In honor of the shared birthday of IDeaS’ founders, we hereby declare August 8 shall henceforth be known worldwide as Revenue Science Day.
IDeaS was founded by computer scientists Dr. Ravi Mehrotra and Sanjay Nagalia in 1989, but the origin story of these revenue tech titans goes back even further. Ravi and Sanjay first met on a train on their way to the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur. Along with sharing the same birthday, August 8, they discovered an endless amount of other commonalities and became fast friends.
They would go their separate ways after college, with Ravi earning a Ph.D. and teaching electrical and computer engineering at North Carolina State University and Sanjay earning an advanced degree and building a career in product development with several global businesses.
Some years later, and by complete chance, the dynamic duo reconnected in Chicago and bonded once again—this time over the shared conviction of technology’s superiority in optimizing revenue for businesses facing unpredictable demand fluctuations. This mutual passion for applying scientific reasoning and quantitative data analysis to remove ambiguity and improve speed and accuracy was the kick in the pants they needed to partner together and build a startup.
Using computers to automate tactical human decision-making, they formed Decision Systems—changed shortly thereafter to Integrated Decisions and Systems, Inc., or “IDeaS” for short. IDeaS was the start of a journey to forever change revenue management, ridding its dependence on gut feelings for a more objective approach.
Ravi and Sanjay admit they had a reputation as “mad scientists” at first, but as they began to prove how IDeaS’ technology could significantly grow revenue and improve efficiencies, first with airlines and then hotels, they began to be taken a bit more seriously.
By combining the power of empirical science, predictive analytics, advanced mathematics, and sophisticated technology, they pioneered revenue science and were instrumental in inventing the future of the hotel industry. Now, as we celebrate the first-ever Revenue Science Day, we salute all they’ve achieved and all that revenue science represents.
The Revenue Science Difference
Scientists interrogate the world around them to prove or disprove a theory. They seek to learn how things really work. Sometimes the truth is disappointing, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. It’s what separates fact from fiction and data-driven, reliable reasoning from opinion-fueled, error-prone conjecture.
Ravi and Sanjay worked intently in those early days to scientifically explore the hospitality industry and understand the specific challenges of hotel businesses. They reverse-modeled everyday revenue problems to comprehend each factor and its business impact. Focusing first on length of stay and overbooking, their earliest systems were a success, but IDeaS’ growing team suspected the true revenue problem for hotels involved pricing—specifically price versus demand.
Advances in data analytics and processing power would soon confirm this suspicion, and IDeaS software began equipping hotel revenue managers to use pricing as a lever to calibrate demand, empowering them to make profitable decisions regarding which guests should be granted rooms and at what rate, at all times.
When asked to accurately predict what will occur and strategically plan for a range of scenario-based outcomes, accept no substitute for the scientific process. Like comparing astronomy and its distant, pseudoscientific, fun-but-flippant second cousin astrology, the difference between IDeaS’ suite of revenue science solutions and, well, all the others is clear. Automated, science-based decisions win every time against rules-based, manual recommendations.
IDeaS’ revenue science solutions have been built upon decades of discovery and refinement. All this history, industry leadership, and unparalleled client success gives us full confidence in the ability of our systems to provide our clients with precise, data-driven decisions they can trust. Remember, “decisions” is, after all, our middle name.
The story of IDeaS is one of ceaseless evolution and reinvention, driven by passionate, curious people. Our methods and applications have been tested and proven, time and again, and get better with each iteration to maintain a finely tuned ecosystem of algorithms, industry knowledge, and decision empowerment. From deep machine learning to artificial intelligence to world-renowned SAS analytics, we’ve leveraged the most advanced technologies and top statistical minds to continuously push the limits and invent the future, one industry after the next.
From strangers on a train to leaders of the most trusted revenue solutions provider for the global hospitality industry, our founders have continuously blazed new trails with an innovative, forward-looking vision. Their early work in developing revenue science has made an unquantifiably positive impact on the hospitality & travel industry and a lasting difference in the lives of so many IDeaS clients, partners, and team members.
Happy birthday to Ravi and Sanjay—and happy Revenue Science Day to all!
Help us celebrate this inaugural holiday by sharing our #RevenueScienceDay post on LinkedIn and letting your network know how revenue science has made a difference in your career.