In a mostly “OK” travel industry, Hotwire’s Bason gets an “A”

By | June 29th, 2010

Good work, Clem Bason. Hotwire’s chief executive scored a perfect score on Glassdoor’s new Travel Industry Report Card — one of the few bright spots in an otherwise underperforming industry.

Of the 22 travels companies evaluated by the site, which publishes anonymous company reviews, only 23 percent receive a satisfied or better company rating (3.5+), and 68 percent have a company rating between 2.5 and 3.4 which means the employees think it’s just “OK”.

As we head into the busy summer travel season, that’s a sobering thought. Unless you’re a Hotwire employee.

Or maybe, a Hotwire customer, the survey suggests.

The highest-rated companies in the travel industry on Glassdoor are Southwest Airlines (4.6), Hotwire (4.3) and Marriott (3.6).

The most popular CEOs in the travel industry, according to employee reports on the site, include Hotwire’s Clem Bason (100 percent approval), Southwest Airlines’ Gary Kelly (95 percent approval), and Four Seasons Hotels’ Issy Sharp (91 percent approval). These also happen to be the only three executives with an approval rating over 90 percent.

Let’s have a closer look at the winners — and losers.

Southwest Airlines is the highest rated company (4.6) according to employees, followed by Delta Air Lines and JetBlue, both with a 3.3 company rating. These three airlines also happen to have the highest-rated CEOs: Southwest Airlines Gary Kelly receives a 95 percent approval rating, JetBlue’s Dave Barger has a 87 percent approval rating.

The standout? Glenn Tilton of United, with just a 13 percent approval rating.

In the hotel category, Marriott keeps up the competition as a highly-rated employer (3.6 company rating) among those hotels with at least 10 employee ratings, followed by high-end hotels like the Ritz-Carlton (3.5 company rating) and Four Seasons Hotels (3.4 company rating). But CEOs for the Four Seasons, Marriott and Hyatt have the highest approval ratings among the group, each earning 91 percent, 89 percent and 88 percent approval, respectively.

Related story:   Can this trip be saved? Hotwire didn't have the best hotel -- or the best deal

Hilton’s CEO is the straggler, with a 32 percent rating.

Avis Budget is the highest-rated car and truck rental company (3.1 company rating) out of three most populated companies on Glassdoor. However it’s Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s CEO Andy Taylor who earns the higher approval rating of 65 percent. Hertz ranks the lowest.

Hotwire receives the highest ratings across the board when compared to Expedia and Orbitz. Hotwire gets a 4.3 company rating and CEO Clem Bason receives a 100 percent approval rating.

Are these internal ratings worth anything? Well, they can be. I believe happy employees lead to happy customers, so a company is rated well by its own staff, odds are it’s also treating us well.

A footnote to Hotwire’s perfect score: I note that Glassdoor’s co-founder and CEO, Robert Hohman, is Hotwire’s former president. Is there a link?

I report, you decide.

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