Editorial Board   

Mr. LaTour

Tom LaTour

Principal, LaTour Signature Group

Tom LaTour is one of the founding partners of LaTour Signature Group, a joint-venture business with ResortCom Elite that provides superior management services to small, luxury fractional ownership properties throughout North America. As the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group, he is applying his more than 40 years of experience in the travel and hospitality industry to this booming new vacation real estate market. A graduate of Michigan State University, Mr. LaTour started his illustrious career working for American Airlines as general manager for the Sky Chef division. He joined Amfac Hotels in 1973, and for 10 years helped operate the diversified hotel and restaurant chain's 17 nationwide properties. In 1983, Mr. LaTour joined founder Bill Kimpton in the ambitious endeavor of pioneering the then new hospitality niche of boutique hotels. Throughout his nearly quarter century with the company, he saw the exclusive Kimpton brand expand to include 40 boutique hotels and restaurants throughout 17 cities in the United States and Canada. The Kimpton brand stood out for its commitment to helping guests maintain and enrich their lifestyles on the road. Each property reflected the energy, personality and pulse of its distinct location, history and architectural style. Kimpton, under Mr. LaTour 's direction, provided highly personalized guest services and welcomed travelers with an atmosphere that embraced its signature elements of care, comfort, style, flavor and fun. Mr. LaTour retired in 2006 after a 23-year career at Kimpton, during which his dedication and visionary leadership established it as the leader in the boutique/lifestyle hotel segment as well as creating strategic alliances with global issues and eco-friendly efforts such as AIDs research and Trust for Public Land. In early 2007, Mr. LaTour joined long-time friend and business associate John E. Small, along with ResortCom International's President Jeff Healy, to form San Diego-based LaTour Signature Group. According to Small, "Tom LaTour has the incredible vision and extraordinary business acumen necessary to lead the explosive growth in this niche market by providing the ultimate luxury brand for smaller fractional properties." In addition to heading this new business venture, Mr. LaTour remains on the board of directors for Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group and also serves on the boards of many nonprofit organizations, including the Hoffman Institute and the REDF "Investing in Employment Hope." He is a trustee of the San Francisco Maritime Park Association and serves on the San Francisco Planning and Urban Development Association advisory Board. In addition, he is founding board member of the Union Square Business Improvement District, past chair of the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, and is on the advisory board for California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. Along with his wife, Barbara, he owns and operates the 25-acre LaTour Vineyards in Napa Valley where they produce barrel-fermented Chardonnay, Pinot and Syrah wines.

Mr. LaTour can be contacted at 415-568-2210 or tlatour@latoursignaturegroup.com

Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.