Frequently Asked Questions
Find here the answers to YOUR FAQ
WHO ARE WE?
Marta Laurent is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She got her tour guide license in 2000 and soon specialized in private tours for couples, families and groups of friends.
In 2005 she created her first website, and that’s how ForeverBarcelona was born. Little by little, she started getting more and more tour requests and in 2012 she started creating a team of hand-picked tour guides that are proud to collaborate with one of the top tour guide companies in Barcelona. That was the year she got her first Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence, after getting our first review in November 2011. Since them, we’ve received it every year and we’ve won other awards as well. You can see the full list here.
WHAT MAKES A GUIDE AMAZING?
And that’s precisely how our tour guides are!
BESIDES, WE SUPPORT SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL
AND WE FIND WAYS TO MAKE THIS WORLD A BIT BETTER
Our office is open Mon-Thu from 9AM to 5PM, Fridays 9 to 4PM (except local holidays).
Outside such schedule our email is not supervised, our company phone is not answered and our voicemail is not checked.. Our boss Marta still gets your Whatsapp messages, but will only answer or act when she considers it’s an emergency.
What’s the best way to contact you?
Please note that we DO NOT provide 24/7 customer service.
We strive to answer our email within 24 hours (except weekends and local holidays): it is the fastest way to reach us.
Our company phone can only be answered by Marta, the owner of ForeverBarcelona during business hours as long as she’s not out giving a tour or fulfilling other duties outside of the office. Our voicemail is only checked once a week and we do not commit to call back if we are too busy: We give priority to email communications, so we strongly recommend to email us anyway after leaving a voicemail.
I NEED TO BOOK A TOUR
- If you need a last-minute booking for tomorrow but our office is already closed, I’m afraid we won’t be able to provide a tour as we can’t arrange tours when the office is closed.
- If you need a tour for Saturday, Sunday or Monday, but it’s Friday after 5PM (Spanish Time) or already the weekend, I’m afraid we won’t be able to provide a tour as we can’t arrange tours when the office is closed.
- If you need a tour for later, please send us our website contact form and we’ll get back to you on Monday.
I HAVE ALREADY BOOKED A TOUR AND I HAVE AN EMERGENCYIf you need a last-minute change, please check this section of our Terms and Conditions first.
CALL YOUR TOUR GUIDEIf you need to contact us regarding a tour for tomorrow, the weekend or Monday and our office is already closed, THIS IS THE FASTEST WAY TO SOLVE ANY ISSUE. You’ll find her/his cellphone number in the email confirmation we sent you upon booking. If your guide doesn’t pick up the phone (they might be in a tour, or be sleeping if it’s late at night, or just not hear it), please leave them a voicemail and/or send them a text message (SMS or whatsapp) – otherwise your guide might just dismiss a last call. Make sure to state your name AND date of your tour in your message, so your guide can quickly identify you.
USE OUR EMERGENCY EMAIL
Weekends are our bookings team day off, but if you send us an email to email@example.com, it will be forwarded to their personal email accounts. We cannot guarantee they’ll see it right away – unfortunately we are a small company and can’t afford a 24/7 customer service yet – but they are likely to check their emails at some point (as anyone does!), and they’ll take action as soon as they read it.
Please do not send us other emails to check if we’ve read it: that’ll only slow down our capacity of answer. But do email us if your situation changes and you need to provide new data about your case.
PLEASE NOTE that our team cannot get you extra tickets for Park Guell or Sagrada Familia when the office is closed. If someone is joining you last-minute, we’ll do everything that is in our hands to accommodate them, as soon as we are back to the office (assuming your tour hasn’t taken place yet). Please understand that since in most sites tickets sell out, we cannot promise we’ll be able to find extra tickets last-minute.
This email is for emergencies only . If our team considers your request was not an emergency after all, we reserve the right to get back to you on Monday when our team is back to the office. Last-minute tour requests sent to our emergency email will be ignored.
SEND US A WHATSAPP MESSAGE
Our boss Marta receives on her personal phone the company Whatsapp messages at +34 695850419 (whatsapp only – this line is not configured to receive phone calls nor SMS).
