Lift game or miss out

Therese ColmanBusselton Dunsborough Times
Coast to Country Weddings founder Nicole Liedermoy are urging wedding suppliers in the South West to provide better customer service.
Camera IconCoast to Country Weddings founder Nicole Liedermoy are urging wedding suppliers in the South West to provide better customer service. Credit: Supplied

A local wedding directory operator says South West suppliers are missing out on a $40 million wedding industry because of poor customer service.

Coast to Country Weddings founder Nicole Liedermoy said couples planning their wedding in the South West are having their enquiries to caterers, florists, celebrants, photographers and car hire companies ignored.

“I’m constantly getting calls and emails from brides complaining about suppliers not getting back to them and not returning phone calls or emails,” she said.

“Suppliers whinge about how tough things are, but if more of them were actually responsive to enquiries, they’d find a lot more business coming their way.”

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Ms Liedermoy estimates that WA hosts 12,000 weddings every year and at least 2000 of them are in the South West.

The Times understands about 10 to 15 per cent of weddings in the Capes region are locals getting married, another 10 to 15 per cent are from overseas, and 70 per cent are from Perth or interstate.

“If you estimate the cost of each wedding at a minimum of $20,000, that’s a $40 million cash injection right there, but so many brides I talk to use Perth suppliers because they can’t get what they want in the local area,” she said.

Busselton Chamber of Commerce chief executive Jodie Richards said poor customer service reflected badly across the region.

“The chamber has a strong message on customer service across all sectors that if you’re competing on price, you may as well shut the door and walk away ... what people want is an experience.

“You need to find out what your customer wants and give it to them, because customers are the only reason you’re in business, and if you don’t look after your customer, you don’t have a business.

“Customer service is vital, particularly in regional WA, and particularly in a wedding region.”

Ms Liedermoy’s business promotes 140 wedding industry suppliers from the South West, 120 of which are in the Capes region, but she said “hundreds more could be getting a slice of the multimillion-dollar pie if only they’d be more responsive”.

“Local businesses not replying to people ... will damage the industry we have all worked so hard to build over the years and people will go to a different region to get married because it will become too hard to organise here,” she said.

Ms Richards said there was a flow-on effect to tourism.

“The average international wedding to our region is about $200,000 because they’re bringing their guests, they stay for four days, and they spread the wealth over the region,” she said.

“I also have firsthand experience of couples from Perth bringing with them their hairdresser, florist, stylist and photographer down and paying top dollar, even though we do have extraordinary suppliers here.

“If they’re sending a message to you and you’re not getting back to them, you can’t complain business is slow.”

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