TripAdvisor
3.8 of 5 176 reviews
www.tripadvisor.com Newton, MA 1000 to 5000 Employees

TripAdvisor Reviews

Updated Jul 4, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.8 176 reviews

                             

87% Approve of the CEO

TripAdvisor President and CEO Stephen Kaufer

Stephen Kaufer

(139 ratings)

74% of employees recommend this company to a friend
33 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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in

     

    Fine

    Software Engineer (Current Employee)
    Newton, MA

    ProsLots of random perks. Pretty relaxed office

    ConsMuch of the work was rather boring. The feel of the office was like it was still trying to be a cool startup when it really is just a corporate enterprise.

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    3 people found this helpful  

    Good company. Could easily be even better.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsGreat work/life balance.
    Fun culture.
    Nice facility.
    Pay was okay.

    ConsLocation. The headquarters is in a suburb of Boston. Hard to get cabs, and not a lot to do in Newton, MA.
    Too many temps. They have 100+ temp employees who seem like a subculture in the company. Also, they are all hired through PSG who doesn't seem to treat them fairly.
    Salary is mediocre at best for anyone who is not in sales or an engineer.
    Facilities and Admin have a "good ole boy" mentality that is opposite of the rest of the company.
    The country music they play at reception seems out of place at a travel/tech company.

    Advice to Senior ManagementGet a new staffing agency asap.
    Upgrade reception so it represents the company more adequately.
    Integrate the temporary employees into the culture more.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Ehhhh, not the worst place to work

    Advertising and Sales Team (Current Employee)
    Boston, MA

    ProsThere really are amazing benefits from snacks, lunch, and lots of games. My team also had a great vibe and I really felt that everyone genuinely cared about each other.

    ConsThe management never sticks to a decision and there is a lot of politics at mid to upper management level. This was very frustrating when you were trying to work on a project.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    9 people found this helpful  

    far from start-up, close to stagnation

    (Current Employee)
    Newton, MA

    Prossnacks and drinks
    catered lunch
    video games (nobody plays)
    alcohol
    decent starting salary
    great brand recognition
    some travel benefits

    Consas many others say, tripadvisor is not a company that takes risks. that leads towards a lot of complacence as well as frustrated/hindered talent. probably a primary reason that many have left, as i did.

    marketing team runs amok with inflated egos. sales team seems to be a complete joke (leadership is epitome of wheelers and dealers who couldn't sell a product that required any calculated or strategic thought whatsoever, much less have the professionalism, innovation or foresight to keep themselves relevant for that much longer). product and engineering teams (just hire more actual engineers, and less ops folks) look ok, though seem to lose someone important once a quarter

    senior management is fooling themselves thinking this is a start-up. you're far from being a lean organization, my friends. deal with the growing pains. reward employees that deserve to be rewarded. communicate proposed changes and request as much feedback as possible. put more things up to vote. take a hard look at your middle mgt because you have redundant and irrelevant folks holding up the contributions of direct reports. and finally: take a darn risk with a product once in awhile. the facelift for the site last year was ok but it's time to give people something to really talk about with your UX and interface.

    Advice to Senior Managementyou're bleeding talent. figure it out. you're a company founded on the reviews of others. read this and the many others and you'll see the trends.

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    15 people found this helpful  

    Lots of smart people, but you'll probably get bored after a year or two

    Software Engineer (Former Employee)
    Newton, MA

    ProsEveryone in engineering is extremely sharp and capable. This is a great place to get some hands on web development experience on a large and complex site. You will be writing server-side code that must scale to handle millions of requests, not just CSS/javascript when I say web development. The engineering philosophy is to encourage all engineers to handle all layers in the stack so you will be writing CSS and javascript though, in addition to backend code. This cuts both ways. It's really interesting when you're starting out because you will learn a lot and feel a great sense of ownership over the entire project you're working on, but after a while you might decide there are parts of the stack that you'd prefer not to work on...

    My compensation was pretty good when I started and I got a nice merit raise after a year.

    Your engineering co-workers will be fun to work with and more than willing to pull their weight. I didn't encounter any dead weight while I was working there. The hiring process seems to do a good job filtering out under-qualified and under-performing candidates.