She regularly checks her phone during daytime and is likely to be able to help you, but she’s not on duty 24/7 as she needs to attend to her tours and personal commitments.
I NEED SOMETHING ELSE
For any other instances, please email us and we’ll get back to you as soon as our office is open again (either next day or Monday, as applies).
ALL OUR GUIDES ARE LICENSEDAll our tour guides are official tour guides, certified by the Government of Catalonia. Some advantages of hiring an official tour guide are:
- Proven knowledge and reliability
- Legal authorization to explain inside heritage sites and museums (please note that some privately owned sites might limit our right to explain within their premises: Palau de la Música Catalana, Casa Lleó Morera, Hospital de Sant Pau i de la Santa Creu…).
- Right to skip lines with small groups in most local sites and museums (although access might depend on tickets availability – we pre-book tickets for you for the sites where it’s usually needed)
WE ONLY USE DRIVERS WITH A PROFESSIONAL DRIVING LICENSEOur tour guides do not drive. When you are hiring a chauffeured service, we’ll also provide a dedicated professional driver, with the required professional license and a SP plate (standing for Public Service). For more information on the laws applying to professional drivers why our tour guides don’t drive, click here.
TOURISM ASSOCIATION MEMBERSHIPS
Are you ASTA member Travel Agents?No. Asta is the American Society of Travel Agents, and according to their website they are the “world’s largest association of travel professionals“. However and despite what you might have read in other sites, as an American association they have no power to regulate who can welcome travelers from abroad, nor are the sole institution who can verify genuine tour operators. Each country has the right to set their own laws for local tourism companies, and in Spain each region has the authority to decide who and how tour services are provided within their territory. Tours in Barcelona and the Catalonia region are ruled by the 158/2012 Decree of the Government of Catalonia, that states what services are specific to Travel Agencies, and what services can be operated by other providers. We are NOT a Travel Agency, but according to such decree Travel Agencies are the only ones authorized to provide combined trips (over 24 hours long or including an overnight stay), and that does not include the kind of services we provide, which is typically individual tours of 2 to 12 hours. What means we are completely legally entitled to provide the services we provide. In the other hand, only tour guides licensed by the Government of Catalonia are legally allowed to explain within the premises of BCIN museums or monuments (BCIN – Sites of National Cultural Interest). This is why we ONLY use certified tour guides.
Do you belong to any other tourism association?In Spain tour guides are not required to be members of any specific association, but out of their commitment with our profession, most of the guides in our team are members of local tour guide societies such as Aguicat and APIT, being even actively involved in such societies boards.
About our tours:
We love being flexible and adapting to what we see our guests are enjoying the most.
It is often possible to spend more time in your favorite site than in another, or make a little detour to check out a shop that you’ve heard of, or have a coffee break that wasn’t originally planned. However, there are some limitations.
PLEASE TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THAT:
- Itinerary changes to spend more time somewhere or add an extra activity/visit will often imply cutting out the itinerary somewhere else.
- When tickets have been booked for your original activity, the allotted entrance times must be respected, what might limit the flexibility of your tour.
We do have sample itineraries in our website, that we have created from our experience seeing what different types of guests where most interested in visiting. But if you have your own list of sites, we’ll be delighted to check it out and suggest a custom tour for you.
ForeverBarcelona is a hand-picked team of top licensed guides.
Marta is the main tourguide at Foreverbarcelona.com. Most tours are given by her in person, and this is why she is the one who gets most testimonials.
When Marta is not available, we use the tourguides from our team of collaborators. All of them have been handpicked by Marta in person, speak great English, are fully licensed and entitled to skip lines, and are very knowledgeable, fun and experienced. Get to know them here.
Please note that our collaborators are freelance professionals. Foreverbarcelona acts only as an intermediary to provide you a tour when Marta is not available. However, our fees will remain the same as if you were touring with Marta, and you’ll still have to secure your tour by sending us your payment in full.
