Hotwire Reviews

Updated 14 September 2014
Updated 14 September 2014
111 Reviews
3.0
111 Reviews
Rating Trends

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Hotwire President Henrik Kjellberg
Henrik Kjellberg
27 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • The company respects work-life balance, while still offering challenging opportunities (in 31 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

15 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 3 people found this helpful  

    Was great, now not so much

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

    I worked at Hotwire full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    When I joined Hotwire it was a great place:
    -Great coworkers
    -Relaxed environment
    -Interesting assignments
    -Real passion for the travel industry

    Cons

    When the company started going through tough times, there was a complete leadership and culture change (all for the worse). It became a cut-throat, knee-jerk, top-down mess. Almost everyone fled. It's sadly now a very negative place to work.
    Too boot, the company never paid well, but made up for it (somewhat) with the culture….so clearly now the pay seems even worse

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  2. 7 people found this helpful  

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

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

    I worked at Hotwire full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Solid 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.

    Cons

    HR 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 ManagementAdvice

    Think 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Challenging time at Hotwire

    • 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 5 years)

    Pros

    Good 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.

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide better HR support and more competitive pay.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Good times are over.. left with few good employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Technical Product Analyst in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Technical Product Analyst in San Francisco, CA (US)

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

    Pros

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

    Cons

    As 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 ManagementAdvice

    Provide some training to the HR. They are taking their job for granted.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 4 people found this helpful  

    Run Far and Fast

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Analyst in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Analyst in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at Hotwire full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Good 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.

    Cons

    Lots 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  7. 5 people found this helpful  

    Some sharp engineers. That's where it ends.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Product Manager in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Former Employee - Product Manager in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I worked at Hotwire full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    There'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.

    Cons

    It'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 ManagementAdvice

    Stop 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

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

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

    I worked at Hotwire full-time

    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 ManagementAdvice

    Be 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.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 2 people found this helpful  

    Hotwire - The Ship that sank!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Senior Software Engineer in San Francisco, CA (US)

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

    Pros

    Work culture was good and the company paid me well!

    Cons

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

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  10. 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.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Project Manager in San Francisco, CA (US)
    Current Employee - Project Manager in San Francisco, CA (US)

    I have been working at Hotwire

    Pros

    great travel perks. Great SF financial district location

    Cons

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

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

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

    Doesn't Recommend
  11. 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 (US)
    Current Employee - I Tick and I Travel Over the Hotwire in San Francisco, CA (US)

    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

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