bulk Pricing & Negotiated Deals

Workshop B: Advanced Topics
Friday, Oct. 7
8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Do large, bulk transactions that are individually negotiated fit within the Revenue Management paradigm? Review Revenue Management & Pricing concepts as they are applied to large transactions and negotiated business, provide examples of best practices and proven approaches and share new ideas among industries.

Traditional Revenue Management optimally allocates inventory at established price points. What happens to these concepts when price is negotiated as part of the transaction? Explore examples from multiple industries through hands-on exercises and discussion to share best practices. Get a better idea of how to extend traditional Revenue Management concepts to bulk and negotiated deals.

In this workshop, you will learn:

  • Existing Revenue Management practice is for pricing to be a separate, manual process. Large negotiated deals do not fit the traditional concepts or software systems built for high-volume transactions

  • Traditional approaches to bulk deals for travel, commodities and manufactured goods

  • Discussion—the sacred cows of big deals

  • Using contribution as the objective for optimization

  • Exercise−rethinking customer segmentation to better price large deals

  • What parts of the deal are negotiated & who is negotiating? 

  • Engineering negotiated deals to proactively shift demand

Sharon Hormby
Sr. Director of Total Yield Systems
Marriott International



Time Series Forecasting with Excel
Workshop C: Experimental Thought
Friday, Oct. 7
8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Forecasting is a crucial input to key business decisions including budgeting, inventory planning, and marketing decisions. However, the full power of scientific forecasting is often not utilized due to lack of data or simply because it is considered to be too complicated. But rapid developments in data collection and storage technology are making scientific forecasting feasible in more situations.  More importantly, many scientific forecasting models can be devised and tested quickly and easily using Excel spreadsheet analysis.  

In this workshop you will be introduced to time series forecasting, a powerful forecasting method that utilizes historical information to predict the future, and learn how to develop it in Excel. You will learn the basic theory of the most effective time series forecasting models such as autoregressive, moving average and exponential smoothing as well as measuring and understanding the accuracy through a hands-on Excel exercise.  At the end of this workshop you will be prepared to take data from your business and forecast future demand in Excel.

This workshop will cover the following topics:

  • When and how to use time series models

  • Autoregressive/Moving Average methods

  • Seasonal and Non-seasonal Exponential Smoothing methods

  • Measuring forecast accuracy with MAPE, MPE, and MASE

  • Introduction to statistical tools for production scale forecasting

A PC with Microsoft Excel is required to complete the exercise.

Dr. Seonah Lee
Director of Operations Research
Revenue Analytics

Andreas Puppa
Director of Operations Research
Revenue Analytics



Introduction to the Science of Revenue Management and Price Analytics
Workshop D: The Basics
Friday, Oct. 7
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Do you ever wonder what the mathematical algorithms are that play such an important role in determining your companies' revenue performance? The purpose of this workshop is to take a step behind the curtains of the Pricing and Revenue Management software solutions and examine the fundamental modeling concepts that make them work.

This workshop will provide "hands-on" practice with using some of the most common Price Optimization models which are typically treated as a "black box" solution by the leading software providers.  By gaining a better understanding of the science behind these solutions, you will be better positioned to make a knowledgeable selection between software providers, or, if you already own a software solution, to gain the full benefit of its capabilities. 

In this workshop, you will learn:

  • The basics of forecasting historical sales data and measuring price effects

  • What to do when you do not have a full history of customer demand (demand unconstraining)

  • What the fundamental trade-offs are in Revenue Management capacity allocation decisions and the science behind how they are made

  • How to use price elasticity measures to optimize prices

  • What is the science behind markdown management and customized bid responses (B2B pricing)

Participants are encouraged to bring a Windows-based PC.

Dr. Mark Ferguson
Steven A. Denning Professor of Technology & Management
Georgia Institute of Technology



Secrets to Owning the Market:  Competitive Strategies for a Transparent Marketplace
Workshop E: Advanced Topics
Friday, Oct. 7
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

A change in strategic focus is required as customers are empowered with more information and options while competitors are emboldened with greater need to capture share. However, many companies struggle with how to account for this new reality. In fact, many fail to recognize all the alternatives available to their customers or realize that their competitors are no longer even who they think they are!
Successful companies must broaden their view of the competitive landscape and recognize that the market is ripe for disruptive new entrants. They know where to collect and how to harness competitive data in order to devise competitive response tactics based on fact—not knee-jerk reactions—to keep their business strategy on course.

Using real-time audience surveys, case studies and practical examples, this workshop will explore the following:

  • Defining your competitive set— insights to identifying your real competitors

  • Visualizing competitive data as your customers do— understanding where you are relative to your competitors, allowing you to make value-added decisions and gain insight to key decision variables

  • Price response strategies— knowing what action to take and when to take it is as essential as knowing when to stay put

Participants are encouraged to bring a Windows-based PC.

Wendy Barber
Director, RM Strategy
Revenue Analytics

David King
Director, RM Strategy
Revenue Analytics


Advanced Revenue Management and Pricing Research Topics at Georgia Tech

Workshop F: Experimental Thought
Friday, Oct. 7
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Instructors: Dr. Laurie Garrow, Associate Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology and various PhD candidates at Georgia Tech

In this workshop, doctoral students and faculty from the management and engineering schools at Georgia Tech will explain and demonstrate how some of the latest research in the field can help improve profitability.  As one of the leading research universities in the world, Georgia Tech's faculty and students are at the cutting edge of Price Optimization and Revenue Management theory and application. 

Participants in this workshop will receive hands-on training and personal Q&A time with scientists who are developing and testing new techniques and practices that will lead the discipline over the next ten years to more accurately predict customer behavior and drive increased profitability.  Attendees of this workshop will have a glimpse into the future with the unique opportunity to become early adopters and reap a first mover advantage in their industry.

In this workshop, participants will be exposed to the latest research in:

  • Using online data to model air passenger itinerary choice behavior through discrete choice models

  • Creating minimum cost network flow models to evaluate of revenue management practices in the airline industry

  • Investigating strategic behavior of customers for forecasting and ordering through an interactive game

Dr. Laurie Garrow
Associate Professor
Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Pelin Pekgun
Visiting Professor
Georgia Institute of Technology

Stacey Mumbower
PhD student
Georgia Institute of Technology

Brittney Luken
PhD student
Georgia Institute of Technology