Holiday Extras Reviews

Updated 7 Jan 2021

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3.7
66%
Recommend to a Friend
82%
Approve of CEO
Holiday Extras CEO Matthew Pack
Matthew Pack
122 Ratings
Pros
  • "Flexible hours, can work from home, time banking all help with childcare needs plus a great working environment and really lovely people(in 26 reviews)

  • "Holiday Extras make considerable effort to try and create a work environment that helps their employees thrive(in 26 reviews)

Cons
  • "It's been mentioned before and HX can say all they want that it doesn't exist but it does(in 20 reviews)

  • "Call centre not appreciated and treated different from rest of company(in 12 reviews)

More Pros and Cons
Pros & Cons are excerpts from user reviews. They are not authored by Glassdoor.
  1. COVID-19
    Helpful (3)

    "An engineers perspective"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Compensation and Benefits
    Current Employee - Software Engineer 
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Holiday Extras full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    I still remember reading these reviews before applying to Holiday Extras and how much of an impression they made on me. The interview process was a sequence of video calls to meet different team members, followed by a coding challenge (a choice of frontend or backend problem) and then a meet in person and a pair-programming session. It was pretty intimidating, but I felt elated and a sense of achievement when I got an offer of employment. I don't think I've ever felt that about any other job I've taken in the past. HX is a progressive company. It's been around for decades and continually tries to improve with a culture of feedback behind it. At the time of writing, things are very fluid. We're going through a pandemic, there's no clear way out and I'm on my 2nd bout of furlough. We lost a lot of friends as a consequence of a restructure and that was truly heartbreaking. For anyone that is reading this after going through redundancy, I'm sorry this happened to you. I can only speak for myself, but I haven't reached out to many as I don't know what to say. The whole situation is so messed up. I hope we meet again on better terms one day. Our colleagues are the types of people who become friends and even family. They're very knowledgeable, kind, compassionate and fun to be around. This is what you should expect when joining HX, a team you can work with, that wants to be open and honest. I've read some of the other reviews before me and I'm surprised to read that this is not everyone's experience. As an engineer, you will experience a variety of problems to solve, predominantly using React/React-Native, Node.js and the Google Cloud platform. You'll work alongside really clever people that are always willing to pair-up and there's a real sense of teamwork to get something done. The products offered are focused on holiday assurance and insurance, and everyone loves a holiday so the product you help build is really wanted by the customer too. Unlike a lot of companies that have struggled to adapt to working remotely, HX was already ahead of the pack in this sense, having many remote workers already operating in the company. Not only is remote working fully embraced, but flexible schedules too. If you need to nip out or do something and make up the time later, there's no questioning - just do it. That trust goes a long way. When HX has navigated this pandemic, which it will in time, and you get the opportunity to join - I say seize it, hopefully you'll have a great experience like myself.

    Cons

    I would like to see the progression path removed for engineers, I think that the measurements used to move through the titles are subjective and the fact that there is now a hierarchy where there wasn't before will lead to more competitiveness rather than collaboration. There are some advantages to competitiveness between peers, but I think it can breed toxic behaviour and could undermine the Be One Team value eventually. I would hate to be reviewing this post in the future and disagreeing with the pro-team points I've made. I'd also like it quantified, via a survey, of how many engineers would like to keep the hierarchy vs how many have no preference or would like to see it removed entirely. I don't think the title differences should exist if the majority of devs don't actively encourage it. Now that we're a much smaller team (unfortunately), we're in the best position to implement a change such as this. Also, the salary isn't set quite right, which feels like something said in bad taste given the redundancies that have just been made and the challenges HX are facing. Unfortunately the physical location HX are set in doesn't help as you're relatively close to London and there's always going to be comparisons made. As a lot of those London candidates will have adapted to remote working, it's unlikely to ease the situation going forward either. I would like HX to reconsider the benchmarking used when evaluating salary and to be more competitive on pay, effective immediately. If the company loses too much talent due to competitiveness in the market, I fear there won't be enough knowledge left to transfer and this will cause much greater problems. The bonus was nice when it was around, I'd like to see that return when feasible, but I'm specifically talking about base salary.

