Long before 50-year-old Cyril Haynes opened his modest Apartment Complex in Garnett street in August this year he had begun to undertake research into the hospitality sector. Haynes had been contemplating a much earlier entry into the sector.
In 2006, the government had offered duty-free concessions on imports as an incentive for investment in accommodation for the throngs of cricket-lovers who were expected to visit Guyana for Cricket World Cup in 2007.
Haynes opted out at the time because he felt the competition might not have made his planned venture a worthwhile investment. He had, however, seen enough of the hospitality sector to become aware of what he says was “a longer-term interest” in a rental apartment complex.
An experienced contractor, Haynes threw himself into the complete transformation of the Garnett street complex.
The two sets of premises erected on the property house a combination of single and double rooms and self-contained apartments fashioned to meet the needs of his “target market”—visitors to Guyana seeking medium to long-term accommodation.
Building, Haynes says, was the least challenging part of the project. As the complex developed he found himself much more preoccupied with how he would manage the completed facility. After all, he reasoned, the management of an apartment complex necessitated skills which he did not possess. Investing in an enterprise was one thing; managing was an entirely different responsibility.
In the months since the formal opening of the Haynes Apartment Complex, Cyril Haynes has had to learn quickly.
He has immersed himself a range of pursuits associated with administering the complex including recruiting capable support staff, designing and producing brochures and fliers, identifying target markets both at home and overseas and communicating with entities that might bring him clients.
Haynes says that his target market includes foreigners, returning Guyanese and contractors recruited to work in Guyana. “Ideally, I’d like to have medium to long-term guests. I believe that it would be easier to manage such an arrangement,” Haynes says.
He is currently preparing himself for a series of demarches on the various international organisations and diplomatic offices in the hope of attracting visitors through those entities.
Haynes concedes that he is “learning the business” though he discloses that he has had “plenty of help and advice” from friends and relatives most of whom live overseas.
He still considers Haynes Apartment Complex to be “a work in progress”. He says that while the complex seeks to afford guests “a comfortable stay” he expects to learn from the experience of having visitors stay there.
“It’s a matter of people’s taste and we may well discover that we might have to make adjustments to suit those tastes. It’s a learning experience for me and I am looking forward to the challenge,” Haynes says.