Hotwire Reviews | Glassdoor

Hotwire Reviews

Updated July 13, 2017
20 reviews

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3.0
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Hotwire President Henrik Kjellberg
Henrik Kjellberg
3 Ratings

20 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great culture, excellent benefits, great work life balance (in 40 reviews)

  • Great benefits - good location - flexible schedule (in 13 reviews)

Cons
  • Work-life balance are non-existent depending on the group (in 5 reviews)

  • Hotwire is a relatively small company, so there can be me lateral opportunities available than promotions (in 5 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Software engineer 2"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Hotwire full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Smart people, nice culture and tech

    Cons

    Business is going down and lot people are leaving.

    Advice to Management

    Retain your people and re evaluate the product.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "san francisco"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at Hotwire full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The biggest plus is that the company is located in San Francisco. Other pros are good travel benefits, the relatively small teams, and a can do culture, at least below the executive level.

    Cons

    Way to much churn at the leadership level. It creates an environment of uncertainty and it is also a big drag on morale, particularly as it has a deep ripple effect in the rest of the organizations. It is not uncommon to see a entire team cycle out of the company in the span of a year.

    Advice to Management

    Need to remember that there will always be a market for an opaque hotel offering. Also need to keep in mind that it is intrisicaly a countercyclical business, but makes a good counterbalance to the other retail brands that are strongly pro-cyclical.

  3. Helpful (6)

    "Outdated without an identity, but positive forward momentum."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    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 Management

    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.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Sr. Software Engg"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Hotwire full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Small and good company overall

    Cons

    Lots of management changes after new CEO took over

    Advice to Management

    Nothing


  5. Helpful (2)

    "lost during transition period"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Hotwire full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    good life and work balance
    people are nice

    Cons

    business environment is deteriorating, upper management are changing, lots of change happening in the company


  6. "Used to be great, but times are changing"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Unix Systems Administrator in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Unix Systems Administrator in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Hotwire full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - The people are mostly great
    - Nice office
    - Great benefits
    - Passion for travel
    - Lots of opportunity to learn new technologies

    Cons

    - No more work from home
    - New president that doesn't seem to understand the bay area job market
    - Layoffs during a time of running extremely lean already
    - Lots of good people leaving
    - Average pay is below market rate
    - The "fun" environment of the past has become a much more stressful and negative environment

    Advice to Management

    Quit the "crack the whip" attitude now or we're going to lose all our best employees. Bring back the fun, flexibility, passion, and atmosphere that made the company so successful in the past.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "It's just ok"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Hotwire full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    - Great work / life balance. Reasonable hours
    - Great benefits like commuter reimbursement, health and fitness allowance, extra floating holidays, free fancy drinks
    - The company has been around for awhile now so it's pretty stable and efficient

    Cons

    - Seems like getting ahead is difficult. It's very corporate in that way. There seems to be a lot of middle management positions. I don't know what all those people do.
    - The culture is pretty dull. Perhaps in the past it was more exciting and energetic, but now it seems cliquey and staid. As a new person, I didn't feel very welcomed. The pace seems slow to me. Not a very exciting place to work.
    - Pay is decent, but on the lower end
    - A lot of people have been there for a very long time. I wonder if that is a good thing or a bad thing. New blood, new ideas, new energy....
    - My manager doesn't really advocate for me or mentor me. I feel left on my own to navigate a relatively large and somewhat closed off culture.

    Advice to Management

    Clem made a habit of talking to and getting to know all employees. He made himself approachable. I don't get that feeling from most of the rest of the senior team. Be approachable and help ALL employees feel that their input is valuable, not just the people with seniority or in product and marketing. The next great idea could come from anyone.

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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    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.


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

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Producer in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Producer in San Francisco, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Hotwire full-time (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 Management

    Pay people market value and define roles more clearly.


  10. Helpful (11)

    "Thrill is Gone"

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

    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 Management

    - 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.


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