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  2. Helpful (4)

    "Disappointed is an understatement"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Delivery Manager in Gillingham, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Holiday Extras full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    The people are fantastic, atmosphere and knowledge is second to none. Flexible working and ability to be heard at senior level is regular.

    Cons

    Well what can I say I worked for a company I loved for 16 years. I did not have a performance review for the last 4 years yet I was selected for redundancy based on certain criteria. I asked for a copy of this which I never received. On multiple occasions I specifically asked how I was measured against others and was told “it’s just a score” so I still have no idea why I was made redundant. I asked if there was a review process or how I could take this decision higher and was told that’s it. My manager hasn’t spoken to me since my redundancy meeting and has not reached out to thank me for years of service or asked how I am. Just being a human being wouldn’t have gone a miss. To top it off the CEO sent me a card to thank me for all the hard work and I was in meetings with him every week and my name was wrong. This made me feel very appreciated so thank you. I am not angry at being made redundant I appreciate this needed to happen to save a business I cared about. The treatment and hostility I experienced throughout the process was horrific and I was shown no care throughout.

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    Holiday Extras Response

    January 8, 2021Group People Director

    Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. We are really pleased that you feel the people, atmosphere and knowledge at HX is second to none. We love having a flexible and engaging environment for the team to work in. We’re really sorry that after 16yrs of hard work and commitment you left feeling this way. This is of course not the experience we pride ourselves on creating for our people. Thank you for your understanding surrounding the need to reduce the size of the team, it was an incredibly difficult period of time, with so much uncertainty and we know we asked a lot from our people whilst we navigated our way through. The process for selecting individuals for redundancy is incredibly difficult, especially when we’re losing fantastic people. It wasn’t something we wanted to do and worked hard to create a process that was both fair and respectful to our team. We’re sorry you found this experience difficult and felt you didn’t receive the support and care you needed. If you would like to discuss the scoring and criteria to better understand why you were selected please do email me at kwakeman@holidayextras.com so we can arrange a time to chat this through. Travel continues to be disrupted, but we have a great strategy to drive growth for the future and Matthew is keen to see as many people back working in the team as possible. I want to thank you for your contribution throughout the last 16 years. I wish you all the best for the future, if there is anything you need please do get in touch. We’re supporting those that have left as much as we can with CV advice, interviewing techniques and if any new roles become available at Holiday Extras we are speaking to HX Alumni first.


  3. "Great"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service in Dover, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Holiday Extras full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Lovely company, great work life balance

    Cons

    location if not a driver

    Holiday Extras Response

    January 8, 2021Group People Director

    Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback with us, we really appreciate it. We’re delighted you enjoyed your time with us, thank you for choosing Holiday Extras to invest your time, and I do hope we get to work together again some time in the future. All the best.

  4. COVID-19
    Helpful (3)

    "Nice building and surroundings, but poor communication and management"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Delivery Manager in Hythe, Kent, South East England, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Holiday Extras full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Flexible working, Profit Share, nice surroundings, free parking.

    Cons

    Poor management, lack of opportunity, poor communication around business standing during COVID-19 pandemics.

    Holiday Extras Response

    January 8, 2021Group People Director

    Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback, we really appreciate it. We’re really pleased you enjoyed some of the benefits of working at Holiday Extras. It would be great to understand more about the areas you have mentioned that need improvement. We are always looking at ways to improve the overall experience, sending regular employee surveys to help us understand what is working really well and to help us identify areas for improvement, creating action plans which are then shared with the team. Please do get in touch with us on kwakeman@holidayextras.com, so we can arrange a time to chat through your feedback in more detail. If you don’t contact me, thank you for your contribution throughout your time at HX and I wish you all the best for the future.

  5. "Bright Future"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Partnership Executive in Smeeth, England
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Holiday Extras full-time

    Pros

    Brilliant place to work with lovely people. Going through a difficult time but will no doubt come out the other side with exciting options.

    Cons

    Pay is lower than other companies but does make up for it with an enjoyable environment to work in.

