Hotwire

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Hotwire Reviews

Updated Jun 13, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

3.7 101 reviews

40% Approve of the CEO

Hotwire President Henrik Kjellberg

Henrik Kjellberg

(20 ratings)

70% of employees recommend this company to a friend

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The company respects work-life balance, while still offering challenging opportunities (in 28 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
14 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews
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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    6 people found this helpful  

    Trying for a fresh start but keeps revisiting the plan to do so

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsSolid set of long-term back-end engineers who are holding down the fort but constrained by limited resources and an aging product on the front-end.

    Renewed focus on analytics could bear fruit.

    Finally realizing that the "we've always done it this way" approach doesn't work anymore in some areas and starting to try new things like off-loading certain functions to Expedia.

    ConsHR seems to think company culture and employee motivation is developed from throwing in a few free lunches and having long company meetings. They keep your bonus and pay limited as an existing employee as it is has dependencies both on overall division (Hotwire) and also company (Expedia) performance so you take a hit if either doesn't meet plan even though though the CEO of Expedia always talks of "throwing off cash". They have an unnecessarily long delay of 4 months in-between the time you complete your yearly review with your manager to when bonus payouts and yearly increases hit. Managers don't even read the reviews anyway and even though they claimed to drop the calibration / sliding scale system it not so secretly still exists, you just aren't told your score.

    New president came in and followed his formulaic approach used at another division of lay-offs followed by bringing in his friends from other parts of the company. There was definitely some change needed in the old guard at the Exec level who blindly let the competition eat their lunch but the lay-offs at lower levels were nonstrategic and left certain parts of the org decimated and without needed resources.

    So far in 2014 strategies have shifted multiple times and overall they are on the hook for delivering more than the org can reasonably accomplish. Some of the newly established org goals are idealistic though clearly unobtainable - they missed the "R" in SMART goals.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThink more long term and don't make short term decisions that will bite you later. Example: Laying off software engineers (in San Francisco!?!) when you are still very profitable but not meeting the company plan just to find yourself needing more engineers a few months later to sustain the business. Now it's tough to hire them as everyone knows you lay-off people, hmmm.

    Set a few realistic goals and priorities that everyone can get behind and stick with them.

    Simplify your strategy to a few succinct goals that people can remember and start executing and deliver it before changing it again before it even gets out of the gate.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Challenging time at Hotwire

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    ProsGood work life balance. fun, friendly coworkers. vacation and travel benefits are great. plenty of opportunities for growth. interesting projects. innovative and agile. pool table and Ping-Pong, free sodas.

    ConsHotwire is struggling through difficult changes (lay offs, new leadership, short staffed) with very poor HR support and below market pay.

    Advice to Senior ManagementProvide better HR support and more competitive pay.

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

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Good times are over.. left with few good employees

    Technical Product Analyst (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA (US)

    ProsGood co-workers. Free soft drinks. Jeans ok. Ok location.

    ConsAs someone mentioned below " In my 8 years of experience never seen an HR so bad". Would agree with that. HR is not helpful and on top of that their attitude does not help. If you say you are leaving they will treat you like their family enemy. Work-life balance are non-existent depending on the group. Salary is not up to market.

    Advice to Senior ManagementProvide some training to the HR. They are taking their job for granted.

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

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    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    Run Far and Fast

    Analyst (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA (US)

    ProsGood work life balance. (Most employees are in the office at 9/9:30 am and leave by 5/5:30 pm). Friendly Employees. Fun company events.

    ConsLots of layers. Little communication among departments, everyone is very silo. Changes are slow. Analytics are very basic. Little career development and mentoring. No clear direction.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    5 people found this helpful  

    Some sharp engineers. That's where it ends.

    Product Manager (Former Employee) San Francisco, CA (US)

    ProsThere's a safety net from Expedia, which gives the company a relaxed form. Economies of scale apply as you have access to technology and accounts created by 12k employees at the parent company. There are some good and some great engineers at Hotwire, especially at the architect level. If you run a product, you get full ownership.

    ConsIt's 2003 at Hotwire's Codebase, UX and risk aversion. It's 2008 for the rest: salaries, perks, etc. Times are tough for the company, and that's no secret. But HR is *extremely* sketchy here. In my 8 years of experience, I've never encountered a company that tries to take advantage of an employee already leaving. Also, LOTS of nepotism from the new president. Lots and lots and lots of nepotism. Copious amounts of it. Did I mention there's a lot of nepotism?

    Advice to Senior ManagementStop lying. Employees will never judge good leadership for transparency. They will judge for lying. If you'd like to make Hotwire a 20 person marketing brand for Expedia, then just convey that. However, rapid changes are happening. Means we'll see how Hotwire shapes up in forthcoming months. It could be for the better.

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

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    A lot of potential, but lacking competitive edge for San Francisco

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    Pros-Some travel benefits
    -From what I gathered, the lean environment used to mean a fun environment
    -Great San Francisco location

    Cons-New president made drastic changes, leaving a lot of recently hired employees completely confused about why they were brought on
    -Could turn around but right now, is very behind the times in terms of a) company structure b) analytics and c) technology innovation
    -Very, very lean. People may have a good work/life balance but, it comes at the price of innovation and morale because of minimal headcount
    -Teams this lean also means most people are far from any type of management position
    -Favor tenure over creative, promising new talent

    Advice to Senior ManagementBe proactive when assessing market trends and what it will take for Hotwire to be competitive. Defend your new employees if they are more qualified than older, stale talent.

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

    • Culture & Values
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    2 people found this helpful  

    Hotwire - The Ship that sank!

    Senior Software Engineer (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA (US)

    ProsWork culture was good and the company paid me well!

    ConsThe management was too late to react to the downfall in business and they resorted to layoffs as the first option. Pathetic!

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

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities

    1 person found this helpful  

    Hotwire is not a place for you if you have a pulse. Cooperate passive aggressive culture. They just want yes men.

    Project Manager (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA (US)

    Prosgreat travel perks. Great SF financial district location

    ConsCooperate passive aggressive culture. Agile but still very command and control with a lot of useless meetings.

    Advice to Senior ManagementFire your middle managers and make them apply for their jobs again. Being able to schedule meetings is not a skill.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Approves of CEO

    3 people found this helpful  

    boring and bland but with dangling carrot

    I Tick and I Travel Over the Hotwire (Current Employee) San Francisco, CA (US)

    Prosgreat 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.

    Conslot 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 Senior Managementfire 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Career Opportunities
    • Disapproves of CEO

    1 person found this helpful  

    dull.

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

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

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

    Advice to Senior Managementallow 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.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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