How a Bartercard resort in Samoa received a wedding chapel to boost business and tourism through a minimal cash outlay. Bartercard allows hotels and resorts to offset many cash costs and attract new visitors off-peak.
“Using Bartercard Trade Dollars, we were able to source most of the raw materials to build a wedding chapel for Return to Paradise Resort in Samoa without the cash cost and provided the labour gratis.”
John Grimwood, Force 8 Civil
Return to Paradise Resort in Samoa has a new wedding chapel with Bartercard’s help that’s boosting wedding tourism and travel bookings in the cash market. Through Bartercard and the generosity of its members, they’ve attracted a wider market of visitors with a minimal cash outlay.
Return to Paradise is located in Upolu, Samoa’s main island where many couples have held their wedding. There was just one thing missing – a wedding chapel.
John Grimwood, owner of construction company Force 8 Civil, found this out when he and his wife Jenni took a holiday to Samoa with their business partners Jim and Linda Farrant.
Normally using Bartercard to offset business costs, they covered almost the entire cost of their holiday with Bartercard Trade Dollars – accommodation at Return to Paradise, meals and tours. While there, John started talking to the resort owner Ramona, who joined Bartercard to fill rooms off peak, and asked how Force 8 Civil could assist. He quickly uncovered a long wish list with a wedding chapel at the top.
John and Jim decided to return to Samoa with Peter Hudson from Hudo Electrical in Melbourne (a Bartercard member too) to build the chapel. They sourced as many materials as they could on Bartercard to keep the cash costs for the resort down, and they would do the labour free of charge. But that was just the beginning.
“We found out a local builder was going to add new units to the resort,” said John. So we said to Ramona that if we’re going send materials from Australia for the chapel, we’d also source as many materials as we could for the units on Bartercard.”
“We tracked down toilets, electricals, wiring, down lights, irrigation fittings, pipes and ten pallets of tiles from businesses on Bartercard. We virtually filled a 40 foot container full of Bartercard products! Our electrician Peter also brought two of his apprentices. What an amazing experience for these two young men to be involved in such a wonderful project.”
The resort covered the cost of most of the materials with Bartercard Trade Dollars, which they earned from welcoming Bartercard visitors. “We could have charged the labour on Bartercard too, but we really just wanted to help,” said John.
In October 2017, the wedding chapel was started. With the locals from the resort and villages learning alongside John and Jim, the steel structure rose from the ground on the beautiful resort overlooking the ocean. In January 2018, John, Jim, Peter, his apprentice and Ratish, a stone Mason, came back to Return to Paradise Resort for five weeks, along with three 40ft containers, to finish the chapel.
These containers held steel, electrics, a large septic system and seven pallets of tiles supplied by VERSITILE at a reduced rate with a large component on Bartercard.
When it’s not used for weddings, the local community use the chapel for local gatherings and events. It’s opened up a bigger market of wedding tourism to cash-paying and Bartercard customers that’s also increased bookings.
John and Jenni will be returning to Return to Paradise in the near future to renew their wedding vows in the Wedding Chapel.
"The people of Samoa have huge hearts and we now belong to many families there,” said John. “The Return to Paradise family Ramona and Jim are so wonderful and not only did we get a GREAT holiday but we have another home.”
Bartercard Tourism has hundreds of resort and accommodation members at destinations worldwide that welcome visitors on Bartercard when there’s availability off peak.
By spending Bartercard Trade Dollars instead of cash, hotels and resorts have saved millions of dollars on expenses from renovations to maintenance and equipment.
Visit returntoparadiseresort.com for more information.