    Holiday Extras Response

    January 8, 2021Group People Director

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience, we really appreciate it. We’re delighted you enjoyed your time with us, absolutely agree our people are what make Holiday Extras what it is. Whilst we can’t guarantee you won’t find a higher baseline salary elsewhere, we continually review total reward packages (financial, as well as other tangible benefits) to ensure we remain competitive. Thank you for your belief and support, we do have an exciting plan and are ready for when people can travel again..we know people cannot wait for their next trip! Thank you for investing your time with Holiday Extras, we wish you all the best for the future.

  6. Helpful (4)

    "Disgusting, selfish, unfair treatment. Despicable company."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Holiday Extras full-time

    Pros

    There were pros during my time at Holiday Extras but the despicable treatment of myself and others far outweighs any positives.

    Cons

    There is a LOT so I will bullet point (and even this is cut down because I can't be bothered). - Worst HR team I've ever dealt with. BY FAR. 'People Team'? Not a chance. No one has any idea what they're doing, there is no support, only ONE person in the 'People Team' was approachable. - It's a Boys Club. It's been mentioned before and HX can say all they want that it doesn't exist but it does. They'll make it seem like you can get far but it's a glass ceiling. They only work with men that are old family friends. No new talent is genuinely considered. If you're female, don't bother. If you're a mother, DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME. - The favouritism at Holiday Extras is rife. If you're not friends with the right person (or brown-nosing the right person) you won't get anywhere. The amount of talent they have lost over the years because they're giving friends (and family!) opportunities is ridiculous. Again, if you're female, don't bother. - The whole environment is snakey and toxic now. Everyone is overworked. Underpaid. Hard-workers are overlooked (again, favouritism). It's a degrading, unhappy place to work and I wasted years of my life working there. - The decisions made as part of the redundancies this year were absolutely disgusting. The decisions themselves (i.e. who gets the absolute privilege of keeping their job and who gets the boot) were DESPICABLE. How the senior leaders and managers who made those terrible decisions sleep at night I don't know. How you got rid of mothers, fathers, hard-working, long-serving employees for people who had been hired only months prior, had been hired to cover maternity leave, had been underperforming for months, is absolutely disgusting. You made poor, inhumane choices and ruined peoples lives. - There is no room for creativity. Got an idea? Don't bother sharing it. It'll be approved, you'll spend 6 months working on it, then out of nowhere you'll be told what to do by a consultant or senior leader who isn't involved in the area at all. I don't know why they hire creative roles - they only need project managers that will do exactly what they tell them to. - On top of everything, my manager didn't reach out ONCE to see how I was during the redundancy process. 5 months have passed since I lost my job and I have received a text, email or Facebook message from them checking how I am. I spent many, many years spent at Holiday Extras and a fair chunk in their team and to receive absolutely nothing is inhumane and poor, poor behaviour. It was the managers who made the terrible decisions as to who to keep and who to get rid of and whether it's awkward or not, they should 100% show compassion and act with humanity which has not happened. It was the worst part of being made redundant. The stress and anxiety of losing my job and not having enough money to pay my bills was minimal compared to the fact that a) my manager didn't reach out at all b) barely anyone in my team got in touch and c) the stakeholders/people I had worked FOR for years not a single person reached out to say sorry/hope you're ok/thanks for everything. Inhumane. I couldn't be more disappointed in Holiday Extras and everyone that works there.

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    Holiday Extras Response

    January 8, 2021Group People Director

    Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback, we’re so sorry after years of hard work and commitment you have left feeling this way. We recognise the redundancy process was an incredibly difficult and emotional time for everyone. It is not something we have ever had to do in our nearly 40yr history, we did our best to ensure it was as fair, transparent and respectful for our people as possible. You have mentioned many points in your review that do not reflect the environment we work hard to create and I would really like the opportunity to explore these areas further with you. Please do contact me on kwakeman@holidayextras.com so we can arrange a time to talk though your feedback. In the meantime thank you for your contribution during your time at HX, I wish you all the very best for the future.

