Ronald J. Harshbarger
University of South Carolina Beaufort
1 College Center
Hilton Head, SC 29928
Phone: (843) 785-3995
Initially, students in the HRTA course were asked to discuss how resort hotels on Hilton Head Island could increase their occupancy rate, revenue, and profit during the off-season. Students made several suggestions about how to increase occupancy, including offering special conference packages. After these guesses were recorded, students were instructed to gather data regarding room prices and occupancy from the resort hotels on Hilton Head Island. This data was to form the basis for the solution of the problem.
Students in the Tourism class were asked to make estimates, without developing formulas, of what room price would maximize the occupancy rate, daily revenue, and profit..
The students in the calculus class were asked to: (1) Find equations that could be used to model the occupancy rate, the daily revenue, and the profit. (2) Use calculus to find the price that would maximize the occupancy rate, the daily revenue, and the profit. They found that the room price that would maximize the occupancy rate was quite different from the room price that would maximize revenue and profit.
The conclusions of the calculus class were given to the HRTA class for further discussion of
how to improve occupancy and profit, and about the limitations of the mathematical solution.
The student response to this collaborative learning strategy has changed the attitudes of many
students in the Tourism and the business calculus classes. While they understand the limits of
using continuous functions to model data, and that the models may not always fit the data well,
they also see that just observing data patterns may not give all the information they need to solve