Grand Circle Reviews

Updated August 26, 2014
Updated August 26, 2014
47 Reviews
2.2
47 Reviews
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Alan E. Lewis
22 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    GCC is a dynamic place that you can learn from great co-workers and very slick business model

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

    I worked at Grand Circle for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Entrepreneurial environment
    - Fast paced and open communication
    - Always something new going on and you will learn allot
    - You are able to travel and see things

    Cons

    Your status can change hour to hour, seen to many instances where the something didn't work properly and that individual either had their salary impacted or effectively out the door. Real Marketing Strategy is not allowed to run and see results and be able to change with learning's.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Company too focused on reacting quickly to plan ahead

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

    I worked at Grand Circle full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Excellent coworkers - generally speaking, the people who work alongside you will always have your back. Company culture can be fun.

    Cons

    So fast-paced that there's no preplanning, and every project is completed at break-neck pace; no opportunities for good work to be created if you're always on a "due-five-minutes-ago" mentality. The C-Level management is a revolving door, and the company values are used as an excuse for poor treatment or to justify bad practices. (It's not 'mean' - it's 'open and honest communication!' It's not 'added at the last minute' - it's 'thriving in change!') The fun aspects of the company culture are undermined by the forced nature of it. I've seen another review that says the call center employees are treated like second-class citizens - this is absolutely true. Marketing strategists are frequently promoted from within with little formal marketing education, leading to a lot of choices being made based on gut reactions.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I don't feel like there's much hope for change, honestly. The entire foundation of the marketing strategy is direct mail, which leads to the marketing portion of the company feeling like a junk mail factory. Please stop hiring and firing executive-level employees without giving them a chance to actually effect change.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 1 person found this helpful  

    The culture and environment is strange and demoralizing

    Former Employee - Traveler Support Associate  in  Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Traveler Support Associate in Boston, MA

    I worked at Grand Circle full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    •great training
    • colleagues are very nice
    • if you can last at least a year you can work in customer support anywhere
    •great way to get foot in door for Customer service and sales for travel industry/hospitality

    Cons

    •the image of grand circle travel as having a great culture that boasts about giving back to the community is misrepresented in a few ways: they use their culture and values to manipulate their call center employees' behavior in a way that only benefits them and exploits their employees. They measure their employees performed almost completely on customer satisfaction surveys and every single customer gets a survey. Of the surveys, if less than 89.9 percent is excellent you could lose your job. I have never heard of this as being one of the sole determinants, and at my current and past jobs the surveys are not so heavily weighted.Their turnover rate is very high and they are constantly hiring and training new people because their treatment of employees' is terrible and unfair. Favoritism, and their cult-like obsession with their company's values drives people away. As does their strange practice of promoting employees after 3 months while the veterans who do put in their time and work hard are ignored. Their 3 to 5 hours of mandatory overtime is made worse by them constantly changing and making employee metrics harder to meet, and then forcing employees to behave by the values of the company and writing a quarterly report on how they displayed the values. Last but not least is the constant change in management, I has 3 different supervisors in the span of 18 months!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The trick to keeping employees is keeping them happy. Increasing the stress level with harder metrics to meet, then making them work mandatory overtime, while demanding they do extra work to prove they are showing the values does not make people happy, it burns them out. Don't try to manipulate employees behavior by having them try to prove they live by the values. This is insulting, manipulative and makes this place appear cult-like. Promotions should be done based on people who know the most, work the hardest, and have put in their time... Not simply on Customer surveys and meeting metrics as the people with the highest scores don't necessarily know the most but tell customers what they want to hear and ask veterans for help.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5.  

    Micro-manage

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Customer Service  in  Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Customer Service in Boston, MA

    I worked at Grand Circle full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    GCT gives GREAT travel perks. You get really great deals on their tours. Although you'll be traveling with old people, the price you pay is worth it. I went to Paris for 8 days in December, all meals included, flights included, and accommodation for only about $1100. Great deals!

    Cons

    The micro-managing drives everyone insane. They have VERY high turnover rate. Everyone quits hence why they are ALWAYS hiring. I was a Customer Service Rep and thats the worst job to have in that company. You recieve about 100 calls per shift regarding reservations from very happy and very irate customers. After helping them, the client gets a post call survey (PCS) and you NEED them to score you at an "excellent" every time or.... you can lose your job. Its ridiculous!!

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The benefits are awesome! But the micro-managing needs to stop. Let people do their job. Its hard to be productive and efficient when supervisors are over your shoulder telling you that you may get fired if you dont get you PCS score to an excellent. Its stressful! Hence why you have a VERY high turn over rate and why you spend so much money hiring people every month!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  6.  

