Hotwire

  www.hotwire.com
  www.hotwire.com

Hotwire Reviews

Updated December 17, 2014
Updated December 17, 2014
123 Reviews
3.5
123 Reviews
Rating Trends

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

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The company respects work-life balance, while still offering challenging opportunities (in 33 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

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    boring and bland but with dangling carrot

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - I Tick and I Travel Over the Hotwire in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - I Tick and I Travel Over the Hotwire in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Hotwire

    Pros

    great place to have a child, very fair. great place if you really want to disappear so to speak. i.e. get little done and just coast. a ton of people have left so a lot of openings are there for people to rise into to. lax hours. some people come at 11 and leave at 4, even a the high up. great stock grants and options over there years to keep you chugging along. very generous bonus which keeps us around! clem (president) is really a great guy who i think is trying to handle things the best he can.

    Cons

    lot of management heaped on top of more management. it seems like there is a 1-4 or 1-3 ratio of managers to contributors in some departments. so that is a super big pain in getting anything done. way too much process. they tried agile and that did not work with those involved. so now they have a new thing called queues which is like mini waterfalls but is turning out to be just as slow and painful. but with just less people in each one. a lot of deadweight even at the high high up. they really can take any fun out of anything while getting big big salaries. a lot of people have been leaving as well which is really sad and ironically its a lot of smart people who are going. so the weak ones stay. ugh.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    fire all those slackers. get rid of all the managers. flatten the org. get rid of that horrific waterfall structure. merge product and fd together and make people accountable. reward those that work. not those who kiss ass.

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

    dull.

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

    I have been working at Hotwire

    Pros

    nice location if you like the city.
    non confrontational environment.
    family friendly if you want to have kids
    clean office.

    Cons

    so boring
    very tedious
    very process oriented,
    stifling environment, a "just do as your told" type attitude
    rigid inflexible managers.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    allow more innovation and new ideas. Don't be so rigid with respect to process. And you are in an industry that is becoming more commoditized.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful  

    more unfair as time goes on and no innovtion

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Hard Worker Never Getting Promoted
    Current Employee - Hard Worker Never Getting Promoted

    I have been working at Hotwire

    Pros

    Work life balance is good for the most part. Good vacation and extra bonus holidays sprinkled in there. The office is clean and the location is nice. If you are in the clique you can get some nice stock and bonus. At least that is what I hear....

    Cons

    Over time Hotwire has gotten more corporate and the culture has gotten very unfair in its promotions and transparency. Hotwire was my first 'non startup' job besides a small consulting job at a bank, and I came her to see what a mid sized company was like. Unfortunately the politics and policies are worse then at the bank I previously worked for. Here are some of the unfair things:

    Promotions - A lot of the promotions are based on tenure and not productivity. Because of this some real rock stars have left over the last year or two

    Transparency - Hotwire always talks about transparency. However this past review cycle (fall of 2010) a number of promotions were given and this was never communicated to the company. A number of these promotions are dubious as best and still have never been communicated.

    Deadweight - There is a lot of deadweight here. Sadly these people keep moving up the ladder and create a self fulfilling prophecy of more deadweight.

    Pay - The pay is below industry standard. Thus we lose the good people to other jobs. When startups are giving better salary/benefits these days something is wrong...

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Get rid of the dead weight. There are so many people making 0 or negative contribution here. Let them go. When the vp of product leaves later this year hire externally and bring somebody to shake things up. The same with other big positions. Make people accountable.

    LAYOFF - Use any 'bad market' period of time to lay off the slackers and reward those who do not work hard.

    Remember you will never get anywhere when the good leave and the weak stay.

    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO
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  5. 6 people found this helpful  

    should give prozac to all new hires, that boring

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - A Senior Leader of Principal Players
    Current Employee - A Senior Leader of Principal Players

    I have been working at Hotwire

    Pros

    - the office is clean and orderly
    - most people are not social so they do not annoy you much
    - you can get a nice view of coitus tower or china town depending on where you sit
    - they have free honest tea
    - you can yelp, facebook, myspace, etc almost all day and still get your work done
    - I have a boatload of stock and options that are keeping me here.
    - clem is a really good guy.

