Xanterra

  www.xanterra.com
  www.xanterra.com

Xanterra Reviews

Updated November 19, 2014
Updated November 19, 2014
89 Reviews
2.3
89 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
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Andrew N Todd
37 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • uh living in a national park of course, meeting amazing people (in 21 reviews)

  • Meeting people from all around the world, very fun, great people-skills building (in 11 reviews)


Cons
  • If you work as a cafeteria worker or similar low pay grade positions, the winter will suck (in 8 reviews)

  • Since the location of the national park is far away from big cities, you probably just get stuck in the park for the whole summer (in 7 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    Know what you're getting into

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Yellowstone National Park, WY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Yellowstone National Park, WY

    I worked at Xanterra full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    You get to live in a national park! Also, your co-workers can be some of the best friendships that you make. They are usually pretty good about giving you time off to explore.

    Cons

    The pay is terrible for all the work that you do. They take so much out of your paycheck for horrible food at the employee cafeteria. Upper level management is far and distant.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Upper level management - Get your head out of the clouds and stop dreaming! There is a difference between having an idea look good on paper and actually having it work!

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2.  

    Extremely inconsistent work experiences in some of the most beautiful places on earth.

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

    I worked at Xanterra

    Pros

    Living and working in a National Park, experience our national lands and all their past and present culture on a level few will ever see. Benefits tough to stay eligible but decent. Room and board, although spartan it's one less thing to worry about. Commutes are non exsistent. Low cost of living. Very easy to advance to higher position. Entry level to assistant manager in one season, witnessed this on several occasions. Ability to transfer between Xanterra's conncesion parks or stay put at year round parks, excellent way to maintain adequate hours to retain benefits, while still have the ability to travel. Most locations have a community type center with gym and recreation staff that provides guided activities, gear rental and other events for employees, quality of these facilities can vary greatly between locations, for instance Grand Canyon NP has a commercial grade gym for a fee, Lake(Yellowstone NP) has a poor gym for free with broken equipment. Good way to attempt to acquire a National Park Service position, work for Xanttera, volunteer for NPS and NETWORK. Employee discounts on certain items at company stores, restaurants and lodging. Employees may also be able to secure a dorm room for visiting family.

    Cons

    Very inconsistent practices, from one season to the next most employees are turned over giving for a very inconsistent work environment. This is true with managers as well, one season good consistent boss next a new untrained and haphazard manager. Promotions or coveted positions are often not doled out on merit, someone with a friend of stature could be hired over a veteran of the company. Many positions must be acquired through contact with former bosses, acquaintances and so on. Living conditions can be trying on the first year employee trying to adjust. Xanterra provides housing, meals, recreation and many other services for employees, not to mention guest services all of this under the watchful eye of the federal government in NPS. There is such a high rate of turnover in the base jobs with Xanterra that the personnel who remain year after year tend to have an apathetic attitude towards issues of unfairness in hiring/promoting, poor housing/dining etc. Running their business in a national park setting has given the corporate culture a skewed perspective since most decisions are made by NPS and NPS has from what I have witnessed in the last few years taken little interest in employee issues.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Really, National Park Service is ultimately the manager of the parks systems and the companies that operate there. A professional class.of seasonal employee needs to be created to stop the massive turn over of talent. More pay and benefitsthat stay with you. A way to maintain a job or benefits inbetween seasons. Perhaps a way to maintain benefits between different parks/different companies so that there are more opportunities for winter work. Promote and award winter jobs based on merit. Perhaps a few more concession players into the game would better working conditions and increase wages when different companies compete for the employees. I just don't think Xanterra as a unit has the corporate will to affect meaningful change, perhaps NPS prodded on by a study by the GOA perhaps could make some in roads to real change.

  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    The job itself was amazing, management made everything else a nightmare.

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

    I worked at Xanterra full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Meeting people from all around the world, very fun, great people-skills building. Lots of opportunities if you enjoy nature, exploring, and travelling.

    They are very conscious about their environmental impact. They have some fantastic policies and ideas for being "green". I am far from your typical "tree hughing hippie", but they talk the talk, and they really do walk the walk when it comes to recycling, using cleaner products, water and electricity consumption, and sustainability. Seriously, their "Ecologix" program is worthy of every award they've gotten. The Environmental Director at my location is absolutely fantastic and a great guy. Worth every penny they pay him, in my opinion.

    Cons

    They treat their lower end (read: the ones busting their tails every day) employees like absolute garbage. They micro-manage every detail of your job. Creativity, new ideas, and constructive criticism is not allowed, and you will be punished accordingly for not towing the company line. I was discriminated against and terminated despite following all written company procedures. My manager, when she terminated me, said "it doesn't matter" when I said I followed all written procedures. I had a very strong case for a wrongful termination lawsuit, but I have other family and very close friends that either work for Xanterra in other positions, or have their own business that relies on Xanterra's blessing to operate. I have no doubt that had I pursued legal action, retaliation would have occurred against them. Various departments are managed by nothing but "yes men/women". Nobody has the stones to question decisions made by upper management. But obedience is rewarded with promotions and raises. My manager got 3 promotions to positions that didn't exist before. She was compensated very, very well. She could take vacations on a regular basis, much more than any of us.