Occasionally we might need to refer you to another company if we are not able to provide a tour for you. In those cases, you’d be dealing directly with other companies/guides with their own fees and you’d be paying them directly according to their own conditions.
CAN I CHOOSE MY GUIDE?If you are booking via our online booking engine, the system will assign you the first guide available. If you are booking by email, you are welcome to let us know your preferences and we’ll take them into account when we assign you a tourguide, as long as he/she is available.
All our tours are private, for your party only. You are NOT part of a larger group and no strangers will be joining your tour.
SHARING A TOUR:
Note that if you wish to share the tour cost with other people you can organize your own “private group” using popular travel sites such as the Tripadvisor Forums or Cruisecritic. But you have to do it yourself: we don’t arrange such groups.
Your tour will be in the language you choose upon booking.
All our tour guides speak English fluently, besides Spanish and Catalan, and 90% of our tours are in English.
Do you do tours in German or other languages?
It is hard to find German-speaking guides in Barcelona, and only a couple of our guides speak it, so depending on their availability we would have to find an outside collaborator instead of using a guide from our team. Besides, due to the difficulty of the language, German-speaking guides charge a supplement for tours in this language.
Other languages can be provided on request (although we are likely to use an outside collaborator, rather than an official member of our team). Supplements might also apply.
In all these cases, our communication with the guest will be executed in English, though.
- Walking tours: Up to 9 people. Please take into account that local taxis take a maximum of 4 passengers: 4 to 7 clients will need 2 taxis/ride, 8 to 9 clients will need 3 taxis/ride.
- Chauffeured tours: Up to 6 people for minivan tours, up to 9 people for minibus tours.
Solo travelersWe are happy to work for solo travelers. But please note that our fees are per tour, not per person: a solo traveler must still pay for the full tour amount, or find someone else to share costs. We cannot help you finding tour mates nor add you to one of our existing groups. For more information and tips for solo travelers, click here.
It depends: from 4 to 12 hours depending on the itinerary.
This is something we’ll discuss while we are planning your tour. However, here are some standard durations that we’ll give you as a reference:
- A basic tour takes upto 4h. The fee is the same even if you need a shorter tour… That’s why we encourage you to use all the time you are actually paying for!
- Longer tours are also available: 5, 6 or 8 hour tours. Extra hours are available for a set fee – Feel free to ask!
DAY TRIPS OUT OF TOWN:
- Half day excursions take 5 hours (BRONZE DAYTRIPS) or 6 hours (STEEL AND IVORY DAYTRIPS).
- Most full day tours last 8 hours (SILVER and GOLD DAYTRIPS), but you can book 10 hours (DIAMOND DAYTRIPS) and 12 hours (PLATINUM DAYTRIPS) to cover more ground or reach destinations that are further from Barcelona.
You’ll find the recommended starting times for each tour at the end of the tour description, in the Schedule section. Usually any time between 9 and 10AM works fine for morning and full day tours (although some day trips out of town might require an earlier start – ask us).
Afternoon tours can start anytime between 1PM and 4PM. We don’t start tours at noon unless a lunch stop is previewed in your itinerary (or if it’s a lunchtime tapas tour).
Evening tapas tours start at 7PM to match the bars opening hours (an earlier start might be possible in some cases, but that can limit the variety of bars available and their liveliness).
LOCATIONS WITHIN THE CITY LIMITSOur fees include pick-up/drop-off points anywhere within the city limits: your hotel or address in town will often work as meeting point, but you can also choose to join us in front of a site that is more convenient for our itinerary. We can finish back to your hotel/apartment, or in some restaurant, or in the last site we visited… Whatever is more convenient for you!
- Chauffeured tours: Cruise pier pick-up/drop-off is included in chauffeured city tours if needed (luggage supplement might apply).
- Walking tours: If you are a cruise passenger booking a walking tour, we’ll set up a meeting point in the city center as meeting of the cruise pier can often take too long if you don’t have private transportation.
