The FORT Podcast: Bo Aughtry – Deep Dive into Hotel Development and Lessons Learned Through Many Cycles

Bo Aughtry, Chairman & CEO of Windsor Aughtry Commercial, entered the real estate business out of college and in 1975 helped found Small and Aughtry, a real estate development and brokerage firm. In 1980, Bo established The Aughtry Company, a commercial real estate development and brokerage firm, and Aughtry Securities Corporation, an NASD Broker/Dealer, serving as president of both. In 1988 the companies merged with Windsor Properties, Inc., then a Greenville-based home-building firm, thereby forming Windsor/Aughtry Company, Inc.

On this episode, Bo discusses lessons learned through many economic cycles and Short Term Rentals as a competitor. Chris and Bo also chat about how WAC develops hotels – selecting markets, sites, construction, and partnering with hotel brands. Enjoy!

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(02:03) – Bo’s Background and Career in Real Estate

(05:41) – Bo’s Experience During the OPEC Oil Embargo

(10:40) – When you think back on the cycles you’ve experienced, could you sense them or did they come unexpectedly?

(13:33) – What are the chain of events that happen during an unraveling?

(17:54) – Are you sensing anything right now?

Psychology of money by Morgan Housel

(25:13) – When the interest rates went to 21.5% prime, how long did they stay that high and what happened during that period?

(28:46) – How did you get into hotel development?

(32:03) – How do you select sites when developing a hotel?

(35:43) – Who is your average guests when building in a college town?

(39:12) – Do you try to sign contracts with universities?

(40:57) – How do you select the brand of hotel?

(42:28) – What’s the differentiation of risk between you and the hotel brand?

(44:58) – Do you have to follow the specs of the hotel brand or do they give you freedom of design?

(47:11) – What’s an affinity program?

(47:53) – Who purchases the furniture for the hotel?

(50:47) – What does Hilton provide to you beyond a booking system and marketing?

(52:08) – Thoughts on Construction 

(56:43) – Thoughts on AirBnb & STR’s

(1:03:29) – Why do you pursue heads-up deals and what matters to you in partnerships?

(1:09:39) – If you could go back and tell your 35-year-old self some wisdom, what would it be?

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