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 2020...

Mobile Technology: Meeting Tech Expectations

What once seemed futuristic is now the norm, owing to the escalating developments in mobile technology, and hotels must continue to innovate in order to meet guest expectations. In a recent study from Mower, 65 percent of guests said they would gladly pay more for a hotel that provides the mobile technology they deem essential. The same study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel, and nearly 7 in 10 want to use smart devices provided by the hotel. And how do guests wish to use all this technology? A majority expressed a desire for mobile check-in and check-out, and mobile payment options. They also want to be able to stream content from their phone to the TV; to make service requests of the hotel staff; to control in-room lighting, temperature and sound; to order food and beverages; and to request a wake-up call - all from their mobile device. Guests also expressed preferences for robust wi-fi and convenient device charging ports throughout the hotel. They also appreciate the use of hotel branded apps which allow a guest to book a room, access loyalty programs, receive discounts and rewards, and even use the app to choose the room, floor and view they prefer. Some hotel apps also allow a customer to track their charges throughout their stay, rather than waiting to receive a bill at the end. Finally, mobile tech lounges are popping up more frequently in some hotels. These lounges offer guests the opportunity to perform tasks like airline check-ins or access to local info guides, but they also provide a place where guests can comfortably get some work done outside their room. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to meet their customers' expectations in the mobile technology space.