AIRPORT AND AIRPORT HOTELSAirport and/or airport hotel pick-up/drop-off is NOT included in the standard fees. The ride to/from the airport into the city center takes around 30 minutes. You can choose between paying the luggage supplement, and use the first/last 30 minutes of your tour for the airport transfer (driver only, no tourguide for this ride), or book an additional airport transfer service. Our Airport Tour already is our recommended itinerary for 3.5 hours of tour +30 minutes of airport transfer.
CITY SUBURBSPick-up/Drop-off in suburbs are NOT included: fees apply and they will be calculated depending on the location where you need to be picked up.
OTHER AREAS OUTSIDE BARCELONAIf you are staying in one of the many tourist areas outside of Barcelona ( such as Girona, Costa Brava, Sitges…) and you need us to reach you up there, show you around and take you back to where you are staying, we’ll have to charge extra hours to cover the traveling time and expenses. Each case will be specifically budgeted depending on distance and duration of the service, but please understand that this can be quite expensive. If saving money is a priority for you, we recommend that want to find a tour provider in the area where you are staying.
It depends on the tour.
Tours are carried rain or shine. But your guide will try to maximize your time indoors and make the best use of vehicles for your convenience.
We strongly suggest to check the weather and plan accordingly. Some hotels have umbrellas available for their guests on request: check with your concierge or doorman if you need one.
Accessibility conditions depend a lot on each itinerary: check the tour description for more details. And please take into account that in some cases walking issues and use of wheelchair can force us to reduce the itinerary to stick to the number of hours booked (or you might need to increase the length of the tour to be able to cover the complete itinerary). Even chauffeured tours involve some walking.
Our timings are designed for healthy travelers with no walking issues, walking slow but steady.
Note that you are booking a tour guide service for a certain number of hours, not an itinerary to be completed no matter what: if you or someone in the party slows down the pace of the group upto the point that there is no time to see everything in the plan, the service still has to finish at the agreed tour ending time and you will not be entitled to any sort of compensation. Please consider booking extra time if you feel your pace is slower than the average healthy visitor.
Click here to read our recommendations and tips for people with disabilities, walking issues or on wheelchairs.
We typically plan for one bathroom stop during half day tours and day trips around the middle of the tour, 2 or 3 stops for full days. If you’ll need more than that, please ask your guide but beware that unfortunately the extra time wasted might have to be cut off from the time planned to enjoyed the sites.
We don’t specifically plan for gift-shop stops during our tours (we strongly encourage you to shop after the tour is over, to take the most out of your guide), it’s usually easy to improvise a short stop at one gift-shop at some point. Please note that too many stops or too long ones will definitely affect the pace and timing of the itinerary, forcing your guide to speed up or to shorten the itinerary.
HAS ANY OF YOUR GUESTS EVER MISSED THE SHIP?No. We are aware that cruise passengers are usually required to be back on board no later than 1 hour before departure, so we’ll never schedule a tour with you that ends too late.
DO YOU PICK UP / DROP OFF AT THE PIER?Yes, if you are booking a chauffeured tour. Unfortunately, if you are booking a walking tour we’ll have to set up a meeting point directly in the city center as too much tour time would be lost moving from the pier to the first site in your itinerary. Check here our recommended tours and tips for cruise passengers.
HOW DO WE MOVE AROUND?
While for some tours you’ll need a dedicated official driver, for others it might not be required. There are several options available, depending on the level of comfort you need and your budget:
- On foot. The center of Barcelona is quite walkable, and some of our tours can be completely made on foot. However, other monuments are too far and must be reached by some other means of transportation. Client must pay for the rides, including any tickets for the guide.
- Taxi / Cab. Cabs are usually easy to find in the city, and most monuments have taxi stops nearby. They accept up to 4 passengers (3 clients + guide).
- Public transportation. Our metro network is fast and modern, and our buses are slower but let you enjoy the city landscape better. Buy 10-trips cards (they can be shared by several people) or individual day passes, and please include one for the guide!
- Your own car, or one you rented. Your tourguide won’t drive, but we’ll be glad to navigate you. However, in Barcelona it isn’t a great idea, as it is not always easy to find a place to park, and you risk wasting too much time trying to find it. Paying underground parking areas or blue parking meters can be a solution, although here some time will be wasted too walking from the parking place to the site…
- Private driver. We provide chauffeured tours in Mercedes car, luxury minivans and buses of different sizes with a dedicated driver. For that we hire the services of a driver company.
