We’ve seen teams rely on paper forms, emails, and Excel spreadsheets to do their staff holiday booking. The problem is when you use those things, you’re left stitching all the pieces together.

You’re responsible for making sure there are no staffing conflicts, that your team has enough employee leave to use, and you still have to update all of your holiday trackers.

This is just too messy and error-prone for something as important as people taking a break.

But when companies go looking for help, they find that a lot of the leave management software out there is part of larger HR software. HR software also covers recruiting, onboarding, performance management, and payroll. That's overkill (and pricier than necessary) if you just want a new painless way for your staff to book their holidays.

That’s why we created Timetastic — an affordable staff holiday booking system that’s quick to set up and easy for everyone to use. Its strength is in simplicity. Timetastic focuses on what’s important: letting your team book their holidays without causing a headache.

In this post, we cover how you can use Timetastic as your staff holiday booking system. We include quotes from Timetastic case studies, featuring real Timetastic customers.

But first, let’s look at the key features of this type of software.

What makes a good staff holiday booking system?

Let’s boil down what you need from a good staff holiday booking system.

  • It needs to be accessible. Everyone on your team needs to be able to access your company’s staff holiday booking system. With Timetastic, your team can use our mobile app, or log in through their web browser.

  • It needs to sync with your calendars. It’s no good having to log into your booking system whenever you want to see when you’re off. It’s a lot quicker to use calendar and app integrations. With Timetastic, you can integrate your booking system with Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal, Slack, and Microsoft Teams.

  • It needs to be easy to request time off. It needs to be a quick, simple, self-service system that lets employees book their own time off, whenever they want.

  • It needs to be easy for approvers to respond to holiday requests. When your team puts in a request with Timetastic, you get an email notification. From that email, you can approve or decline their request.

    FYI: At Timetastic, we don’t even worry about approving or declining requests because we have our booking system set up so our team can only book requests that would be automatically approved. This saves us a lot of time, because we don’t have to worry about managing everyone’s time off.

  • All the important information needs to be within reach. A good booking system makes everything easy to see. With Timetastic, you don’t need to toggle back and forth through multiple screens. Everything your team needs to book a holiday is on their digital Wallchart.

In short, a good leave management system makes it easy for your team to book a holiday, and doesn’t require a complete overhaul to your operations.

If you’re ready to see how Timetastic lets you do all of these things, start your free trial today. And if you want more information on how Timetastic works, keep on reading.

Putting in holiday requests with Timetastic

We wanted to make a staff holiday booking system that we’d be happy to use ourselves — so that’s exactly what we did. When you use Timetastic, you can set your account up to work with your own unique leave policies, and your company’s needs.

This includes:

  • Setting locked dates: Set which dates aren’t available for staff holiday. By selecting which days you need all hands on deck, you minimise the back-and-forth.

  • Pulling in public holidays from around the globe: Timetastic pulls in public holidays from over 250 countries. This is perfect for when you have remote workers, or a team distributed across different countries.

  • Setting annual leave balances: You tell Timetatic how much time off your team members have for the year. You can also add lieu days throughout the year. (Something one of our customers does as a perk.)

  • Customise staffing levels: You can set minimum staffing levels for each department. This means you won’t find yourself short handed by accidentally approving too many people off for the same time period.

By using this info and customising Timetastic for your business, you don’t need to worry about your staff booking a holiday.

For example, right now at Timetastic, our customer service department needs at least two people on deck to provide good customer service. So as long as we have two people working — and someone’s request isn’t for a locked date — their holiday is as good as approved.

And here’s how quick and easy it is for your staff to book a holiday:

First, they log into their account, which takes them to their digital Wallchart.

(Your team can book their holiday through our mobile app or on their web browser.)

An example of a Wallchart in Timetastic.

They’ll see their calendar, which includes any locked dates, holidays, or approved time off for team members. Next to their name, they can also see how much leave entitlement they have left to use.

Second, they select the dates they want. They can click the green button on the right to get to the booking form, or they can click and drag the dates they want.

When the booking form pops up, they just select the right leave type (all leave types can be edited and customised to fit your policy), and send in the request.

Type off request: Holiday, Sick leave, Maternity/Paternity, Appointment, Christmas Leave, Training, etc.

From there, you’re put into the approval workflow.

When people send a request, their approver gets an email. This approver can approve or decline the request instantly, without leaving their inbox.

(Note: You can assign different approvers for different people or departments.)

Sophie Jones has requested time off: Mon 16th August through Fri 20th August

Staying up to date on who’s taking a holiday

Timetastic has several features that help you and your entire team stay up to date on who’s currently on holiday.

1. First, admins (managers/supervisors) get their own Wallchart.

A preview of what a Wallchart looks like for an admin in Timetastic.

It looks very similar to the one we mentioned above, but the time off is colour-coded with icons. This lets you see at a glance what kind of leave an employee is on (such as holiday leave, sick leave, etc). And you can see everyone on your team’s remaining leave balance for the year.

2. Second, the calendar and app integrations.

Your team can set up integrations with their personal calendars (e.g. Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal). They can also set up integrations with Slack or Microsoft Teams (for Pro Timetastic subscribers). This makes it easy for them to see when their holiday is booked.

And with the Slack integration, you and your management team can get daily updates on who’s on holiday and also respond to new requests within Slack.

3. Third, email digests.

Email digests tell you who’s currently on holiday. They can go out daily or weekly. You can also set up email digests to go out a week ahead of time, giving you a heads up to when someone is off.

4. Finally, Timetastic can tell you who’s in need of a holiday.

Pro users get something unique – a Burnout Board.

The Burnout Board tells you which team members haven’t taken time off in a while. This was a big win for Format, an online portfolio platform. Jojo, their Chief of Staff, shared with us that their company puts a big emphasis on having a well-rested team. “[Timetastic] helps us encourage work-life balance. Managers can easily see when someone hasn’t taken a vacation in a while.”

Your Burnout Board is part of a larger feature called Absence Insights. On your Absence Insights page, you get a lot of great info — it’s where you’ll see who’s got outstanding holiday requests, which kind of leave requests are most popular, and when your team takes the most time off.

Next step: Setting up Timetastic as your holiday booking system

Timetastic is a simple holiday management system that handles the whole process, so you don’t have to stress about people’s holiday planning.

You lay the groundwork (such as locking dates, setting how many team members can be off at once, and adding holiday entitlements) and then let your team use Timetastic. And you can use the calendar and app integration, as well as your email summaries, to stay in the loop with who’s currently on holiday or who has one coming up.

Timetastic has two different pricing plans: Business (£1 per user per month) and Pro (£2 per user per month). In both plans, you get the core features of what makes Timetastic a great staff holiday planner. But on the Pro plan you get a few more functionalities, specifically:

  • Absence insights (which includes the Burnout Board)
  • Email digests
  • Microsoft Teams integration

Start your free trial today.