Google Apps Makes Your Travel Practice Better | TravelResearchOnline

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Google Apps Makes Your Travel Practice Better

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 steve@journeysbysteve.com.  Visit his website at http://www.JourneysBySteve.com

  7 thoughts on “Google Apps Makes Your Travel Practice Better

  1. John Frenaye says:

    What is the difference between setting up another POP account in Gmail and going through Gapps for business?

    I checked out the link and it is not free. It is a free trial and then $50 per user after that is done.

    I have several domains and I have been using Gmail to manage them. I can check email, read it, respond and it all is associated with the domain I am using.

    I did just pay $25 for a boatload more of google storage but….

  2. Steve Cousino, ACC, CTA, LS says:

    John, actually, Google is pushing the Premier version which is a free trial, then it’s $50. However, their standard version is free, and has some small limitations that are lifted for the premier version. When you click on the Google Apps link in the article, look for the “Apps Editions” link on the navigation bar, and select “Standard.”

    What is the difference? For many, this allows them to run their domain-branded email accounts through the Gmail platform, and is especially good for those who want to have several email accounts for different people or different needs. While you can “fetch” email from up to 5 accounts outside Gmail, and you can also adjust your settings so you can send email using a different address than your Gmail one, when you send from a Gmail account you typically see something like “sent by XX@xx.com on behalf of XX@gmail.com” or something to that effect. Also, sometimes, the headers will show a “From” email address, and a “Sender” email address. This is simply poor branding and goes along with Chelle’s recent Agent Perspectives column about branded emails.

  3. Steve Cousino, ACC, CTA, LS says:

    I forgot to mention that my article is slightly incorrect on one fact. The Premier Edition of Google Apps is $50 per year, PER USER. However, for most small business travel agencies & agents, the Premier Edition is overkill.

  4. John Frenaye says:

    Need to dig deeper. Do you know how it works with several domains? Do I need to then have gmail (app version) open three times if I have three domains?

    Thanks for a good article steve

  5. Linda Anderson says:

    Hi! Okay, Can someone please explain how several email accounts (pop3 and online) can be fed into gmail? Thanks

  6. Patti says:

    I always thought I’d lose my business identity using Gmail, but not so!! After learning I can run my business emails through Gmail, I recently set up all my email accounts to run through Gmail. It is fantastic!! There is one page that I add all my email accounts to, and Gmail does all the work setting it up. I’m a believer.

  7. jonathan says:

    Linda, If you go to the settings page of your Gmail account and then the accounts and imports tab, you’ll see options to send mail as and check mail using POP3. You can simply add the credentials of your other email accounts and Gmail will then work in a similar way to desktop clients.

    Google’s labels also allows you to filter those incoming mails if you wish. So you could filter each one into it’s own ‘Inbox” allowing you to see at a glance which mail comes through which account.

    If any of your webmail accounts don’t support POP3, they might have a forwarding option. You can then use that for forwarding the mail to Gmail. In most cases you can still send mail from these accounts through Gmail.

    Steve,

    Yes, your right about the ‘on behalf of’ problem with using the generic gmail service, but if you have your own domain already set up you can bypass that choice in the settings and have the mail sent through your domain server and effectively solve that problem without using an apps account.

    This is, perhaps, a better solution for those with several domains, such as John. I use a generic email account for that very reason. I can send mail from all of my domains and benefit from having everything in one email account, one Google Voice account and access to the docs.

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