Danielle van der Kwartel, originally Dutch, arrived over 24 years ago to Mexico where she started working at Hyatt International Hotels in Puerto Vallarta. She started as a Corporate Trainee and within a year, she moved up to Director of Sales.
After her tenure as Director of Sales & Marketing of several renowned hotels, including Camino Real and the Acapulco Plaza Hotel, she worked at the All-Inclusive chain Blue Bay Hotels. During her time at Blue Bay Hotels, she opened nine representation offices in South America and was part of the St. Martin Hotel pre-opening team.
In 2000 she returned to the Hyatt International corporate office as Director of Sales & Marketing of five Mexican properties.
With the goal to promote Mexico nationally and internationally, Van der Kwartel became Vice President of SITE Mexico and member of the board of the Mexico Tourism Board. She has traveled all over the world to promote the destination.
Currently she serves as General Director of MONEYBACK and President of Meeting Professionals International Mexico’s Chapter.
Danielle is married, has four children, and resides in Mexico City.
Travel Research Online (TRO): What motivated you to pursue a career in the travel and hospitality industry, specifically in promoting Mexico?
Danielle van der Kwartel (DK): I come from a small country and ever since I was young, I felt the need to get to know more of what was out there. I wanted to leave my country and travel the world, learn about other cultures, see other countries, talk to different people, eat different foods, and this is the main reason why I got into the hotel business and tourism.
TRO: For those who perhaps haven’t heard of MONEYBACK Mexico, can you describe what services you offer travelers and travel agents?
DK: International travelers can receive an 8.9% refund of the total amount they spend when shopping at any of the 6,500 MONEYBACK affiliated stores. International visitors traveling to Mexico by cruise or air are eligible to receive it. We provide service in more than 98% of Mexico’s air and maritime points of departure through our 55 offices and airport booths, cruise ports, and shopping malls.
MONEYBACK works closely with travel agents by providing training on its services to help them assist their clients traveling to Mexico. Travel agents can download the Refund Form directly from our website and fill it out before their clients travel to Mexico. Every month we give away a $300 USD debit card to the travel agent that recommends the most clients to MONEYBACK.
TRO: Tell us about your day-to-day role at MONEYBACK Mexico.
DK: I start my day really early by being at the office at 7:00 am. I check my emails, check the previous day results, and then I start my meetings. At MONEYBACK, I supervise my executive team, new modules and offices construction, train personnel, and communicate directly with the top brands in Mexico.
I am also supporting MPI by organizing the Global Meetings Industry Day for next year, our national congress and all the monthly events we have. I am a member of Skal and Afeet, so I attend these events as well as any other industry-related events that require my attention. I work closely with the Mexico Tourism Board, so we meet often and I travel to attend tourism trade shows and events around the world.
MONEYBACK is part of an investment fund, for which I am the Commercial Director, so I’m also responsible for other companies in our investment fund. These companies are very different; for example, one company produces plastic baby products, another is a real estate company specialized in medical tourism. However, sales are sales and this keeps my life busy and interesting.
TRO: What can travel agents expect when they contact MONEYBACK Mexico on behalf of their clients?
DK: We are inviting travel agents to register in our database to receive our news and download the Refund Form from our website. Travel agents have to include their name, travel agency and email in the Refund Form, ask and their clients to fill it out and print it before they travel. The more clients we receive from a travel agent, the more chances he/she has to win $300 every month. When requested, we can also mail brochures to travel agencies to be distributed to their clients.
TRO: What resources do you have for travel agents looking to learn more about your services?
DK: MONEYBACK works closely with travel agents by providing training on its services and by helping them assist their clients that are traveling to Mexico. We have many resources on our website including presentations, webinars, Refund Forms and updates to facilitate the process.
TRO: What is your favorite travel destination to date?
DK: Honestly, I am not done traveling yet, I still have many places to visit in the world. However, considering that I live in Mexico, Mexico is one of my favorite travel destinations. For a family vacation, I’m happy as long as there’s sun and water.
TRO: What is on the horizon for MONEYBACK Mexico?
DK: Our next challenge is to work with tour operators in order to bring our service directly to the travel agencies and the consumers’ front door, before they even leave to the airport to travel to Mexico. People love to shop while on vacation and it is very important for them to know they have the opportunity to save money when shopping.
For more information on Danielle and MONEYBACK Mexico, visit them online at www.moneyback.mx/