Xanterra Reviews

Updated 29 October 2014
Updated 29 October 2014
88 Reviews
2.3
88 Reviews
Rating Trends

Recommend to a friend
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Andrew N Todd
36 Ratings

Review Highlights

Pros
  • uh living in a national park of course, meeting amazing people (in 19 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)

  • You have to be pretty hard up to work there, or just don't care about being paid and want to live in a National Park for free (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

18 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1.  

    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.

  2. 1 person 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 (US)
    Former Employee - Customer Service in Williams, AZ (US)

    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
  3.  

    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
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  5. 2 people found this helpful  

    Mostly terrible, with some good aspects.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Room Attention in Yellowstone, WI (US)
    Former Employee - Room Attention in Yellowstone, WI (US)

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

    Pros

    Living in a national park.
    Meeting people from all over.
    Some good managers.

    Cons

    1. Human resources has no idea how to hire the correct number of people. It's either too many or too little, depending on the time of the season.
    2. At least $200 is taken out of every pay check for room and board.
    3. The food is not very good, and not good for you.
    4. The dorm rooms are smaller than a college dorm, there isn't even room for a desk. There is no air conditioning.
    5. If you don't have a car, you can't explore anywhere.
    6. Management is very unorganized.
    7. At the beginning of the season, I got 5 days a week, about 10 hours a day. In the middle of the season, I worked about 5 hours a day, on a good day.
    8. The employee pub is overpriced. In fact, everything is overpriced.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't hire too many people. Learn how to respect your employees. Charge less for the terrible food and dorms.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Wonderful area to work but not so good lifestyle

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Housekeeper in Yellowstone National Park, WY (US)
    Former Employee - Housekeeper in Yellowstone National Park, WY (US)

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

    Pros

    Xanterra has locations next to beautiful hiking areas. Every employee develops a more personal relationship with their co-workers than in other jobs. returning employees earn more money and have more opportunities to advance. You can roommate with your spouse or friends. United in shared suffering.

    Cons

    You are not payed much and if you plan on doing anything outside of where you are stationed be prepared to spend most of it on gas money. There is a heavy drinking culture especially in the winter. The complementary food can be hit or miss. They are not required to switch you positions that pay less then the one you are currently working as. Because housekeepers are payed the most out of all entree level positions it will be hard to switch jobs if you dislike housekeeping. You need to drag around heavy molly carts all the time and the work is ridiculously tedious. The lifestyle is very hedonistic. You will almost never be acknowledged for work well done (other than the worker appreciation dinner). You need to live with co-workers you may not care for. The end of the season is absolute hell because all of the college students head back home leaving everyone else to pick up the pace.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7.  

    Got to be something better....

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

    I have been working at Xanterra full-time

    Pros

    It's a relatively easy paycheck

    Cons

    Mgt doesn't care about anything....it's all lip service. they think good people will stay forever and not be motivated enough to go look elsewhere. One of these days there will be a huge exodus and then it will be fascinating.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Company values are a joke.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  8. 2 people found this helpful  

    Needs a drastic overhaul

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

    I have been working at Xanterra full-time

    Pros

    Clean air, amazing scenery, meeting people from all over the world, and a close knit community that really does come together in times of crisis.

    Cons

    Xanterra refuses to invest in adequate equipment to get the job done. Computers are old and slow- I Understand they buy nothing but rebuilds, and this causes difficulty in providing excellent guest service. All food is processed GMO Sysco material - psuedo food bad for both the guest and the employee. Internet access is poor, leading to customer complaints and employees often not being able to access it at all. Employee opinions are discouraged with regard to customer service and how to improve the overall work environment. Housing is overcrowded and moldy. Bedbugs are common problem which are not treated by the housing department properly. Housing changes policies -often to the detriment of long term employees- without anyone being notified. International students are grossly taken advantage of by being crammed into housing not designed for more than one or two people. and being placed into positions that their lack of English proficiency does not adequately equip them for. Nepotism and politics are all too common place.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Ownership needs to focus on making extraordinarily drastic improvements to the properties already owned- updating the equipment, working with park service to bring in an internet provider that services the needs of employees and guests, instead of dismissing those needs entirely. Healthy food options need to be made available. Mold, bedbugs, and overcrowding need to be done away with. Housing policies need to be reviewed and long term or status employees need to not be punished because of lack of housing. Housing policies need to be made clear and not changed without notifying the employees - a published housing manual would be useful. Appliances in a state of disrepair need to be replaced. Employee opinions should be valued - often the front of the house employee sees and hears more about guest concerns than management ever will.
    Spend the money being spent acquiring more property to provide pay raises for employees you wish to retain and to update equipment.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Assistant Dining Room Manager

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at Xanterra

    Pros

    Oppotunity to advance very quick in the companay

    Cons

    Long hours result in making less money than those you manage

  10. 2 people found this helpful  

    Awful.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Cocktail Server in Yellowstone National Park, WY (US)
    Current Employee - Cocktail Server in Yellowstone National Park, WY (US)

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

    Pros

    I met the best people in the world.

    Cons

    Xanterra didn't care about its employees, fed us terrible food, and were too strict.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
  11.  

    was good and not the best.

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

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

    Pros

    doing a good job and meeting new people.

    Cons

    not enough hours when needing them.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    they don't understand what you do for them but they complains a lot.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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