James McCasland, Hilton San Francisco - Chief Concierge
Since his first hour as a concierge twenty years ago, when he was able to locate an antique violin in Vienna for a guest without (he admits) even knowing what he was asked to obtain, Jim McCasland has made the difficult a snap and the impossible simply an opportunity to learn something new and excel. Whether it is designing the perfect “pop the question” ambiance for an ardent suitor; saving the day of a speaker who left his speech at the airport; being “tested” by a meeting planner to see if he can truly deliver on a bizarre (but legal) request (he can and does); handling VIP tours and outings or assisting a work colleague with dinner reservations for his anniversary, Jim delivers with enthusiasm, style and meticulous care. He has mentored and trained every new concierge at the Hilton for nearly twenty years, many of whom have gone on to promotions at other properties and other cities and remains a friend and advisor to each. He encourages each to never stop learning, to strive for excellence and to proudly represent the hotel, San Francisco and the hospitality industry. With nearly thirty years in the industry, Jim represents the gold standard of customer service, and, as a role model he has instilled exceedingly high standards of performance in others. His numerous industry awards and distinctions include Where Magazine’s Silver Plume Award as Concierge of the Year, Hilton Hotels Corporation’s Spirit of Hilton Award in 2006, and he was also Finalist in the 2006 Hotel Hero Awards.
Jim was one of the first San Francisco concierges to join Les Clefs d’Or and has been extremely active in its membership and growth in the Bay Area. Recently elected Treasurer of the Les Clefs d’Or USA Ltd., he brings a wealth of experience and local prestige to this international group and has been instrumental in the formation of a new foundation to assist concierges across the country afflicted with catastrophic illness or major life setbacks. Every concierge Jim has mentored is or will become a member of this organization. Jim was a leader in the formation, growth and international prestige of The Northern California Concierge Association (NCCA). Jim has been totally engaged with this group’s significant contributions to the San Francisco non-profit sector, including Project Homeless Connect with both volunteering and planning events to serve our City’s less fortunate. This outreach extends to the organization’s formation of The Relief Fund for Hurricane Katrina victims. He also enjoys playing bingo and serving meals at The Marian Residence for Women with the Hilton San Francisco’s volunteers.
Jim often says that becoming a concierge has fulfilled his professional goals and that what it takes to give good customer service is, “…the need…the desire to bring happiness to other people has to be in your heart.” Jim never fails to credit other managers and colleagues who mentored him along the way for their inspiration. It is this same inspiration that he now provides to an array of colleagues around the world as a representative of San Francisco and the hospitality industry. He embodies the quotation: “Happiness is the full use of one’s powers along the lines of excellence.” Jim is a very happy man, indeed.