Hotwire Reviews

Updated September 22, 2014
Updated September 22, 2014
108 Reviews
3.1
108 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
Hotwire President Henrik Kjellberg
Henrik Kjellberg
25 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The company respects work-life balance, while still offering challenging opportunities (in 30 reviews)

  • Exciting industry (travel) discounts on travel products (in 6 reviews)


Cons
  • Work-life balance are non-existent depending on the group (in 4 reviews)

  • If you're looking for career growth, you need to make sure you are on your manager's radar at all times (in 5 reviews)

More Highlights

25 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    Wants to be a leader in business, but pay sucks

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Hotwire full-time

    Pros

    First of all, kudos to the management for making a wise decision to transition from Waterfall to Agile, very late though and probably the last company to adopt a methodology proven in the market 4 years back. It really gives a great feeling as if sitting on a hot seat everyday.. Work is very interesting and challenging and I see a lot more potential for growth and improvement coming on the way sooner..

    Cons

    Having said growth potential exists, definitely not in terms of pay / position. Don't expect any promotions.. Expect just few biscuits as increment or bonus.. No recognition for the achievers and your manager will not pat on your back for the job well done. Management aims to be a leader in business and wants to use state of the art technology and tools, but pays literally low compared to the industry standards.. Come on, give something to the real workers.. After all, management should not take all the pride & money at the end of the day.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fantastic show in the last 1 year and good luck for the future..

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    A comfortable company with good work/life balance at the expense of technical skills development

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Hotwire full-time

    Pros

    - Good work/life balance. I could easily maintain a 40-hour work week and still do well.
    - Good benefits. Nice commuter benefits and generous vacation.
    - A variety or products and projects to stay busy.

    Cons

    - Older technology stack. The site is old, and attempting to use newer technologies is difficult.
    - Underpays employees. My salary has increased by ~24% since joining 5 years ago.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    People were cool to work with, but the company generally lacked passion

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Producer  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Producer in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Hotwire full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Small company
    Great location in the downtown San Francisco
    Fairly laid back work environment
    Very start-up like feel in that everyone sat in a cube including VPs

    Cons

    Poor salary
    Job role not well-defined, not well-respected
    No career advancement opportunities beyond Senior Producer
    Reporting structure was conflict of interest and made it impossible to do job effectively

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay people market value and define roles more clearly.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    A safe company, not young or innovative

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Hotwire full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Great building and location, good compensation, work/life balance, travel discounts. Recently transitioned from Waterfall to Agile software development which is much more transferable to other tech companies.

    Cons

    Employees are low energy and generally seem stuck in a rut. Hotwire sells a fun, smart culture, but many who progress through the ranks to management and senior management or are awarded recognition as representing Hotwire's core values do the bare minimum amount of work and rarely attend company events. Hotwire is a steady stream of income for its parent company (Expedia) and goals, products, and initiatives play it safe to keep the revenue coming in.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Reduce the amount of middle management, encourage education and skills development.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 11 people found this helpful  

    Thrill is Gone

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Hotwire

    Pros

    - Most of the people here are generally friendly and nice. The work environment is casual and releaxed.
    - Good work/life balance. Good for people who have a family.
    - The office is nice and you get to work in the city.
    - Being attached to Expedia, it's a stable place to work and the benefits aren't bad.
    - A lot of people have left over the past few months. Overall not a good thing, but this also has opened up room for new faces who have the potential to shake things up.
    - Some recent changes in development structure offer hope to make the company faster and more iterative, though excessive process seems to be weighing it down already.
    - The smaller, more independent team taking the company international may be a future bright spot. Recently moved to Geneva, it is somewhat insulated from the larger company's problems.
    - The culture is very non-confrontational and passive. If you're assertive, take control, and aren't afraid to step on a few toes, you can get a lot done and have a disproportionate influence on outcomes.