    House of Lies

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Traveler Support Associate  in  Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Traveler Support Associate in Boston, MA

    I worked at Grand Circle full-time for less than a year

    Pros

    Easy money, great benefits, near the MBTA.

    Cons

    Company culture, values are use to manipulative workers rather than encourage them, no job security. If you are offer a job in Sales or Travel Support, think twice.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Have better time off policies for the Call Center, treat the call center employees better, keep good workers around even if they do not hit their numbers. Stop assuming people are stupid.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    They ask too much of call center employees

    Current Employee - Traveler Support Associate
    Current Employee - Traveler Support Associate

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

    Pros

    You work among great employees, and most supervisors are understanding and kind. Decent pay and time off. Laid back environment, casual dress code, and welcoming of different types of people.

    Cons

    Management ask too much of call center employees, days are long, never able to leave your desk. At least one person a month is fired or let go. The departments are always under staffed and you have to make up for it by working mandatory overtime. Its a run down position and the company who tries to display "change" will never change this.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stick up for your employees more. Try to be better staffed and quit running down employees to the point they quit or are fired, you're missing out on good people.

  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Worse than a war zone

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate  in  Boston, MA
    Current Employee - Associate in Boston, MA

    I have been working at Grand Circle full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Decent travel benefits (assuming that the trips you choose are not overbooked or cancelled and you find out at the last minute as it often happens)

    T-pass subsidy

    Cons

    Grand Circle is without a doubt the worst company I have worked for. Associates generally hate their jobs here because of the excessive abuse they face on a daily basis. At quarterly meetings, the executives struggle getting employees to ask them questions since it is well-known that if you ask the wrong question, you will be terminated the next day. In fact, the best leaders we have had were fired for disagreeing with the owners on an issue that was unethical and unfair. Fear lives in every corner of the company, as the owners take great pride in having an intimidating, cut-throat company culture.

    The headquarters building is falling apart. Bathrooms are extremely filthy, the elevators haven't been fixed in years, and the combination of narrow staircases and poor lightning are accidents waiting to happen. The healthcare offered by the company is expensive and doesn't cover much.

    Your most critical time with Grand Circle will be the first year (if you miraculously manage to survive--be aware that the vast majority of new associates do not last longer than 60 days so HR is always having to hire). Successful associates are those who learn that at Grand Circle hard work and merit do not pay off; rather, it's all about who you know and how much your manager likes you. In my department, two associates were terminated for being in a relationship together and not wishing to engage in private activities with a high-level company executive at a hotel. Expect to see great people quickly disappearing overnight (most are terminated but a few leave on their own hating the surreal corporate environment Grand Circle has built). If you have no "connections" in the company, your email account will be plagued by hundreds of requests from other departments whose staff don't feel the need to work and are using their connections to pass on their work to you. Again, if you don't have anyone to watch your back, you will be working from 6 am to 10 pm without qualifying for any overtime.

    To summarize the company's top two core values:

    Open & Courageous Communication: Managers can scream, harass, and abuse their associates for any reason. If associates complain to HR, they will be told they are not accepting open, courageous communication and most likely will be terminated. Even if your manager tells you: "You are an idiot for not wanting to sleep with me and I'm not happy with your attitude," you are expected to say "Thank you for your feedback." At the non-managerial level, if you disagree with another associate at a meeting, you can offend and attack him/her defending your own view since that falls under Grand Circle's definition of open and courageous communication.

    Risk Taking: During the initial onboarding, you will be required to participate in dangerous activities at an off-site location (usually at a camp in NH where you will have to climb a tree under very unsafe conditions) and if you politely refuse, you will be told that you are not a risk taker and you may lose your job.

    If you join this company, known that you will have no rights whatsoever. If your manager asks you to do something you don't feel comfortable with, start looking for a different job right away if you are not willing to comply.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn how to be fair and don't hide behind false company values

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Why work for a place that manipulates its employees?

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

    I worked at Grand Circle full-time

    Pros

    During my time there, the only pro were the travel benefits. This is essentially what they use to bait and hook its employees, especially those in less glamorous roles such as call-center positions. From the interview process onwards, the company sells itself to potential new hires with the notion that you will get to go on one of the trips if you perform well. While this really only comes to fruition for a select few, usually based on favoritism or nepotism, some of the quarterly discounts were nice. That is literally the only pro.

