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Invitation to tender: Implementation of the Open Booking API

Fri Apr 9, 2021
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Sport England and the Open Data Institute are looking for organisations to implement the Open Booking API specification on their sport or physical activity booking systems to help us understand and demonstrate its impact

— This opportunity is now closed—

This opportunity is for anyone that provides booking or class management software in the sport or physical activity sector


Tender reference: OAP25

Call for tenders by the Open Data Institute (ODI)
Contact: procurement@theodi.org

The Open Booking API is a technical standard that defines a common API interface for managing transactions between a booking system and front-end brokers. The fact that the standard is open, rather than proprietary, means that any booking system implementing the API can work with any broker implementing the API, and vice versa. This means the standard has the potential to widen the booking marketplace in a way that benefits everyone in the ecosystem – from the organisations providing the booked activities through to booking systems and brokers and, finally, the end-user.

The Open Booking API is relatively mature, and has passed a previous round of technical road-testing. However, there are some questions that still need to be answered to help the ecosystem as a whole mature.

  • How feasible and effective is the use of a centrally-provided test suite in ensuring adherence to specifications?
  • What is the value of implementing the API to booking systems, both in terms of immediate revenue and more broadly?
  • What is the relationship between the cost of implementation and the value of the bookings this makes possible, in the short- and long-term?
  • In what areas of implementation is further support most crucial?

In order to answer these questions, Sport England and the ODI will be funding 3–6 organisations to implement the Open Booking API on their booking systems and report on the costs, benefits, and technical barriers encountered during this implementation. Further details regarding this reporting can be found in the ‘Deliverables’ section below.

Summary and timeline

AimSport England (SE) and the Open Data Institute (ODI) are looking for organisations to implement the Open Booking API specification on their booking systems, in order to refine their understanding of the economic impact of implementation and the technical infrastructure that supports this.
AudienceThe invitation to tender is open to booking systems operating in the physical activity sector who are based in England and can deliver any of the above challenges in the assigned time frame.
DurationApproximately 30 days of work before 21 June 2021
Value of award (excl. VAT)Up to £20,000
Questions to ODI by17:00 GMT, 16/04/2021
ODI responses by17:00 GMT, 20/04/2021
Costed proposals due by17:00 GMT, 26/04/2021
Tender decision by17:00 GMT, 28/04/2021
Contract awarded17:00 GMT, 29/04/2021
ODI brief winning applicant(s)Individual slots from 28/04/2021
ODI progress reviewsFortnightly (virtually)
Final work delivered by9:00 GMT, 21/06/2021
Tender reference:OAP25

Terms of payment

Payment of the agreed contract price will be made at two milestones:

  • 50% at the halfway point
  • 50% upon successful completion of the work, including satisfactory responses to all feedback from the ODI


The deliverables will be:

  • An implementation of the Open Booking API that passes the provided test suite, and a Conformance Certificate indicating that it has done so
  • An openly licensed (CC BY 4.0) open data feed of bookable opportunities that can be accessed without an API key and that is linked to from a dataset site
  • A short report, outlining:
    • The number of bookable opportunities published using OpenActive standards
    • The total cost of implementation, itemised by role and day rate

We expect project teams to:

  • Attend an initial introductory meeting and technical walkthrough of OpenActive standards
  • Report fortnightly on progress
  • Participate in a retrospective meeting after completion, investigating any technical obstacles encountered
  • Provide a client ID to Open Booking Brokers
  • Deliver all work no later than 9:00 GMT, 21/06/2021

The ODI will provide:

  • A booking-system reference implementation of the Open Booking API
  • A test suite against which implementers can test their code
  • A technical introduction to OpenActive standards, followed by ongoing high-level technical support


The successful organisations will work in close collaboration with the ODI team to ensure the deliverables meet the needs of the project.

Form of tender response

We encourage you to use this tender response template.

In addition to supplying the information requested in the template, applicants should also include:

  • A detailed work plan, outlining key milestones on a week-by-week or sprint-by-sprint basis and providing a full rationale for the projected cost
  • CVs for all team members responsible for completing deliverables

If you have any questions about the tender, please contact procurement@theodi.org quoting the tender reference. The ODI reserves the right to make both anonymised questions and answers public or shared with other organisations having stated their interest.

Decision criteria

All proposals will be assessed as described in our public procurement policy. In addition, the following criteria will be applied:

  • The application should be supported by a named senior level champion in the organisation
  • We will be attempting to fund a wide range of organisations, of differing types, sizes, and business models
  • As much evidence as possible indicating the ability to complete the work in the short timescales required should be supplied