The economics of service upgrades

Eyal Biyalogorsky*, Eitan Gerstner, Dan Weiss, Jinhong Xie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many service providers offer different service classes (e.g., first class, second class). Because the capacity of each class is set in advance, providers may end up with unfilled first-class capacity at the time of service delivery. When this happens, providers often upgrade some of their customers from a lower service class to a higher one. One way in which service providers manage upgrades is by selling, in advance, tickets that entitle the holder to an upgrade if space becomes available in a higher service class. This article investigates the circumstances under which upgradeable tickets are profitable, how to price them, and how many to issue. Upgradeable tickets increase the provider's profits when the probability of obtaining full price for first-class service is sufficiently high. With upgradeable tickets, more of the available capacity can be reserved for potential customers who are willing to pay a high price for high-end service.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-244
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Service Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2005


  • Advance selling
  • Capacity utilization
  • Demand uncertainty
  • Pricing
  • Service classes
  • Services marketing
  • Upgrades


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