Going out of town:
- Public transportation. Taking the train or public buses is NOT an option for daytrips out of town, as the rides are often twice as long as by car.
- Your own car, or one you rented. Your tourguide won’t drive, but we’ll be glad to navigate you. It is a good idea for a day trip, although in most tourist places you must be prepared to pay for parking and possible tolls.
- Private driver. We provide chauffeured tours in Mercedes car, luxury minivans and buses of different sizes. For that we hire the services of a driver company.
WHY WON’T THE TOURGUIDE DRIVE?
(Or why don’t we offer driver-only tours – without a tourguide)
- LAW. In Spain is illegal working as an driver without a professional driving license, professional car insurance and SP plate (standing for Public Service), which most tourguides don’t have. It is also illegal to explain inside heritage sites without an official tourguide license (which we don’t know of any driver who was it). And only official tourguides are allowed to skip lines in museums and sites.
- DRIVING SAFELY. It is not safe to have your tourguide driving around while keeping a nice conversation with you and answering your questions.
- QUALITY SERVICE. If the guide doesn’t need to care about the traffic and the directions, we can dedicate all our attention to you. We can answer questions, talk about the history of the city or the next monument we are going to visit, recommend you restaurants or things to do during the rest of your stay, point at interesting things we might see passing by, use a map to show you how much of the city we are covering in our tour…
- TIME EFFICIENCY. Our official driver will be dropping us at the door of the sites, and picking us up right there. There will be no time wasted finding a place to park and walking from there to the site, and then back.
- KEEPING YOUR BELONGINGS SAFE. The driver stays in the vehicle during the whole tour time. Therefore, you can safely leave your luggage and other belongings in the car.
WHAT VEHICLE DO YOU USE?
If you are booking a chauffeured tour we usually use Mercedes Viano minivans with room upto 6 of you, plus the guide and the driver.
Occasionally and depending on availability, for solo travelers and couples we might use a Mercedes E class car.
In rare occasions where we might accept groups larger than 6 people, luxury minibuses are provided (brand depending on availability).
WHAT IF WE’VE GOT LUGGAGE?
The driver companies charge for luggage handling. If you are starting or finishing your tour at the airport, the cruise pier or train station and you have luggage, a supplement will be applied.
Your luggage will be safely stored in the trunk of the car, and the driver will stay there at all times.
(Note that our Airport Tour already includes this supplement).
IS FOOD INCLUDED?Lunch (for city tours and day trips) and tapas (on food tours) are NOT included. Client is kindly asked to pay for the guide’s food as well as theirs.
- City tours. In 6h-tours, the client can chose if they want to stop for lunch at some point, or if they’d rather keep touring for the whole time. In 7 to 8h-tours, a stop for lunch will be scheduled around the middle of the day, lunch time still counting as touring time (not as a break).
- Daytrips out of town. There is no lunch stop for 6 hour halfday excursions, unless it has been agreed with the client before hand. Lunch will be scheduled for fulldaytrips (8 hours or more).
WHY ARE FOOD & DRINKS NOT INCLUDED IN FOOD TOURS EITHER?Our goal is to custom the perfect tour for you, not to take you on a template itinerary that is the same for everyone, but might not be a match for you. While some people are adventurous eaters, some other would rather stay in their safe comfort area; some love expensive wines, while other prefer beer… An Epicurean Tour should be a treat for you, so it doesn’t make sense that we make you eat a set tapas menu for a certain amount per person or we include set tastings on a food shopping tour. It’s way more fun if you can chose every time what you want to eat, drink and buy.
