Milford Plaza Review: Mold and Mildew

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expedia.com travel problemsI have come to the realization that on-line travel services such as Expedia are only valuable for finding hotel names in a given area and comparing airfares but NOT for booking trips. My most recent headache was trying to get a refund from a hotel that was booked through Expedia, which took many phone calls and significant pain to start the refund process. The refund process so far has been so painful it is my opinion that Expedia doesn’t truly care about customer service.

Storyline:  My clients were booked at a New York City hotel called The Milford Plaza. I later found out that in the NY Hotel Industry this place is called the “Mildew Plaza”. So for later reference here is the word association:

Milford Plaza, NYC = Mildew Plaza, NYC

When my clients checked after dinner and tired from a long day they found urine stains on the bed sheets and hair on the bed covers. When they called the front desk they were told someone would be up immediately. Two hours later the sheets were changed but they had to make 3 additional calls to the front desk.

Needless to say they did not get a good sleep. The following morning they left for a day of shopping and asked for a room change. When they came back to the new room there were no towels in the bathroom. After repeated calls, they were told that 200 people were ahead of them to get towels and they could not guarantee they would get to them on that day. This lack of service, lack of towels and a very noisy radiator made this one of the most horrendous hotel experiences I have ever heard about in NYC.

Booking directly using a good credit card like American Express or Visa Gold you could checkout early and if the hotel didn’t refund your money, the credit card would stick up for you. In my opinion, Expedia adds no value. Why? Because in my experience the agents will not stick up for you. It would appear that they are trained to put the burden of proof on the customer.

The run-around I had to put up with on the phone just to pull up their reservation was amazing. You see, Expedia can not lookup a reservation by the guest name who is booked at the hotel; who would have guessed? Since the reservation was booked by my travel department, I needed to know their personal account number or the e-mail address that booked the reservation. On a Saturday morning, good luck getting this information from a closed large corporate office!

It would appear that the hotels don’t really like dealing with Expedia since Expedia beats them up for low rates. The hotels in turn give Expedia customers no slack. The hotel response was indifferent and Expedia’s was worse. The customer service agent actually said that she would like to believe me but would have to call the hotel desk to verify my claims. One hour later, the hotel was in denial and no resolution was made.

Another word association:

Expedia = Headaches

Next time you want to travel, use on-line travel services to shop for rates and then book direct. Do not use Expedia for travel plans that may have to change. Their inflexibility is beyond belief. You end up losing your money and your patience. Call a good travel agent!

A Great Travel Agent

If you want an A+ professional travel agent, contact Ted Friedli at Excel Travel:  www.exceltravel.com

Best Restaurant In New Jersey

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Here are the facts.

  • Nicholas sets the “high bar” for fine dining in New Jersey.
  • Nicholas continues to provide the most consistent fine dining experience in New Jersey. 
  • Nicholas is New Jersey’s reigning award winning champion restaurant.
  • Nicholas is perfect for special occasions and anytime you want to impress your guests with fine food, service and wines.

OK. Now get in your car and drive to Nicholas Restaurant for a great meal!

nicholas-restuarantRestaurant Nicholas now has a casual dining area of the restaurant which is located in the bar area.  The well lit, smartly decorated bar allows patrons to experience the restaurant’s fine foods in jeans and casual attire.  The main restaurant is best suited for business casual attire; jackets are not required but always recommended in the main dining room.

Simple stated, it will be hard to find a better presentation of foods in New Jersey let alone the East Coast and the service is always on the mark.  I have personally dined at Restaurant Nicholas numerous times and I have never been disappointed nor have found a chink in their “armor of excellence”.

Reservations are recommended at Restaurant Nicholas but during the week you should not have a problem finding a table in the main restaurant or bar.  Thursday thru Sunday nights are always very busy so plan ahead for a great dining experience. 

It is worth the drive to experience the food of Nicholas and his staff. If you live in NY or PA, drive up for a stunning meal and then stay overnight in Red Bank.  The Molly Pitcher Inn, situated on the Navesink River, is a nice place to stay overnight after a great meal at Restaurant Nicholas.