    For benefits, they have a very tight hold on what you are eligible for. When I was hired, we could accumulate 96 hours of sick time as a full time employee. A couple years ago, they slashed that by half, only allowing 48 hours. They claimed this was offset by giving us "free short-term disability." The problem with this is that short-term disability only pays 80% of your normal wage (and we were all minimum wage), still has medical benefits deducted, and taxes deducted. Also, certain criteria must be met to claim this. You couldn't just get sick for 3 or 4 days (happens a lot given the exposure to worldwide travelers) and use this. 48 hours with our schedule (11 paid hours a day) only gave us 4 days off for illnesses a year. 4 days. Really?

    For wages, longevity as an employee is not rewarded. I was hired at $7.25/hour when minimum wage was $7.15. The following January 1st, MW went to $7.25. I then got my yearly "review", and got an $0.11 raise (for "meeting or exceeding company standards" in every category). The following 1/1, MW went to $7.35. My next yearly review got me to $7.43. The following 1/1, you guessed it, MW went to $7.65. My wage went to $7.73, keeping an $0.08 gap. Upon my yearly review, I received no "performance wage increase", amd the reasoning given was "you already got your raise when minimum wage went up." The following 1/1, MW went to $7.80, and now my gap was gone. Over 4 years of full time service, and I was worth the same as the person hired yesterday. No loyalty for tenure. "Perks" for tenure always got moved to just longer than most of us had been employeed.

    Overall, the suits in the offices are so out of touch with the working class making the company their profits it's not even funny.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Nothing I say to them would make a difference. Management needs to totally be cleaned out, and open competiton for those positions allowed. Put the best people in position to use their best skills to make the company profitable while also ensuring employees are happy and taken care of.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    if you work your way up to management it's pretty good.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Management in Grand Canyon, AZ
    Current Employee - Management in Grand Canyon, AZ

    I have been working at Xanterra full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    If you have management experience or the drive and patience to work your way up it's pretty good here. Management housing here is probably the best out of the whole NP system and cheap. Anything from an efficiency appt to a house is available depending on your position and time with the company. 2 bdrm town house with w/d is $320 a month. No central air but get a you can always get a window unit for 1-2 months a year you need it. Not much to do if you aren't super outdoorsy so a car is a must for your sanity. They do allow up to 2 cats in the appts and dogs in the houses but not in the dorms. Lots of people with kids and there is a K-12 school in the park. Signing privileges (free food) up to 3 meals a day in the cafeterias for yourself or if you are in upper management family etc too. Overall the food isn't too bad, mostly processed Sysco stuff but they have been incorporating more fresh veg lately. Good enough for lunch when you are working or just don't want to cook.

    Cons

    Micro managing or nothing at all. As middle management the higher ups either dictate your every move or you get no assistance from them what so ever. It's a year round park but the majority of entry level jobs are seasonal international workers. That's great for multiculturalism but it's a never stopping revolving door when it comes to training. By the time you get someone trained and up to full speed they are only around for another month or 2 if you are lucky. Then the process starts all over. When it comes to hiring they hire anyone who can pass a felony background check and a pee test. But when it comes to firing people it's nearly impossible. If you show up to work sober, regardless of what kind of worker you are or if you even really do your job, it is nearly impossible to get rid of anyone for horrible performance. Everyone sees it, it starts to effect the performance of the good workers, and overall moral goes down the toilet. I've had people I've written up repeatedly for not doing their job properly for MONTHS on end. Others have to pick up their slack constantly but nope, can't fire them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Fix the issues with the dorms!!! (bed bugs, cleanliness etc) I know there is nothing that can be done about the number of dorms/beds but the overall living conditions could be VASTLY improved. Focus more on hiring domestic employees. The internationals come here for vacation, work is something they are grudgingly forced to do to keep their visa and often do as little as absolutely possible. Improve the pay and living conditions, provide more activities for people to do so downing a 12 pack and bottle every night isn't the only option for entertainment, kick out the drunks after they cause too many problems, and you'll attract a lot better people and the good ones that do show up won't go running so fast either.

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

    Beautiful place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Cashier in Grand Canyon, AZ
    Current Employee - Cashier in Grand Canyon, AZ

    I have been working at Xanterra as a contractor (less than an year)

    Pros

    Good for seasonal work, close to the nature, great benefit and good co-workers. The companies offer discount for employees to use in facilities within the company. It's a big company located in many locations. When I worked there I felt like I was working and on vacation at the same time.

    Cons

    Lower pay compare to other companies and the work schedule is not fixed. I worked as a cashier in one of the company's restaurants. Sometimes you have to come as early as 5 am because that is when the restaurant is opened.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Beautiful place, terrible company.

