7 September 2018

Business South Action Group Chair, Cristina Muñoz talks Luxury South

Hear about the the Luxury South Vision and what the future holds

With Cunard being at the forefront of luxury and working with Business South for a decade, it made Cristina, Brand Partnerships & Events Manager at Cunard, a natural choice as Chair…

What is the vision for the Luxury South group?

We have created the group to connect and promote luxury businesses in the region. We have big ambitions to inspire new and established businesses to become ambassadors of all the excellence the region has to offer.

Why did you get involved in the Action Group and how does your knowledge and experience as the Brand Partnerships & Events Manager at Cunard support the Luxury South initiative?
Cunard and Carnival UK have been Business South Champions for over 10 years, and over this time I have had the pleasure to work closely with the organisation, hosting events onboard our ships and also attending many of the networking events and conferences.

Last July, we hosted a meeting onboard Queen Mary 2 for a small number of luxury businesses within the region to openly share and discuss common challenges and identify opportunities to work closer together and influence the decision makers in the region.

Following that meeting, the Luxury South Forum was created and I was asked to Chair it, which of course I was delighted (and humbled) to accept!

Working for a renowned global luxury cruise company I have the privilege to meet and interact with other luxury brands from across many different sectors, (hospitality and leisure, banking and legal, luxury goods and cars, art and technology etc...) and as Brand Partnerships Manager I am passionate about creating authentic long lasting relationships that resonate with changing consumer trends and identifying opportunities for growth.

In my 16 years at Cunard, we have seen how the perception and consumption of luxury has shifted to be more experiential. Today’s luxury consumer wants more, but they want it in their own terms. They want to continue discovering the new, they want to grow by learning and they do want to feel that they are gaining access like no other. Businesses in the luxury sector need to adapt accordingly if they want to continue satisfying their customers.

I believe that with my experience, the very talented members of the group and by working together with the other four Business South action groups we will contribute to the growth of the region and promote the South as an excellent place to live, work, visit...and have unforgettable luxury experiences.

How can supporting Luxury businesses in the South benefit our region?

The Luxury Sector contributes £32.2 billion to the UK economy; exports are valued at £25 billion and employment in the sector is set to increase to 158,000 people by 2019. The Business South region covers some of the most affluent areas in the country and the opportunity for businesses to grow is greater here.

By sharing best practices, challenges and opportunities with other luxury businesses in the region we will be able to join the wider conversation that groups like Regenerate South and Workforce South are having with the wider business community and government to contribute to the growth of the area as a whole.

Tell us about the Directors Breakfast ‘Luxury Sector – Opportunities and Challenges for the South’ talking place at Southampton Boat Show on 18th September…
The Southampton Boat Show, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary, is a perfect example of how local businesses and services work together to welcome thousands of visitors and businesses to Southampton and the nearby areas. I couldn’t think of a better platform to introduce the newly formed Luxury South Forum. I am very excited to have the opportunity to share our vision and to start working with the rest of the action group on the projects we have planned, including the creation of a map trail highlighting the many areas of the different sectors in the region.

 We got to know Cristina a bit more outside of work…

1, You’re originally from Malaga in Spain. What made you want to live and work in Southampton?

The original plan was to learn English in 6 months (!!) and go back to Malaga but I loved being in the UK and I was so excited about the opportunities that were coming my way that there was never the right time to leave!  After living in Andover for nearly 8 years, I decided to move closer to the coast (so it would feel more like 'home'!) and came to Southampton where I have lived for the past 16 years... and loving every moment!

2. What do you miss most about Spain?

After the wonderful Summer we’ve had... no longer the weather! I guess what I miss the most is the familiarity of being back where I grew up.

3. You are the Brand Partnerships & Events Manager for Cunard and run a busy diary. What’s your downtime look like?

I love relaxing with a book or watching a movie (mostly Netflix!). I've also started running and practicing yoga again after taking a break for a couple of years.

Quick Fire:
1. Malaga or Southampton? Luckily I can have both!
2. Dom Perignon or Bellini? Dom Perignon!
3. Personal Trainer or long walk? Long walk
4. Most famous person you’ve met? HRH The Prince of Wales
5. Book or kindle? Definitely a book
6. What was the last thing you watched on Netflix? The Staircase, really interesting.
7. If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be? “If I could sing” it would have to be with George Michael
8. What’s your favourite type of cheese? Camembert
9. What’s the last country you visited? Spain!
10. Sweet or Savoury? Savoury
11. If you had one superpower, what would it be? I love history... so I’d love to travel in time!
12. What was your first car? Ford Ka (I was a late starter).

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