    ConsThe interviewing process is very heavy on algorithms and data structures questions which might make you believe that those are the kind of problems you'll be encountering on a daily basis. This really isn't the case. Trip needs to hire really smart people because there is a very large, 10+ year old codebase and often times a project will require making changes/additions to parts of this complex web of interconnected classes. Basically, it helps to be a genius if you want to read the code and understand it.

    The interviewing process also serves as an excellent weeding out mechanism, but many of the recent grad hires don't really have any real coding experience so the maintainability of the code they write leaves something to be desired.

    The reality of working here as an engineer is that because they want you to work on the entire stack for every project, you will be writing a non-trivial amount of CSS and javascript. At first, if you're like me and really never did that kind of work before, you'll learn a lot, but after a while you might get tired of trying to a page element around the page and making the styles look correct in IE6. There are some projects that are heavier on this than others and your mileage may vary based on the group you're on. After a while if you realize there are parts of the stack you'd like to avoid, it becomes difficult to avoid them. Changing groups is something that is discussed as a viable option, but it's pretty difficult from what I saw. Your manager might try to take these preferences into account, but you will not be able to escape IE6 display bugs if you're in a group work on any user-facing code. If you're completely opposed to doing any client-side work don't work here, or make sure you're being hired into a group that never does live site work.

    The management hierarchy is flat (but growing taller), which means that your chances for advancement aren't super-promising. You can see some people being groomed, shaking the right hands and playing the politics correctly to be promoted into the lower management layer. I wasn't striving to be a middle-manager in a 100+ person engineering dept. and if you want to stay on the coding side of the fence there aren't really many places to go. They hire startup-minded people so churn is inevitable.

    If you're smart (and you are if you get hired here), you'll probably be intellectually challenged for a year or two, learn a lot, and write code that millions of people will use daily, but after that you will probably get bored and want to move on. The nature of the skills they help you develop makes you well-suited to work at a startup because you've worked on all parts of the web development stack and you're now familiar with lots of the non-engineering aspects of creating and maintaining a profitable web site.

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    9 people found this helpful  

    Accomplished a lot but there is a lot of favoritism

    (Former Employee)
    Newton, MA

    ProsIn general, coworkers are dedicated and smart so it's a place where you can learn from others. The pace is very quick but that means you get a lot done so you always have a feeling of accomplishment and are always busy. There are opportunities to do more or take on special projects or additional responsibilities. The engineering group in general is wonderful to work with in any capacity. The free lunch is a nice fringe benefit. I think it can be good place if you're young and you want to work on a known product to get some work experience at a fast paced company and if you have a good manager.

    ConsAlthough you will accomplish a lot because of the fast paced environment, you are always asked or expected to cut corners which gets tiring especially when cutting out features means a poor product in the end that isn't what is needed. Also, every project has to be justified by numbers so if there is a project that needs to be done but the numbers don't back it up, it will probably get shot down.

    One of the big issues at the company is that there is a lot of favoritism that goes on. This results in individuals being promoted because are liked by upper management because they did one thing well in the past or have become friends with the right people but they don't actually have the skills to be a people manager or to lead a team. This means that some managers overseeing their teams as a vehicle to make himself or herself look good to the higher ups while the individual team members careers are completely ignored. Also the favoritism can also be quite blatant as there are some coworkers who get away with doing very little because they report to a friend. Unfortunately the favoritism does lead to low morale which is ignored because the manager doesn't want to deal with the issue at hand in a constructive mature manner.

    There is very little praise and recognition if you're not someone's favorite or aren't constantly selling yourself, even if it means stepping on other coworkers, so you will never get recognition or any sort of praise for doing a great job on something or going the extra mile. I think this leads to the feeling and perception that managers and above don't care about individuals.

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop promoting within just because someone did their job well for awhile and stop allowing friends to promote friends. Managing people is a skill and needs to be learned so train folks on that skill or hire people who actually know how to manage (as in look out for and support) their team members.

    You have some very smart people there, especially the ones who do the day-to-day tasks that do the behind the scenes work. You should be doing what you can to keep them. Free lunch is not enough.

    Speed only means you get a lot done but it's not good quality. Quality does matter in the end so let the engineers take the time to build good thought out products once in awhile.

    Please address the favoritism that is right in front of you. It can be outrageous at times and leads low morale.

