The Takutu Hotel in Lethem was established as a small family business with about 4 rooms in the early 1970s. At that time, it catered for traveling businessmen who traveled to Brazil to purchase merchandise to resell in Georgetown, Guyana.
The business grew with time and today, 2023, it has over 50 rooms, provides laundry services, secure parking, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a wide range of beverages, both local and imported.
The Takutu Hotel in Lethem has a vision to become a premiere hospitality service not only for businesspeople, but for tourists both locally and internationally. In an interview with me, the General Manager, Ms. Morsha Johnson, expressed that she is happy with the way things are developing in the Rupununi, especially for the hospitality industry, and said that the Takutu Hotel has been receiving a growing number of clients each year, pushing the need for expansion and extension of products and services. On the other hand, the business has been braced by competition since there are about 6 river private hotels and one government regional guesthouse, along with the Amerindian hostel. Nevertheless, the Takutu Hotel has been doing good business and keeps expanding.
The Takutu Hotel in Lethem is one a mission to expand upgrade into one of the best and biggest into a 5-star hotels in Guyana, and to improve its services and products to suit the growing demand. The Takutu Hotel aims that the kitchen will cater for a wide range of customers, including a growing number of vegetarians, and Muslims who demand hallall food. One of the mission parameters is that guests must feel comfortable and safe, and must leave feeling that they have received value for money. To this end, the management of the Takutu Hotel in Lethem places special emphasis on training of staff on how to interact with customers and how to respond to their needs in an effective and efficient manner.
The Takutu Hote in Lethem has values of integrity, honesty, value-for-money, and fairness. This includes the idea that staff must be paid adequately, paid a fair salary, and have fair working hours. In addition, it is committed to being an equal opportunity employer free of discrimination.
The Takutu Hotel in Lethem contains 16 economy rooms, 10 luxury rooms, 10 semi suites, and 4 executive suites. In addition, it contains 16 rooms in the Ivan Johnson Senior floor which are described as “upper end” rooms right below the executive suites and on par with the semi suites.
The kitchen of the Takutu Hotel employs an estimated 3 to 5 persons, and is supported by front desk staff when the demand is high, in serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner to guests of the hotel. To this end, the management of the Takutu Hotel has worked to maximize efficiency and ensure a smooth flow of activities between guests, kitchen staff, waiters/waitresses, and front desk staff. Front desk staff are responsible for taking orders and passing them to the kitchen, and also processing payments.
In an interview with the student, General manager Morsha Johnson explained that the hotel faces challenges in hiring staff since many staff appear to want only short term unemployment and do not express a full dedication to their jobs. Nevertheless, the hotel has been successful in running its operation using the human resources available.
The standards of the Takutu Hotel in Lethem are very good, and it is received many positive reviews on Google. One group from Brazil commented that they have traveled throughout Guyana and that the Takutu Hotel is the best they had seen including restaurant and quality of rooms. The Takutu Hotel in Lethem places great emphasis on making guests feel welcome, safe, and at home.
At present, there are plans to construct a swimming pool in the backyard of the Takutu Hotel in Lethem since many guests have inquired about this type of facility. It is not clear at this time when this project would be completed, but management is hopeful that it can be completed before the end of 2024.
In my observation, the Takutu Hotel is doing well in its range of products and services. However, there is room for improvement in ensuring a smooth flow of operation, and managerial skills needs to improved somewhat.
The television in some rooms needs to be upgraded and provide a wider range of channels and programs. The restaurant should also consider serving lunch buffet style which is preferred by most Brazilian visitors.
In addition, the Hotel should focus more on contracting bilingual staff to cater for the growing number of Brazilian visitors. The price point for Brazilians are not competitive because most hotels in Brazil provide the same accommodation and services for about 3/4 or 1/2 of the price. General manager of the Takutu Hotel, Ms. Morsha Johnson, explained to the student that this is because the electricity costs in Brazil is considerable lower than in Lethem, Region 9. She said that the hotel shells out millions of dollars each month on electricity bills, and in order to recover that money, the price of the rooms and services must maintain a certain value. It is clear that the other hotels in Region 9 share the same sentiments since the prices of their rooms are similar across the board.
In light of the above stated point, it should be noted that the government of Guyana has said that it is working on an energy mix including solar, hydro, and fossil fuel that will give Lethem cheap, non-stop electricity by 2025. Hopefully, when this objective is achieved, hotels in Lethem will be able to compete with their Brazilian counterparts, bringing more revenue and jobs to Region 9.
In conducting this research, I can see that the hospitality industry in Region 9 is a booming and steadily expanding industry, and hotels in Region 9 are trying their best to keep up. My recommendation to the Takutu Hotel would be to incorporate more active tourism guides, resources and manuals so as to promote tourism in the Rupununi. You can learn more about the Takutu Hotel by visiting their website: www.takutuhotel.com.