    Cons

    Too long to list. I could literally write for hours; however, I will give you what I found as my #1 and most compelling reason to not work here. Employees are forced to over-perform while being underpaid under the guise of the company values. GCC prides itself on its company culture and the values that they instill upon their employees, but in reality, it's a way for management and HR (People and Culture in their lingo) to almost trick it's employees to work harder than they should while being underpaid. I had several roles in this company across several departments, and I saw the same trend with all of the managers I had, as well as with managers in other departments.

    From day one, you are told that your performance will be ranked based on the successful completion of your day-to-day duties, as well as your adherence to the values. The latter is completely subjective and is subject to the interpretation of the manager. I've seen too many hard working people be let go for performance-related issues under this notion. Once your performance peaks or dips, you are immediately ranked lower, in order to pose the threat of termination in hopes that you will improve. Pay raises are given yearly, albeit in a meager fashion. I did a comparison of my roles to salaries offered by other similar companies, and the salaries offered by GCC were well under average salaries of its competitors.

    To put it simply, Grand Circle does not make proper investments in their employees. Attrition is so high here, because they either get rid of people they don't like to make way for people they do like, and because people eventually seek other employment once they realize they are undervalued.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find a better way to manage your employees. Mis-management is rampant across all departments in this company because under qualified "leaders" are promoted through favoritism or nepotism. Take a long hard look at your management structure and procedures and really think about how they can be improved in order to boost morale and retain employees.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    To do what one is fitted to do is the key to happiness.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Telesales  in  Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Telesales in Boston, MA

    I worked at Grand Circle full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Commissions for selling tour packages, travel insurance and pre and post extensions to travelers was quite competitive for the travel industry.

    Cons

    I worked in sales for a little over one year and it is a typical call center environment- nothing more, nothing less. You will be required to use various sales tactics to achieve bookings and upsells with callers. Most aspects of your day are micromanaged such as breaks and lunches (you are told when you may take them, like a system you might find in a prison) and bathroom breaks are also monitored. Gossip and nepotism are ever present. While these exist on some level in many companies, at GCT, hiring is based largely on knowing someone in the company, so the environment is clicky in a sad high school sort of way. With regard to sales, the inspiration in the department is a negative one. Because sales goals are quite high, stress levels are high even amongst the senior sales representatives. Agents are fired regularly for not hitting sales goals and threats of job loss are given to inspire agents to do better. It happened to me and to the majority of my sales class.

    In the 14 months that I worked for this company, I experienced a lot of change. I had 5 supervisor changes, 3 changes in commission/payout plans, and 3 shift changes. You must bid on your desired shift every six months and the shift you receive will be based on your sales ranking. Therefore, you must be flexible about when you can work, as the call center is open 7 days a week, M-F 9am-8pm and Sat & Sun 9am-7pm. Regardless of your schedule, weekends are a must.

    With regard to supervisors and/or management, some were ok, but I did have a supervisor who when I approached her with questions, was often looking at Facebook and often couldn't even hear my initial question because she had headphones in her ears. My fellow sales employees were also served beer several times during my tenure and on one occasion margaritas, all during working hours from the "beer cart" by call center upper management. It's ironic that these same people make the decision to fire sales agents.

    I have worked for, what are in my opinion, truly great companies in the travel industry and each one of them has been voted "Top 100 Places to Work." That is an honor voted upon by employees and it is an honor for employers to have this distinction. After departing GCT, I am returning to one of those great places to work in the travel industry and it feels great! To date and to my knowledge, the title of "100 Best Places to Work" has never been earned by GCT from its employees. Period.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Do away with that ridiculous "beer cart." It adds no value to the work environment. Furthermore, you should be able to come up with more creative ways to alleviate employee stress during busy periods. So sad.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  11.  

    Great Opportunities with a Growing Company

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - TeleSales Phone Representative  in  Boston, MA
    Current Employee - TeleSales Phone Representative in Boston, MA

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

    Pros

    Travel benefits: trips on considerable discount (about 75% off) 4 times a year, any time can take a trip for 50% off, sometimes sent on trips for free
    Time-off: Though the policies are strict, on top of your vacation and personal time you get comp time for working undesired dates and can swap shifts with other people in your department anytime you want - this helps maximize the travel benefit
    Personal growth -I was promoted 3 times over the course of 26 months. There are constantly job postings for internal transitioning but most pay less than sales so many people don't switch roles.

    Cons

    Management in cliquey and you're either in or out.
    Initiatives change quickly and are sometimes quickly dropped without notifying the contact center
    We are open 361 days a year basically no matter what!
    Everyday is a numbers game which can be very stressful. Hitting your sales metrics is very important and it's easy to miss. Termination for performance is high.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Treat everyone equally and keep your personal life a little more separate from work.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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