Configure Categories

In EMS Desktop Client, the terms category, resource, and service cannot be used interchangeably. These terms are different concepts.

In EMS, a category is anything you might add to a booking, such as catering, audio visual, furniture, security, notes, attendee names, or agendas. When you configure a category, you must select one of the following six category types:

  • Activities

  • Attendees

  • Catering

  • Notes

  • Resources with Service Orders

  • Resources without Service Orders

These category types cause the service to behave slightly differently when added to a booking. For example, a Notes/Activities/Attendees type service category does not require the EMS Administrator to configure items under it, and there is nothing for a user to select from these types of services.

By contrast, a service category that has a type of catering, resource with service order, or a resource without a service order category, requires the EMS Administrator to create items under it. For example, an AV Equipment service category (configured as a Resource without a Service Order Category type) might have items under it, such as a flip chart or whiteboard. The user requesting the service for this meeting would select AV Equipment, and then the user might select options, such as flip chart and whiteboard, to add to the event.

The following category types allow Production Items: Catering, Resources with Service Orders, and Resources Without Service Orders.

A Category can be configured to Use States so that when a service is requested with a meeting, the service can be managed through a review and approval process in the Manage Services toolbar option in EMS Desktop Client.

To configure categories in EMS Desktop Client:

  1. On the EMS menu bar, click Configuration > Administration > Categories.

    The Categories window opens, where you can define categories of services you can add to booking templates. It lists all the categories and their types that are configured in your EMS database with an Active status. To filter all Categories regardless of status, under Show, click Inactive.

    You can define a category here with the Category Type of Attendees to enable users to add attendees to a booking on the EMS Web App Services page. If you define this Category and then add it to a booking template for Everyday Users, then they can control attendees as part of editing Services.

  2. Click New

    The Category dialog opens on the Category tab. 

  3. Enter the information for the new Category.




The name or description for the category, for example, A/V Equipment or Furniture (maximum of 30 characters, including spaces).

Print Sequence

If items from multiple categories have been reserved for an event, then the print sequence determines the order in which this information is printed on the confirmation and other reports. Categories are ordered from lowest to highest sequence number, with the category with the lowest sequence number being displayed first.

If you leave the print sequence set to the default value of zero for all items, then by default, the items are displayed alphabetically.

Category Type

Typically, the determining factor is how the category is to be used.

  • Activities – Agenda-type entries that describe what is to occur during an event, for example: 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., Registration; 9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m., and Keynote Speaker.
  • Attendees – Individuals who are attending an event. You can use this category for attendees such as VIPs or guest speakers, or to serve as an attendee checklist for smaller meetings.

The Attendee category type does not typically relate to attendees invited to a meeting using the optional EMS for Outlook add-in or using Integration to Microsoft Exchange module for EMS Web App or EMS Mobile App.

  • Notes – Enter informative text about the event.
  • Resources w/o Service Orders – Resources that are assigned to a booking from this Category Type are assigned for the entire event time. Typically, this Category Type is used to manage Audio/Visual Equipment and Furniture categories.
  • Resources w/ Service Orders – Similar to Resources w/o Service Orders categories with one exception—you must indicate the specific time that the items assigned to a booking are needed. The end result is one or multiple service orders with specific services times before, during or after the event. Typically, this Category Type is used manage staffing for an event.
  • Catering – Used to manage categories specific to food & beverage service. Provides capability similar to the Resources, w/ Service Order category in addition to the catering specific fields of Estimated Count, Guaranteed Count, and Actual Count.

If you select Resources w/o Service OrdersResources w/ Service Orders, or Catering, then the Use Production Items option becomes available.

Default Service

Services are defined at the resource level. (See Also: Configure Resources for a Category.) After you define your resources and services, then you can edit the category and define a default service.

Default Time in Use

Available only if Catering, Resources w/ Service Orders, or Resources w/o Service Orders is selected as the category type. Indicates the time that the items in the selected category should be in use for the Reserved Time or for the Event Time.

Default Quantity

Depending on the selected category, one or more of the following options are available:

  • Setup Count
  • Estimated Count


Select the currency to be used for pricing all the resources in the category.

If a currency is not available, you can configure it.

Available to All Buildings

Select if resources from this category are to be available to all buildings.

If you do not select this option, then on the Buildings tab, you must specify the buildings for which resources from this category are to be available.

Allow Resources Notes Edit

If selected, EMS Desktop Client users can edit the Notes field for the resource.

Exclude from Services Indicator

In various EMS locations, such as the Reservation Book, the Navigator, and the Edit Booking form, EMS provides an indication that services exist for a booking. Select the Exclude from Services Indicator option to exclude a category from displaying as a service on the booking.

Use Production Items

Select to define production items for the category. Production Items are typically used for Catering category types where EMS software will be used by a production kitchen.

Production items are defined at the resource level. See also: Configure Resources for a Category and Define Production Areas and Production Items for a Catering Resource.

Use States

Select if you want to define process phases, or states, for the category, such as “Assigned,” “Out for Delivery,” and “Delivered.” If you select the Use States check box, a States tab appears. On this tab, define the different states that you want to configure in support of your category's workflow.

After you define your states, edit this category and specify a default state.

BEO Column

Indicates in which column the category displays when the Banquet Event Order (BEO) report is printed in its standard two column format. Select Column 1 to display the category in the left column. Select Column 2 to display the category in the right column.

External Service

Select if the provider of the resources for this category is external to your organization, and then select the provider on the Provider field.