    Cons

    - The general sense you get when talking to long-time employees is that the company is falling apart. A declining culture is a big part of this. When I started, I remember a certain sense of comradery and esprit de corps that has since faded away. There just isn't a lot of passion anymore. The company holds a lot of cute parties and events now, but these are a poor substitute for a genuinely good culture and strong sense of purpose.
    - The company moves incredibly slowly for its size and doesn't do anything particularly interesting or innovative.
    - The company's relationship with Expedia compels it to be very short term oriented and risk averse.
    - It is not a particularly product- or customer-driven company. There are product- and customer-driven people who work here, but in the end they are not in control. The quick money always seems to take priority over the customer experience.
    - Most good people either leave after 1-2 years or become extremely cynical and jaded. Mediocre people can stick around forever, ruining morale and forcing others to pick up the slack. It's a vicious cycle that breeds risk aversion and dysfunction.
    - There is too much groupthink and magical thinking, especially in middle management. Things that seem absurd to anyone with some product sense move forward and waste everyone's time. There are projects in the pipeline right now that I (and anyone who has basic knowledge of Hotwire's customers) know will either have zero impact or lose the company money. Speaking up accomplishes nothing - you are summarily shut down.
    - To follow the last point, there is little accountability or learning when something fails. And so the company is doomed to repeat its mistakes over and over again.
    - Very boring, it can be like career purgatory - you can waste away many dull years here with little to show for them. This is why promising young people, who should be the future leaders of the company, end up leaving.
    - The Product and Marketing teams are dysfunctional train wrecks.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - HIre passionate people who really care about travel, making customers happy, and building good products. Pay up for them if you have to. Hire less former consultant-types who would be just as happy working for any other random company and just want a nice title to put on their resume.
    - Spin out Travel Ticker into an entirely separate organization. It makes very little sense for it to be in the same entity as Hotwire, and both sites would be more successful on their own. The way it competes for resources and appears to get preferential treatment only breeds contempt among Hotwire people, most of whom think it is a dumb product anyway.
    - Think harder about the projects you move forward. There may be large dollar signs attached (which often doesn't pan out anyway), but will employees find it interesting, compelling, and something they can be proud of?
    - Make innovation a company-wide imperative, not something that is just relegated to a few people. And by "innovation" I don't mean finding another spot to cram a checkbox or media placement.
    - Fire more people. Good people and bad/mediocre people simply cannot coexist. If you don't push the bad ones out, the good ones will leave on their own accord. Just look at what has happened over the past 6-8 months.
    - Provide a clear vision that inspires employees, not some generic BS we came up with to fit all the random things the company happens to be doing now. And stick to it.

    Recommends
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Below average in Bay Area standards

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Analyst in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Hotwire

    Pros

    - nice people, nice locations

    Cons

    - compensations are way below the market
    - they cant attract top talents

    Approves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    do not rock the boat or you might get wet

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - I Had A Number  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - I Had A Number in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Hotwire

    Pros

    - It is a job
    - It pays ok
    - The environment is clean
    - Most people do not smell
    - Its in the city
    - People are in general nice even though they are clique-like
    - If you have a baby they take good care of you
    - It is easy to slack and get by in many departments
    - It is very rare they fire people

    Cons

    This place is the epitome of boring and conservative, almost to the point of being bank like. If you dare do anything that is even remotely boat rocking you will be burned at the rebel. They people that have lasted a long time here really do not rock the boat at all. After a while here I could not take the munde-ness anymore and had to leave dodge. It was mind boggling the number of meetings to discuss doing the smallest task. No dept ever wants to own something. Ten people in a room to discuss something that takes 1 hour to do. And nobody in upper managements has the cajones to do anything about it. 25% of the employees here do probably 90% of the work. So many people sit on their tail and surf the web, talk about cars, computers etc. There are at least 3 people in the office I have witnessed farting in public. The fun days of the in and out trucks and happy hours are gone. Its a 9 -5er for many. Some a 10-4er.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get your collective heads out of the sand. Actually grow some and fire the dead weight and hire some real cream of the crop. For every 2 slackers you could fire you could hire 1 stellar person at a competitive salary. Hold people accountable for doing bad work instead of promoting them.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Deadheading non-productive employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Hotwire

    Pros

    Lively, there's always something new to learn every day.
    The senior management really tries to keep the employees happy and they've been doing a great job.
    In general, people are friendly, helpful and smart.

    Cons

    Some departments are good in keeping only the productive employees. Some other departments are doing very poor job on that aspect, so some people are not taking their jobs seriously, using most of their time at work to do personal stuff, even doing their other/side job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Remove the dead head and pain point people that have been getting out of control. Just like flowers, this will encourage the company to produce new blooms. There are many people out there that are willing to replace them and can do a better job.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    A fun place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Marketing Analyst  in  San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Marketing Analyst in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at Hotwire

    Pros

    Great benefits, 3-4 weeks PTO, travel discounts, fun work culture, casual dress, fitness reimbursement
    A ton of social events: picnics, bowling, indian independence day...if you can name it, Hotwire is probably already planning a party for it
    Smart, inspiring coworkers
    Approachable executive management, who are also smart and inspiring

    Cons

    Long hours and poor employee moral in certain departments
    Painfully slow process to get anything accomplished
    Overly strategic, so much time is wasted on endless analysis, projections and planning
    Lack of innovation and risk taking can be frustrating at times

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Promote within, give competitive raises, hire internally, cross-train. Provide career growth opportunities to your existing employees and they will feel less inclined to look elsewhere to grow their careers.

    Approves of CEO
  11.  

    Some departments are better than others.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Hotwire

    Pros

    Free soda
    generous bonuses
    fun parties and companywide picnics/outings
    Tuition reimbursement

    Cons

    I think it's a great place to work as long as you don't work in the department i was in.

    One member of the senior management team has revealed themselves to be shockingly unprofessional. Oh, it's shocking.

    I went to a department outing where two of the employees jokingly told everyone they were "loved working together so much" and announced "kiss" at the table. And then they leaned over and airkissed each other. Charming.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Can we please get it together?

    Approves of CEO

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