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

    I have been working at Xanterra full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    The best reason to work here is to see the park and experience the natural beauty all around you

    Cons

    Dealing with the terrible management and exploitive motives of the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Terrible company that exploits its employees. Nasty dirty facilities with poor management in every division. If this company was anywhere else but Yellowstone it would not survive. Xanterra is only a successful company due to the fact people are going to come to Yellowstone regardless of the way the resort company handles their business because they have control over the entire park and it is a monopoly and they know this. The gas price has been $4 in Yellowstone for 5 years straight, the owner of Xanterra got his start as an oil executive so the fact there are set gas prices in the park (for the last 5 years) is no coincidence. As soon as you leave the park you can get gas for 50 cents less on the gallon for what you pay in the park. The owner of Xanterra is also part owner of Sysco foods which supplies the food for the park. The food prepared in the employee dining room is absolutely terrible, the food in prison is just as good if not better and as of right now it costs $12 dollars a day to eat as an employee at Xanterra. $150 DOLLARS IS TAKEN OUT OF EACH CHECK TO PAY FOR THE SYSCO FOOD YOU ARE GIVEN. Also the roads in the resort areas are absolutely torn to hell, you'll need a tank to drive through each resort location in order to not damage your suspension and need new struts on your vehicle. The internet in Yellowstone is terrible as well and pretty much non-existent (though you pay for it regardless of is you use it). Xanterra uses Global Gossip as their internet provider and you cannot even check your email 9 out of 10 days, this may in part be due to the fact they place one router an entire building that had two floors each of which is over 100 yards long, Xanterra probably pays 4 dollars a month to provide its employees with its stellar Wi-Fi. Also Xanterra pays you as an employee 3 dollars for every day you are here mon-sun and is paid to you as a bonus at the end of the year, they will hang this over your head to manipulate you into staying to fulfill your entire contract and try their hardest to fire you within the last few days of your contract so they don't have to pay your bonus out to you so be very careful towards the end of your contract. If you like poorly managed companies that don't care for their employees and exploit them and their guests every chance they get then this is the place for you! There are many other cons of Xanterra but it would take a month to write them all down.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8.  

    Working in Yellowstone

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

    I worked at Xanterra as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Working in a National Park is mostly great. You get weekends to go explore. For the most part, you don't have chores or errands or anything major like that when you get off work. You get to meet people from all over the world.

    Meeting people is by far the best part of this. Everyone goes out there either by themselves or with just one or two friends and then they get there and they don't really have much connection with the outside world (slow internet, limited phone coverage, etc.) This forces people to open up and talk to you and 99% of them are good people just looking to have a good time.

    Oh and they do promote from within frequently if that's important to you.

    Cons

    Not making much money really wasn't that big of a deal for me. The biggest problems with working for Xanterra tend to be your after-hours relationship with the company and NPS(Law enforcement).

    Working there, you are on federal land and the rules can be pretty strict. More significantly, the company has a history of firing people based on hearsay. The rangers similarly have a history of writing tickets with little to no evidence. Mostly this comes into play with instances of underage drinking. I have a friend who both got a ticket and got fired because an underage drinker lied about getting alcohol from him to avoid getting into trouble. My friend, who is studying to be a dentist, then spent ~$2000 hiring a lawyer and taking this to court to get his name cleared. The judge threw the case out because there was absolutely no evidence and the case was ridiculous. My friend got his job back a few weeks later but he was out $2000+pay+living expenses for the time he was fired.

    Now, don't get me wrong, this is a great place to work. You just have to avoid a great many situations and it is a little frustrating to have your work and home lives so tied up together.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Can't say much about upper management, but my bosses in housekeeping were the best I've ever had.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9.  

    Go in with reasonable expectations

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Yellowstone National Park, WY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Yellowstone National Park, WY

    I have been working at Xanterra as a contractor

    Pros

    You get to live in Yellowstone National Park! It is a great place to move up fast if you are a motivated and hard worker. You can gain a lot of experience in a short amount of time and try out different jobs. The are considerably environmentally aware and progressive in attitudes toward minorities.

    Cons

    You live and work with the same people. The food is comparable to a small cafeteria. Almost all line level employees and even managers have roommates.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Yellowstone National Park Summer Job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Hospitality Crew in Yellowstone National Park, WY
    Former Employee - Hospitality Crew in Yellowstone National Park, WY

    I worked at Xanterra as an intern (less than an year)

    Pros

    The dorms provided for employees are in a very reasonable price and good quality.
    Since most of the staff there were international students and American students, the relationship among staff and managers are quite friendly.

    Cons

    Since the location of the national park is far away from big cities, you probably just get stuck in the park for the whole summer.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11.  

    A great place to try different positions

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Data Entry in Grand Canyon, AZ
    Current Employee - Data Entry in Grand Canyon, AZ

    I have been working at Xanterra full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Xanterra hires virtually anyone - this is good and bad. Opportunities for moving up or for simply trying something different are different every day. The cost of living is low, so working here allows you to save money too.

    Cons

    Living in company housing (especially in the dormitories) can be very challenging - the proctors don't hold the troublemakers accountable. Pay is low for the work that you are doing, and the jobs themselves can be boring.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Raise the wages and you'll gain better employees who don't move on when they get frustrated. Improve conflict resolution skills in management, especially in the Housing department. This would help you retain employees, ultimately saving you money.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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Yellowstone busses in the snow

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