FOOD ALLERGIES AND SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDSSince food is not included in our tours, that allows us to cater for special needs but that might not always be easy: please notify us in advance if you or anyone in your party has special dietary needs, so we can plan in advance. The following is a list of posts in our blog that might interest you:
WHERE DO WE EAT?Usually tapas restaurants are the best choice for lunch, as they are time efficient and you get to try a variety of different local foods. We know the best places close to the areas that you will be visiting, and if you like the idea, that’s where we will take you. However, the customer has the right to choose the time and place, so if you prefer to do something different, just as your tourguide! Just take into account that even a quick sandwich stop will never be less than 30 minutes (the time that it takes to be served, use the toilet and eat), and a paella lunch can take well over one hour.
WHY DO YOU CHARGE FOR THE TIME YOU ARE EATING WITH US?TIME: Even if the guide is eating, it’s a time we’ll be there with you. Guides can’t use this time for their own personal use nor give another tour in the meantime, so it has to have a price. WORK: Eating is certainly a pleasant part of my job, but it doesn’t mean breaktime for us! We’ll keep busy translating for you, recommending specialties and of course answering as many questions as you want about our local culture, traditions, habits, history or whatever else interests you. We are there so… make us work as much as you wish!
WHAT ABOUT A LUNCH INVITATION AFTER THE TOUR?If after a tour you had so much fun that you invite your guide to join you for lunch… that’s very sweet of you! We’ll probably love to join you (and of course we won’t be charging for that “extra-time” with you), but that’ll depend on our schedule as if we’ve got another appointment later on we might not be able to accept your invitation.
WHEN TO OFFER THE INVITATION?
Occasionally, there is people who want to invite us for lunch as they are booking (sometimes weeks or months before we actually meet for the tour).
We really appreciate that and it makes us very happy that you are so sure you’ll love your time with us that you want to treat us ahead of time, but please understand that we cannot commit to a lunch invitation beforehand because then we wouldn’t be available for an eventual afternoon tour with someone else… So please remind your guide of your invitation after the tour is over. We’ll be glad to accept if we don’t have other appointments later!
Tips and gratuities are not included. In Spain they are not expected, but they are appreciated. Any currency is accepted, by Euro are preferred because it’s money our guides can use right away (they’ll rarely go to the bank to exchange a small amount, instead they’ll keep it until their next trip overseas – and they might not be traveling soon somewhere where they can use dollars). Learn more about tipping in Spain (for guides, drivers, restaurants and more) in this blog post.
HOW TO BOOK A TOURYou can book your tour directly from our Booking Engine here. You’ll be able to select from a large variety of itineraries and options and pay with your credit card. You’ll receive an automatic email confirming your booking and all your tour details. Alternatively, you can contact us using our contact form, and we’ll get back to you with suggested ideas for your custom tour, shore excursion or daytrip. When the details have been agreed, we’ll give you a link to send us your payment to secure your tour/s and finalize the reservation.
On deposits, cancellations, currencies and payment methods.
HOW MUCH DO I NEED TO PAY TO SECURE YOUR SERVICES?
Full payment is required in order to secure our services (except payments over €1000, for which the client can request to enter a payment plan.
I only wish to pay a deposit. Can I still book a tour?
Only if your total booking is over €1000 and you enter a payment plan.
Last minute reservations
You will still be asked to send us your full payment in order to complete your booking (no cash payment on the day of the tour). And because we need a certain amount of time to organize your itinerary, you’ll be given a deadline to send us your payment. Should we miss your deadline, we’ll likely not be able to provide the tour. In such case we’ll send you a refund of your payment minus the refund fees that apply.
WHAT PAYMENT METHODS DO YOU ACCEPT?
Our booking engine accepts only credit cards (Visa, Mastercard and Amex), processed via a secure online payment platform.
If you are booking by email, we’ll provide a secure link from our website so you can make your payment online using your credit card (Visa or Mastercard). If you prefer to pay via PayPal, we’ll be glad to send you a Paypal Money Request instead (however that will have an extra cost to cover any Paypal commission).
You can also send us a bank transfer, but please take into account that international bank transfers take several days to arrive, this is why I only accept payments sent by bank transfer until 2 weeks before the tour takes place. Please make sure to send us a copy of the transfer receipt/prove ASAP, so we know it’s been sent and can keep an eye on my account and secure a guide for you.