  7. COVID-19

    "Review"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Resource Planning Analyst in Hythe, Kent, South East England, England
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Holiday Extras part-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Family environment Work life balance Great company

    Cons

    Covid Salaries could be more transparent

  8. COVID-19

    "Not sure how they’ll recover from Covid"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Holiday Extras full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    Made friends for life. Some passionate people and great managers. Fantastic work/life balance.

    Cons

    If you’re not an engineer, good luck getting any recognition or pay rises. Great people don’t make up for the fact many roles aren’t respected, allowed to develop or considered for promotions or pay rises despite hard work and great results. Redundancy was a hard choice I know but it was handled incredibly poorly with unclear choices and decision making processes. We were kicked off internal tools and our emails before our notice had even ended - felt like we were penalised through no fault of our own. Think I got lucky being made redundant in the end - with talent either being pushed out or running for the hills, I don’t see how the company can recover from COVID. Incredible lack of diversity- predominantly white men in upper management and mainly white in the rest of the organisation too. So few options to progress. So in conjunction with bad base salary and meagre if any pay rises, you aren’t given funds to train and develop so you get stuck from all directions.

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    Holiday Extras Response

    November 6, 2020Group People Director

    Thank you for your review. We’re sorry that you were affected by the redundancies we had to make due to the impact Covid had on the travel industry. This was not a decision we took lightly and we lost many great people who we will miss dearly. Despite the recent changes to the team, we still have a very strong community of talented, committed people who are dedicated to providing the best services and products to our customers. As a well-established company of over 37 years, we have overcome a number of challenges to our industry and will continue to be stronger than ever after this pandemic. Agility has always been core to everything we do and this time is no different, where we have been able to pivot our offering to suit the changing needs of our customers. Our pay and promotion frameworks are very robust and we review our position annually. This ensures everyone, across the organisation, receives the recognition they deserve including a salary, profit share and industry-leading benefits. Everyone at Holiday Extras is valued and our commitment extends to their development, where in 2021 we will be implementing a newer, faster career review process, supported with even greater access to learning resources. Whilst the redundancy process was unavoidable, we believe that our approach was fair and the decisions were transparent and objective. We would never normally turn off access to internal tools before notice ended but as we were giving people the option to buy their laptops at a discounted price we needed to collect these in and remove any company software. We did give everyone sufficient notice that this was going to happen and the option to stay in touch via our Facebook Alumni page. To your point about the diversity of the team, we have always been a fully inclusive place to work but we know we can always do better and are continuing to listen to our team on how we can improve. Just prior to Covid, we had made great strides in forming a Diversity and Inclusion taskforce of over 30+ people to identify how we can be even more inclusive - we are committed to this work and will be resuming it again very soon. Our highly valued employee network groups continue to operate and are also key in ensuring we are doing the right things to ensure Holiday Extras is a place where everyone can thrive. We agree wholeheartedly with listening to our team - we are doing just that by continuing to regularly ask for their feedback via engagement surveys and check-ins and we respond to the ideas and feedback regularly at a Group and team level. While I see you no longer work at Holiday Extras, if you have any other feedback about your experience with us, please feel free to email me at kwakeman@holidayextras.com. If I don’t hear from you, I wish you all the very best for the future.

  9. Helpful (3)

    "They don't care about staff all they care about is lining the owners pocket"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Insurance Consultant in Hythe, Kent, South East England, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at Holiday Extras full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    the only pro of working here was leaving at the end of the day

    Cons

    When offered the job we were told you would only work one weekend a month, what they mean is you'll work every weekend except one, you never get two days off together (except on your one weekend off a month), it's a stressful environment to work if and only being allowed one day off at a time allows no relaxation or downtime. The management team in the insurance cc are snakes, the will be nice to you face and stab you in the back, whilst discussing you and your private business with other colleagues( non-management ones). The goal post is consistently moved and you are expected to answer calls for two other insurance companies ( good to go insurance and white horse) whilst getting no extra benefit for it( these do not count towards your monthly sales target). The insurance cc is highly regulated, and you have to jump through hoops whilst being paid a basic salary the same as members in the airport cc who have no legal statements to make and also have a much easier job. Insurance staff are treated like 3rd class citizens, you are sold this fallacy that this company offers you so many extras, when the reality is you are excluded from taking part in 95% of everything because you work in a call centre. No career progression opportunity unless your friends with the right people or sleeping with the right person