    Cons

    - so boring, all you think about is your life withering away
    - so many brainwashed middle-types who are afraid to do anything
    - so much fear in changing an ounce of anything, let alone a pound
    - in the years I have been here more good leave and the slackers stay
    - older employees who have been here have awesome pto policy, thus they stay
    - they very rarely fire anybody
    - in my dept nobody works remotely while in others they do freely

    The other day I saw a hotwire ad on tv and it did not even register that I worked there. That is how disconnected I realized I was with this place. You go into the office and suddenly a dark cloud of depression hits you. then as you leave the veil of depression is gone. i am not expecting it to be like a wild 2000 startup where people are all partying and making out with each other but working at a 200 person company that moves at ibm speed leaves something to be desired. If it were not for a variety of stock option and rsu grants that I got I would never be staying at this place.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    make it fun before every damn good employee leaves. they are going right from under you.

    another option. fire half the company. do not add any new feature to the site for 1 years and see how things are. chances are you will have made the same money and spent half the salary.

    quit being so pollyanish about stuff.

    quit being so afraid to tie your own shoe!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Can get old fast

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

    I have been working at Hotwire

    Pros

    - Convenient location, food is close by depending on taste
    - Office is well lit, fridge is stocked with drinks
    - Stable environment in terms of workload, not many employees sitting around past 7pm

    Cons

    - Can't keep up with what's going on outside it's environment
    - The business can get old really fast due to low innovation
    - Managers don't take subordinates seriously enough about the business

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Start listening, not just to managers but lower employees. All employees are your eyes and ears to the business world. They see things you might not.

    No opinion of CEO
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Proceed with caution

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

    I worked at Hotwire

    Pros

    Hotwire is a great company to work for depending on the department. There are certain departments within Hotwire that have a lot of turnover and it will be evident in the "downsides" section. However, depending on the department, I would recommend Hotwire. The company is fun, there are a lot of events planned outside of work that are great. The benefits are also really good. In addition, the company is very diverse with people working there from all over the world. That makes it a great place to work if you're looking for a job with diversity. Eric is a good motivator and visionary for the company.

    Cons

    The biggest downside is the culture of micro-management. It wasn't uncommon to have 10 to 13 rounds of revisions to a project before it was approved. And it seemed to permeate throughout the department so it wasn't even one person whose work needed constant revisions. Most people in the department experienced the same issue. This made it really hard to gain any momentum on projects and actually get stuff done. Too much time was spend nit-picking things that were purely aesthetic. In addition, there is a lot of turnover which is really bad for employee morale. I would also say the work/life balance is not there and there is a lot of overtime that is mandatory in order to stay ahead.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    There is a big push to retain employees because of the high turnover rate. However, I don't think Management is really addressing the true issues. After speaking with colleagues, I found out that they felt similarly. One colleague said " I feel like my best is never good enough" and it is too stressful. I feel like until the real issues are addressed, the turnover will continue.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Approves of CEO
  8. 4 people found this helpful  

    Outdated without an identity, but positive forward momentum.

    • 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

    The work-life balance is impressive considering Hotwire is a digital company and is located in San Francisco. The company is slowly modernizing after several years of a stagnant "if it isn't broken, don't fix it" mentality. Due to both the size of the company and the leadership, your title does not determine whether or not you get to have a voice. There is an opportunity at this point in time to greatly impact the future of this brand.

    Cons

    Because the company is in a position to play catch-up after years without any major change, there are internal growing pains. There is little to no cross-functional alignment (terrotorial silos) and most teams assume their own goals translate to the goals of others. The vocal minority often win during times of conflict. There is very little comaraderie among employees, and it seems as though people's various passions about the company have less to do with the product itself, but with the discounts (which are subpar). While the company frantically tries to scale for change, teams are being fractured across the Seattle and San Francisco offices - further reducing chances of developing a sense of comeraderie. While the work varies in excitement, the environment is dry and humorless. Transparency on mobility, pay scales and career development is opaque at best. Compensation (despite the fact that it is located in the most expensive city in America) is not even close to competitive.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work on processes to help facilitate the pace at which the brand is changing. Don't downplay the impact of hiring in two places. Focus on improving morale in a meaningful and measurable way...happy employees make a successful company.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Great people to work with but poor leadership

    • 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 (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    All the people I worked with were outstanding, but lack of leadership led to the company's downfall and layoffs last Fall. I wasn't part of the layoffs but after so many people left I decided to leave to for a better opportunity. There is work/life balance though but that's because I don't think people want to stay any longer at work then they have to!

    Cons

    True creativity and innovation is not valued. It's an extremely analytical company to the point that those that rely on intuition are not valued. Everything has a cost and number which is fine, but not when it comes at the price of not understanding what customers actually want. Everyone gets lost pinching pennies and then doesn't understand what they can't see the forest for the trees. There's no investment in what will actually make customers happy.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give people more creative freedom to solve problems and invest in long-term solutions.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Many recent changes in leadership and focus for the company have made this a difficult place to work.

    • 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 (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Hotwire has a great product with many years of experience.

    Cons

    Reduction in staff in 2013 was not expected and hard for everyone in the company whether you are still there or not.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Big changes

    • 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 (more than an year)

    Pros

    Coworkers, development environment. Good engineers that collaborate well in an agile environment.

    Cons

    Big corporate restructure. After layoffs, emphasis is on saving money meaning not sure how work will be valued during performance reviews.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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