The External Service check box is only available for the Notes category type and if the EMS system parameter Show External Service Orders on Categories is set to Yes. See EMS Desktop Client Parameters for more information.

If the appropriate service provider is not available, contact EMS Support for assistance in configuring the provider.

Attendees are Visitors

Select to automatically mark all attendees who are added to a booking as a Visitor. The Visitor option is automatically selected on the Attendee dialog.

  1. Select the Everyday User Applications tab and enter the required information. 

    Settings on the Everyday User Applications tab control behavior for Everyday User Applications: EMS Web App. EMS for Outlook, and EMS Mobile App.



Display to Everyday Users

If selected, EMS Web App and EMS for Outlook users can view this category if it has been added as a booking detail to one of their bookings.

Expand Groupings

If selected, the resource items for a grouping are displayed immediately when a EMS Web App or EMS for Outlook user makes a reservation. If cleared, only the grouping is displayed and a user must expand the grouping to view the resource items. Typically, this option is selected if an option has a small list of resources within the category.

Use Specific Cutoff Time

Indicates how far in advance of a booking a EMS Web App or EMS for Outlook user can add, edit, or cancel this category. For example, if you select the Cutoff Time/Number of Days option, and you specify 11:00 a.m. and one day, then EMS Web App or EMS for Outlook users cannot assign, edit, or cancel categories or resources after 11:00 a.m. on the day before the event.

Cutoff Hours

Available only if you do not select the Use Specific Cutoff Time option. With this option, the restriction is imposed based on the number of hours before the event occurs rather than time of day.

Default Quantity

From the Default Quantity field, you can select 1, Attendance, or Blank. The default quantity that you select is automatically filled in by the system when an EMS Web App user or EMS for Outlook user selects an item.

Available at Checkout

Select if this category is to be displayed as part of the initial Room Request process in EMS Web App. If Available at Checkout not selected, EMS Web App users must first complete the Room Request process before they can request the category.

For example, if an Attendee-type category is associated with a booking template and the Available at Checkout option is selected, then users will be able to add or remove attendees during the booking. If Available at Checkout is not selected, users will only be able to manage attendees on the Reservation Details > Services page once the reservation is created and they are in edit mode. 

Prompt for Billing Reference

Prompt for PO Number

Select if EMS Web App users are to be prompted to enter a billing reference and/or PO number when they select a resource from the category. 

These selections do not require the user to enter the billing reference or purchase order values. Instead, selecting these options only has the system prompt users to enter the values.

The behavior of these fields (required, validated, or displayed) is controlled in the Billing Reference Validation and PO Number Validation Everyday User Applications system parameters in EMS Desktop Client. Users will see the Billing Reference field during the booking process when the parameter is set at either the reservation, room, or category level. Whether the Billing Reference field displays is based on four settings: global, template, room-level setting, and category-level. The booking template setting overrides the global setting. The room and category level settings can both override the template setting. After the Admin decides whether to display the field, user entries will be validated based on the value in the Billing Reference Validation parameter set on the template.

Billing Reference field options:

  • Show (Prompt)
  • Require
  • Validate (Show and Require)
  • Don't Show

The Billing Reference Validation parameter will always determine whether it is optional, required, or required and validated. 

Learn how to Establish Billing Reference and PO Number Field Behavior.

Allow Add On Weekend

Select to allow a EMS Web App user to add a service order to a Saturday or Sunday booking.


Determines the order in which the category is displayed in a list of categories in EMS Web App or EMS for Outlook. Categories are ordered from lowest to highest sequence number, with the category with the lowest sequence number being displayed first.

If you leave the sequence set to the default value of zero for all categories, then by default, the categories are displayed alphabetically.

Minimum Amount

The minimum purchase amount required for a user to submit a new service order in EMS Web App or EMS for Outlook for this category.


To add the category as an active category, do NOT select the Inactive check box. To inactivate the category, select the Inactive check box.

  1. If you did not select Available to All Buildings then go to Step 6. Otherwise, select the Buildings tab, and on the Available list, select the building, or Ctrl-click to select the multiple buildings for which the category is to be available, and then click the Move button (>) to move the selected buildings to the Selected list.
  2. Optionally, do one or more of the following:
    • Select the Calculations tab and on the Available list, select the calculation (Ctrl-click to select multiple calculations) you always want to apply to this category, and then Move (>) the them to the Selected list. These calculations apply to all new resources that are added to the category. If the calculations are not available, you can configure them.  You can also define calculations at the resource item level.
    • Select the Provider tab and enter the contact information for the provider of the items or services in the category. Select International to drop the State and Zip fields for an international provider. None of the provider information is displayed or printed anywhere outside of EMS Desktop Client.
    • Open the Terms and Conditions tab and format a Terms and Conditions message that must be acknowledged by EMS Web App or EMS for Outlook users when they select the category. Design is selected by default. Use the standard Windows plain text formatting options to format the message (spacing, number of lines, capitalization, and so on) so that it is displayed the way that you want; otherwise, you can select HTML and enter the necessary HTML code to format the message.
  3. If you did not select Use States, continue to the next step. Otherwise, select the States tab, and do the following:
    • In Description, enter a description for each state or phase that is to be used for managing this category (maximum of 50 characters, including spaces).
    • To define a color for each state, select the state, and then click Set Color.
    • After you define the states for a category, you can select a default state on the Category tab.
  4. Click OK. You can now define the resource items for the categories.