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    9 people found this helpful  

    Everything is great except the actual work

    Software Engineer (Former Employee)
    Newton, MA

    ProsThe perks are great. There is a really good benefits package (medical/dental/etc), and then a ton of stuff to keep employees happy at the main Newton campus - catered lunches, sodas, snacks, foosball, gaming systems, a kegerator, the list goes on.

    Pretty much everyone I worked with was very bright - the bar to get in is set pretty high, and there is an informal 'no a**holes policy' that is fairly effective (though opinions on this my vary based on your own definition).

    Their development methodology is better than a lot of larger engineering groups. The company motto 'Speed Wins' continues to be applied to a development group that has grown by a ridiculous amount for the past few years (also a con, see below), and fortunately things are still moving quickly.

    Work/life balance is good. There are rarely any (as in I never personally experienced any) crunch-time periods on projects.

    The CEO knows what he's doing and is leading the company in a good direction.

    ConsIf you're a Java developer and enjoy writing code like it's 1997, by all means join the development team! The codebase is a mess. It has grown organically over the last decade or so, and is unwieldy and not well architected (and therefore harder to understand and maintain). The coverage of the testing frameworks that are in place is nowhere near where it should be, and so very little refactoring happens to improve the situation. Traditional singletons are everywhere. There are methods that are thousands of lines long. It's a jungle. To some extent there is a not-invented-here mindset; bringing in 3rd party code isn't encouraged and must be approved by management. People who are hired are smart and expected to write code that works, but they don't necessarily know how to write clean code that is maintainable, and management doesn't put much value on that either.

    As mentioned in the 'pros' section development is still approached like the company is a five person startup. This works to varying degrees with a team 20x that size. There's no real methodology backing it (scrum, XP, lean, etc). This contributes to the existing mess of code.

    The bar for entry into the company is set pretty high; the interview process is pretty tough, and candidates are expected to have a very strong CS background. During interviews the company is presented as a real interesting place to work with a lot of tough software challenges around scalability. This gets a lot of people excited, but the reality is much less dramatic. It seems that a lot of really bright people come through the door only to end up with pretty menial work, often maintaining a mess of code that was written up in a hurry by someone else.

    Advice to Senior ManagementEngineering leadership should be providing guidance on implementation, not making decisions for the people actually doing the work. The code review process is overly restrictive and focuses too much on code conventions instead of more important issues like testability and code structure.

    Start lowering the bar for some engineering positions; people don't need to know how to most efficiently implement binary search tree operations or big-O complexity for sorting algorithms to just maintain code and tweak HTML. You hire a lot of bright people with high expectations for what they'll get to work on, and often disappoint them.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    4 people found this helpful  

    Good Benefits - Too many levels of management

    Lead Engineer (Former Employee)
    Boston, MA

    ProsBenefits package is great. Not only the 'normal' benefits that you get at a company, but being part of the Expedia network, there were a number of perks/discounts that you would get on travel.

    ConsProjects that I was working on kept having more and more layers of management added to them, until the managers were outnumbering the contributors. Scope creep was inevitable and projects that should have been pushed live months in advance, got held up with 'wait, one more feature before we release'

    Advice to Senior ManagementReduce the layers of middle management and move in a more agile manner, releasing code more frequently and iterating based upon feedback.

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    4 people found this helpful  

    overall good

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    Newton, MA

    Proscutting-edge company that's growing rapidly

    Consunhealthy behavior of some of those in leadership

    Advice to Senior Managementget rid of the employees in leadership who are toxic for the co and those they are leading

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    7 people found this helpful  

    eh

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)
    Newton, MA

    Pros- By far the smartest people i've ever worked with, and most people are more than willing to help out when needed
    - Great opportunity for improving your skillset. You have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of projects and technologies
    - Good perks (health care, free lunch, etc, vacation/sick time, etc)

    Cons- As stated in other reviews, the image doesn't always match the reality. There's a foosball table, video games that we're essentially discouraged from using
    - Communication between marketing and engineering can use some work
    - Initial salary was good, but subsequent raises didn't seem to match up with management feedback
    - What others have said about the inherent "fear-based" way of doing things is definitely still there
    - Very little praise for a job well done

    Advice to Senior ManagementImproved communication between marketing and engineering is still very much needed. A little praise every now and again certainly wouldn't hurt morale.

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