Danielle van der Kwartel, General Director of MONEYBACK
If someone had asked me 25 years ago where I saw myself, I would have never imagined my current life. After graduating from school in the Netherlands, where I was born, I was accepted at a management-training program with Hyatt International in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. At the moment, I wasn’t even aware where Puerto Vallarta was and I had no plans to end up staying in Mexico. Little did I know!
When I arrived in Mexico, I did not speak the language and I learned it in three intense months. After four months in Puerto Vallarta, I had fallen deeply in love with Mexico, its people, and its culture, and knew I was never leaving.
Two years later, I was offered a position as Director of Sales at the hotel and later worked with hotel chains like Camino Real, Posadas, and Blue Bay. Ten years later, I was Director of Sales for five Hyatt properties around the country. I discovered my passion for the travel and hospitality industry and realized I wanted to work hard to improve the industry in Mexico and the perception of the destination. I am very passionate about connecting people and a strong believer that in order for the world to move forward, we need to learn to listen to each other, respect, and learn from each other. It’s crucial for people to travel outside their countries, learn about new cultures, and explore new places in order to get rid of prejudice and misconceptions. This is what I have learned from the industry and the motto I live by.
With the goal of promoting Mexico nationally and internationally and building connections, I have been Vice President of SITE Mexico; President of Mexico’s Chapter of Meeting Planners International; and member of the Board of Advisors of the Mexico Tourism Board. Currently I am President of the Association for Female Travel Executives in Cancun & Riviera Maya. I think that women in tourism must work together, standing strong, in order to send out the right examples to our children, to the teams we work with, and to the community we belong to, in order to grow the entire tourism sector with benefits for all of us. I have had the opportunity to travel all over the world to promote the destination I am very proud to call home.
On August 1st, 2008, I was appointed General Director of MONEYBACK. MONEYBACK is Mexico’s leading tax-refund company. International travelers visiting Mexico can receive 8.9% refund of the total amount they spend when shopping at any of the 6,000 affiliated stores around the country. We provide service in more than 98% of Mexico’s air and maritime points of departure through our 55 offices located at airports, shopping malls, cruise ports, and more. The process is very fast, simple, and stress-free.
We work closely with travel agents by providing them training, webinars, brochures, and information to assist their clients traveling to Mexico. MONEYBACK’s goal is to promote the best shopping destinations in Mexico. Our company is operated by travel industry professionals who understand the needs of international travelers visiting Mexico, and our goal is to raise awareness of this service so more travelers can take advantage of it.
My day-to-day role at MONEYBACK consists of supervising my executive team for operations, marketing, training personnel, and more, and communicating directly with brands in Mexico to building partnerships. 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 specializing in medical tourism. However, sales are sales and this keeps my life busy and interesting.
My biggest passion outside the industry and my work is personal growth, overcoming fears, and learning from my children. I am a mother of four and every day is a new experience. The world is a very different world from the one I grew up in, and my goal is to work very hard every day to make this world a better place for my children and future generations.