Read New York Times Review: http://events.nytimes.com/2006/04/23/travel/23njdine.html

NJ Internet Reputation Management Specialists

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pcg-logoInternet blogging has given individuals unprecedented access and freedom to  distribution of written content and opinion. This Freedom is both a blessing and a curse depending on the content and target of the written piece.

The need for Internet Reputation Management has sky-rocketed in response to business owners who find themselves confronted with highly visible commentary of their business on Google, Yahoo and MSN searches.

Business owners often feel helpless in protecting their online reputation from valid blog posts and negative posts planted by competitors. On the flip side, businesses often fail to leverage positive commentary and testimonials posted on the Internet. Having a proactive strategy for disseminating positive commentary can often be the best defense against future negative attacks.

Internet Reputation Management services have a bright future. New web content is growing in direct relation to the explosive growth of social networking portals. Each month new tools are being made available to allow a non-technical Internet user to create their own website, blog and social networking portal. With the ease at which content can be created, organized and shared on the Internet, business owners need to be mindful of what is being written about their company.

An Internet Reputation Management strategy should have a clear escalation plan for positive and negative commentary. Positive commentary should be evaluated and the very best should be included on a company blog or website news page. Companies should get permission from the individual to repurpose their commentary in marketing materials.

Negative content should have an immediate response strategy which is best handled by a seasoned SEO and Reputation Management Consultant (RPC). Every post will have a different strategy depending on where the post was made and the policies of the website host.

Leveraging Your Satisfied Customers

Reputation Management requires both an offensive and defensive strategy. The longer an offensive strategy is in place, the harder it is for negative commentary to drastically affect any business. If a company has been lax at posting positive commentary, then Any negative commentary will look out of proportion.

Business owners can no longer ignore public commentary and commercial review websites. A restaurant owner that has a comment posted on the Internet about a food poisoning episode, without balanced commentary, will be affected for consumers looking to try a new restaurant using Internet based searches. A hotel that has posts about dirty bed linens and mildew will see their online bookings drop. Simply stated, any post with a specific company name needs to be reviewed.

The PCG Digital Marketing has effective methodologies and strategies to assist business owners in implementing a solid reputation management action plan. If you would like additional information, visit http://www.paschconsulting.com

Undici Restaurant Rumson

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Now that my business offices have moved to Rumson I am very happy to be 2 blocks walking distance from Undici Restaurant.  Monmouth County’s most unique Italian cuisine has matured, refined its menu and has emerged as the “go to” spot for local Rumson residents. 

Located on the former “Hook Line & Sinker”  property, you would never recognize this restaurant compared to the former local eatery.  The renovations on this property are spectacular and the transformation from the former Rumson destination unimaginable. Hats off to the architects and designers on the Undici Restaurant project.

victor-rallo-in-italy.jpgUnder the direction of Victor Rallo, Undici has evolved into a truly wonderful experience.  Prices are in line with the economy, their wine list just received high praise from Wine Spectator and best of all their chef is the REAL DEAL.  Authentic regional Italian cuisine in one of the coziest settings in New Jersey.  Unidici is hard to beat on many levels.

Victor Rallo Leads Undici To Excellence

Victor has a passion for wine and food and his recent trip to Italy confirms that passion. Pictured on the right is Victor and Sebastiano Rosa, winemaker at Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia in the fields Bolgheri, Tuscany.

If you have not experienced the food at Unidici we recommend that you go to the restaurant rested and hungry.  Start off with their selection of aged prosciutto and Italian cheese, olives and organic honeycomb.

Then split a portion of the amazing pasta “bolognese” and then decide which entree you are in the mood for that evening.  Are you hungry yet?

Brian Pasch Readies New Website

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We are in the process of updating my namesake website to convert the site over to WordPress and to better organize the many articles that I have written in the past.  Over the coming month we should have www.brianpasch.com completed and we’ll get back to writing about my passions and living in New Jersey.