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    Holiday Extras Response

    January 8, 2021Group People Director

    Thank you for sharing your feedback, we really appreciate it. We’re really sorry that you didn’t enjoy your time as an Insurance Consultant. Creating an engaging and motivating environment is really important to us and we’re sorry you didn’t feel that you experienced this. All our customer roles have flexible working patterns so we can help our customers when they need us. Our intention is to make this transparent and to do our best to balance the needs of the business with the individual. We see all our customer roles as requiring their own unique set of skills and there are regular opportunities to discuss performance and feedback. Taking this into consideration, we consistently review incentive schemes across all our customer roles to ensure they’re appropriate and fair. You mention some behaviours that in no way reflect the environment we work hard to create, we will share your feedback with the relevant managers, but to understand the specific examples it would be helpful if you can get in touch with us at kwakeman@holidayextras.com. Thank you again for sharing your feedback, we wish you all the best for the future.

  10. Helpful (6)

    "Old Boys’ Club"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Diversity & Inclusion
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Full Time Employee in Hythe, Kent, South East England, England
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Holiday Extras full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    - Comfortable office environment - Flexible working - Profit share and holiday buy - Variety of events and activities for staff on site

    Cons

    A real old boys’ club culture prevails at Holiday Extras. The trouble is, the company has grown whilst still retaining a small business culture. Despite proclaiming to recognise and value talent, there are in fact very few opportunities to progress. Performance reviews happen irregularly and pay rises are as rare as hens’ teeth, meaning that salaries tend to be on the low side. Many of those in middle and senior management have worked there for years and all close ranks to protect each other. This was particularly evident in the selection process during the recent redundancies. There was blatant favouritism with some managers preferring to save their ‘mates’ over team members who showed real talent and potential in their roles. The company claims to have a family vibe, but the culture is more of a clique. You will always be vulnerable if you don’t fit into the boys’ club mentality and you are made to feel extremely uncomfortable if you dare to speak out.

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    Holiday Extras Response

    October 15, 2020Group People Director

    Thank you for your feedback. As a result of the pandemic, we had no alternative than to restructure the business and we’re really sorry that as a result of this that you were affected. Losing our great people is never something we would do by choice. Whilst it has been a very difficult time for everyone, we are very proud of the team and the way we have navigated this challenge together. We are a big company, continuously challenging ourselves to think and behave like a start-up. We believe by focussing on our people, products and tech that we’ll deliver what our customers need and value and provide a great working environment for our team. As an employer of choice, supporting our people to go further and to be the best versions of themselves is imperative for us. This includes great learning and development opportunities, competitive pay (based on external benchmarking) and fantastic benefits including an annual pay review, SAYE, profit share - which prior to the pandemic we paid out even when we didn’t deliver the performance numbers to recognise our team's hard work and effort. We endeavour to ensure everyone has a performance review and work hard to ensure consistency across the Group. We are continuously iterating, so in 2021 we’ll be implementing a newer, faster post covid review process. Our intention will be that our team get more regular feedback and support for their personal growth. In terms of restructuring the business, making sure people were treated fairly was our main priority, so we put in place a robust selection process that involved a number of individuals to ensure decisions were consistent and objective. I can assure you that decisions were made purely on the criteria published during the process. I'm disappointed about your perception of a "boys club". We have countless examples of people developing their careers with us based purely on their skill, knowledge and expertise. Nevertheless, we're always open looking at specific examples of where people are concerned that this has not happened. To be honest, we’re pretty devastated to have lost many talented and much-loved members of the team and if we could have retained everyone, we would have done. Our intention is to rebuild and grow, enabling us to see many of those that have left join us again. While I see you no longer work at Holiday Extras, if you have any other feedback about your experience with us, please feel free to email me at kwakeman@holidayextras.com. If I don’t hear from you, I wish you all the best for the future.

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