Please note sometimes banks charge commissions for bank transfers: if we happened to receive less money than agreed, the difference will have to be paid cash on the day of the tour.
WHY DO YOU ASK FOR SHIPPING INFORMATION?
All our accounting is totally legal. VAT is included, and therefore we produce an invoice for each service we give. In Spain invoices must include the client name, full address and tax number (if there is one). That’s why we configured our system to ask for it. We will not be sharing it with anyone else, and it’ll be for our accounting records only.
WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION POLICY?
You can check it out here.
More about Payment in our Terms & Conditions.
Information About Our Rates
On quality service, taxes and other factors.
FIRST CLASS SERVICE AT A FAIR COST
We are not interested in comparing with other companies nor in competing in price but in quality.
We go above and beyond to deliver an excellent service to our customers, and we invest a lot of time, resources and money to achieve it. That, of course, reflects in our fees. We do not offer discounts or lower our fees, because we don’t wish to offer you less than you deserve: an excellent tour of Barcelona.
We specialize in private tours
Our guides are the best… and we pay them what they deserve!
In Spain, only official tourguides are entitled to take visitors inside the sites and explain. And in our tours, we want you to be able to enter any site you wish to visit and get professional explanations there – not just see it from outside against your will. As a plus, official tourguides can skip lines to enter sites, so no time is wasted waiting to go in.
A cheaper non-licensed tourguide will only be able to explain sites from outside (some dare entering sites where they shouldn’t be giving explanations knowing that’s illegal to do it, but they get expelled from the site when they are caught, and that can definitely ruin a tour). A non-licensed guide can’t skip lines… because they are not supposed to take you inside the sites!
We also believe that well paid guides mean happy guides, happy guides are motivated guides, and motivated guides give the best tours. This is why we are more than happy to pay them way better than what’s standard in the local market. And knowing at the end of the tour you’ll have developed something close to a friendship with your guide, you’ll also be happy to know that we are not cheap with your guide and that are getting well paid. Around 60% of our fees (in a walking tour) goes to your guide.
We use dedicated drivers in our chauffeured tours
In our tours, drivers drive and guides talk: you don’t get one person doing both jobs at the same time. And here is why:
In Spain, a driver must have a special professional license and a SP plate (standing for Public Service), and most official tour guides don’t have that. Often English-speaking drivers will offer city tours, but then they won’t be able to take you inside any site and even less help you skipping lines: that’s the guide’s job.
We only use professional drivers with all the required licenses and plates. Plus the drivers company we use only works with Mercedes cars and minivans that they renovate often, all of them air-conditioned, with leather seats and all kind of comfort and luxury details. If you are willing to pay for a private driver, we believe you don’t deserve anything less than the very best.
Learn more about the other downsides of having a driver giving explanations (such us safety, time-efficiency…)
All our fees include 21% VAT
Taxes in Spain are high, and tour fees must include by law a 21% VAT. While working under the table and not paying taxes can evidently help to keep rates low, we chose to work legally because we believe taxes contribute to the welfare and progress of the local community.
Business costs and profit
Marta, the owner of the company, started the business on her own: she gave the tours, she designed the website, she took care of the accounting, she wouldn’t go to sleep until after midnight answering emails… But when your business grows you can’t keep up with all this without starting to make mistakes sooner or later, and then the level of quality is affected.
This is how the team started growing (you can learn more about the ForeverBarcelona staff here), and having a team means… paying salaries, of course! And improving our systems often requires more complex tools that aren’t free anymore. Cutting on company costs would result in a slower response and a mediocre service. We do consider carefully any new expense we add to our costs, but when we hire new staff or register for a new service, we do it because we know it’ll just take ForeverBarcelona closer to perfection.
In the other hand, we are also a business and therefore are here to make some profit out of the services we provide. We are inspired by the book Profit First by Mike Michalowicz to keep a sustainable balance between our company expenses and our profit. As we’ve already mentioned, roughly 60% of a walking tour fee goes to the guide, 21% is taxes, and the other 19% is divided between other company expenses and profit.