As a travel professional I am always on the lookout for tools to improve the flow of business. Google has many tools to do just that, like the Google Voice application I discussed previously. Another such tool is Google Apps for Business.
Google Apps for Business (http://www.google.com/apps/intl/en/business/index.html) is a suite of Google applications developed for businesses to use, including Google Calendar, Gmail, Google Docs, and a few others. While one can have access to these applications with a free Google account, utilizing these applications within Google Apps for Business makes it easy for a company to share resources and brand identity without having to invest in a full blown IT department to run and maintain everything.
The most well-known application is Gmail, and I’ll focus on that one today. Gmail has revolutionized the web-based email industry with several features that have earned many loyal users. Yet, users had an email address @gmail.com, meaning it was plainly obvious it was a web-based email account, akin to Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, and others. Doing business under a @gmail.com account does not help brand identity, and it stinks of unprofessionalism. The Google Apps version allows a user to use Gmail to power their business email accounts (note: this requires having a domain name registered).
My website domain name is http://www.journeysbysteve.com/. My web server provider offered an email application allowing me to receive email @journeysbysteve.com, which is more professional and enhances the brand identity with my company name. Yet, the web-based interface was rudimentary, and didn’t have features I’ve come to enjoy and rely on with Gmail. By using Gmail within Google Apps for Business, I can have web access to my email or I can download it to my email client. Best of all, when I log into my account, it looks like Gmail! Except, my company name (Journeys By Steve) is everywhere, instead of Google’s.
Google Apps for Business has two versions – the Standard version is free, and has some limitations, such as no more than 50 user accounts. The Premier version lifts those limitations, and is reasonably priced at $50 per year. In addition to Gmail, I have found utilizing the other applications related to my business within Google Apps and keeping it separate from my personal Google applications to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Steve Cousino, ACC, CTA, LS is a four-year industry veteran affiliated with Sunnyland Tours & Travel in Springfield, MO. He holds Lifestyle Specialist designations in Luxury Travel and is known for specializing in cruises, Western European tours, group travel, and culinary-themed travel. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his website at http://www.JourneysBySteve.com