Best hospitality staff scheduling software in 2024

Staffing is probably the most important and challenging part of the hospitality industry. Skilled and motivated staff members are the main driver for memorable guest experiences that lead to repeat business and positive reviews. 

All restaurants, hotels, resorts, and event venues need to recruit top local talent. And staff scheduling is becoming a major influence on their success in attracting the best workers. When staff is happy with the way schedules are made and communicated, they are more likely to remain loyal to their employer. A stable workforce can easily be trained to become skilled workforce, resulting in consistent service quality and a great work environment – both a crucial element of building a successful hospitality business.

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Jump straight to the shortlist of our favorite hospitality staff scheduling software:

👉 Best app for on-demand scheduling
👉 Best app for manual scheduling
👉 Best app for rotating shifts
👉 Best app for self-scheduling
👉 Best app for dynamic scheduling

Different approaches to scheduling hospitality staff

Fixed schedules

Knowing the necessary working hours well in advance provides stability for both staff members and management. This is common for established venues where shifts remain consistent over a designated period, such as a week or a month. 

An extreme example of this is cruise ships, where the number of customers is fixed in advance for a long period of time, and the need for service crew is determined early based on bookings.

Rotating shifts

Rotating shifts involve rotating employees through different shifts or work hours on a regular basis. This approach ensures fairness in distributing favorable and less desirable shifts among staff members. 

This kind of schedule is common at venues that are open for longer than a single shift can cover. Restaurants often have morning, afternoon and evening shifts; hotel receptions need to cover the front desk 24-7.

Changing schedules and shifts a lot can mess up employees’ lives and sleep. That’s why many businesses with rotating shifts try to have one staff member cover similar shifts most of the time.

On-demand scheduling

Businesses with extremely fluctuating shifts rely on an on-demand team to fill their schedule. For example, event planners, catering companies and food trucks often have a very hectic schedule based on customer orders. While there may be no work for multiple days, weekends and holidays can create a surge in demand, with the need of several crews to be scheduled to work at the same time. 

Other businesses use on-demand scheduling to book temporary or part-time workers to open shifts to supplement core staff during peak periods or special events.


Letting employees choose their own shifts based on their availability and preferences is a great way to promote autonomy. With a good software system, it is easy to limit their choices to remain within the parameters set by management, massively reducing the administrative burden of creating schedules.

However, this method can require additional effort to ensure adequate staffing to all critical shifts. Successful team managers provide (and monitor) clear expectations and guidelines for self-scheduling instead of letting their staff schedule as they please. They also provide additional incentives for picking up the less-desired shifts. 

Manual scheduling

Small businesses often choose to do manual scheduling. Based on business demand and staff availability, the manager manually assigns shifts to individual employees, taking into consideration their skills, experience, and suitability for the specific shift requirements.

While this personal approach allows the manager to really choose staff members for each day, this scheduling approach can create a lof of administrative work. One needs to consider the availability, preferred working hours, days off, and time-off requests for each staff member to avoid large-scale rescheduling. 

Dynamic scheduling

Dynamic scheduling requires sophisticated technology that is able to analyze real-time data for predictive analytics. Essentially, a computer will try to guess the necessary staffing levels for an upcoming period, and assign necessary shifts to the staff who are marked as available. With enough existing data, dynamic scheduling can predict and schedule rushes or lulls that show up unexpected for a human manager.

Dynamic scheduling can result in unpredictable work hours and shifts, so some employees may not enjoy being forcefully assigned to such an inconsistent calendar. As dynamic schedules can also change in real time, it can really affect the ability to plan personal life outside of work.

Finding the right hospitality staff scheduling software for your business

No single app can be great at supporting all different types of scheduling. Great scheduling starts with choosing the right software provider that supports your business needs (and makes your team happy!)

Here are our winning choices of software when it comes to different kinds of scheduling in the hospitality industry: 

Best catering staff scheduling software

Zelos Team Management stands out as the top choice for on-demand staffing, the most common scheduling choice for event management and catering. The core features are shift signup and live messaging – a perfect combination to coordinate last moment shift allocations and schedule changes.

It is very simple for managers to publish a list of open shifts, and staff can instantly pick them up through convenient mobile apps. Tracking the who-works-when is also effortless, and timestamped data can easily be exported into payroll and billing.

Zelos has a freemium pricing model – with low shift volumes the app is free to use. Paid tiers offer additional connectivity and complex features. As larger on-demand teams are more likely to fill the necessary shifts, the number of team members on board is unlimited in all pricing tiers.

Best hotel staff scheduling software

Agendrix is probably the easiest app for creating rotating schedules based on specific patterns, such as weekly shifts or monthly rotations. This is perfect for hotels that need to schedule staff to work shifts around the clock.

Agendrix also offers instant messaging and shared documents to keep the whole team on the same page. Their easy to use employee app makes it sure that staff is always aware of their upcoming shifts, and clocked in at the right time. It also fills out everyone’s timesheets so they never have to!

Agendrix is priced based on the number of staff members. The basic price includes scheduling, absence management and messaging. Additional add-ons can be purchased to unlock punch clocks, geolocations, premium attribution, and much more.

Best restaurant staff scheduling app

7 Shifts is an app specifically built for manual scheduling at restaurants. Creating shifts and assigning staff members just takes a few clicks, and the whole crew is instantly notified of the new schedule.

The app comes with a chatroom, an easy to use punch clock, and reminders about breaks, health checks and overtime. You can also set up recruitment, training and payroll processes in the same app.

7 Shifts is free to use at a single location with less than 30 employees. Paid tiers offer advanced features such as scheduling templates, shift feedback, demand prediction, and even auto-scheduling.

Best housekeeping staff scheduling software

When I Work comes with an excellent set of features for self-scheduling. Open shifts, shift bidding and shift swapping is everything you need benefit your housekeeping staff with the flexibility of choosing their favorites from the variable maintenance shifts. Of course, you can also do standard scheduling and let the staff confirm their shifts.

The live communication feature lets you create group chats and send direct messages. This keeps everyone always in the loop, especially with instant notifications to the easy to use mobile apps.

When I Work charges based on the number of employees. The basic tier includes everything you need for self-scheduling. Advanced tiers unlock advanced scheduling, connectivity and forecasting features.

Best resort staff scheduling software

Skedulo is an advanced staffing engine for generating dynamic schedules. The AI-driven algorithm analyzes real-time data and schedules employees based on their availability, skills and location – a perfect way to optimize staffing levels at a large hospitality enterprise. Scheduling just enough staff with no unnecessary extras can really make a difference in the budgets!

Managers can certainly make on-the-fly adjustments as needed, responding swiftly to changing circumstances or unexpected events. 

Skedulo pricing is based on the number of staff using the app. The per-employee fee is certainly higher than for the simpler scheduling apps. But for a larger resort, the merits of the advanced features justify the price tag.