DATE: July 17, 2014

TIME: 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

LOCATION: Room HA098, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia, 2053 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC

REGISTRATION: Entrance is free, and open to all UBC students. Register early at, as space is limited.


Come test your business and economic skills in an exhilarating evening of competition, achievement and self-improvement.

The Hotel Game competition is a pricing simulation tournament, brought to you by the Sauder instructors who created, led by Assistant Professor Mariano Tappata. Students form hotel management teams to compete for cash prizes, going head to head in real-time in an online marketplace.

The winner receives a $450 prize, while there’s $350 for second place, $300 for third, and $50 for fourth to 10th places. Each participant who plays the entire game will win $10, plus complimentary refreshments and pizza.

Please come in early to the booth on the day of the competition to sign in and get a participant tag.

Participants are strongly encouraged to attend at least one of the tutorial sessions that will be held on Monday, July 14, and Tuesday, July 15 (5-7 p.m., Room HA045A).

For more information, head over to, where you can find instructions and play a practice game – or email hotelgamecompetitionatsauder [@]


Tappata was inspired to design the Hotel Game by the current trend of opaque selling, where hotel booking sites like Priceline and Hotwire offer consumers considerable savings if they book rooms ‘blind,’ before knowing exactly where they will be staying.

“This new pricing strategy allows hotel chains to hide the fact that they’re offering steep discounts,” he explains. “It also helps lesser-known hotels attract customers away from big brand names by offering cut-rate prices.”

The game, built around complex mathematical equations developed by the professor, allows instructors to choose settings that govern the field of play – the available rooms, brand loyalty, demand, operational costs and more.

Armed with this information, teams compete to set prices that earn maximum profits, trying to anticipate the strategies of their competitors and leveraging opaque pricing techniques.

They engage in a series of rounds and each time, they are given the opportunity to retool their strategy, analysing what worked and how their opponents might respond. When the dust clears and the numbers are crunched, the game produces charts and graphs, breaking down who came out on top and why.

Ultimately, the team sitting on the biggest pile of virtual cash wins.

Says Tappata,“the intention of the simulation is to say ‘look, real situations are not as black and white as we economists make them out to be.’ Once you’re out there in the real world, you need to take into account all the potential forces.”