A system and method for determining a recommended overbooking level for a scarce resource such as seats on a vehicle, e.g. an aircraft, so that the the advance bookings are at a level which maximizes profits while, at the same time, minimizes dissatisfaction with supply. When used with an airline reservation system the system and method of the invention collect information about the past history of the passenger traffic on each aircraft and calculate the recommended overbooking level as a function of three intermediate booking level calculations. The three intermediate booking levels are a demand-based booking level, an oversale-based booking level, and a prediction-based booking level. In the preferred embodiment, the recommended overbooking level is calculated as the weighted average of the three intermediate booking levels.