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The Power of a Contract: How HotelTonight’s Legal Team Leverages Contract Data to Deliver Transformative Business Value

With over 15,000,000 users across 35 countries and 2,000 cities, HotelTonight is one of the world’s most popular hotel booking apps. Travelers use the app to book rooms at brand-name hotels, and hotels use it to sell distressed inventory.

With HotelTonight, hotels gain access to world-class targeting tools and a new, untapped distribution channel, without giving up control of their inventory. It’s no surprise, then, that over 25,000 hotels have signed up to partner with HotelTonight, with more signing up every day.

For hotels, the first step towards partnering with HotelTonight is completing a contract called a Hotel Supply Agreement (“HSA”). These contracts are HotelTonight’s most important business agreement because they enable hotels to be onboarded to HotelTonight’s app. They’re also rich with business-critical information: metadata around governing law, tax rate, margins, and more.

Two challenges prevented HotelTonight’s Legal Team from realizing the full value of their Hotel Supply Agreements. 

The Process Challenge: Participating Proactively, Instead of Reacting to Sales

The first challenge was how to enable Legal to participate proactively in the HSA process. Generally, non-negotiated HSAs were managed by HotelTonight’s Supply Team (their Sales team) in Salesforce and DocuSign. While efficient, this hyper-streamlined process often bypassed Legal review, making it difficult for Legal to monitor risks and enforce certain procedures. For example, Legal had a hard time ensuring that all HSAs were being properly stored in Egnyte, HotelTonight’s document storage provider.

Furthermore, when counterparties did need to negotiate terms, Legal had to be looped in mid-stream, when urgency was often higher. Legal would then need to rapidly ramp up on a deal on which they lacked prior visibility and context, before starting negotiations over email.

The result was that Legal couldn’t proactively manage their involvement in their company’s most important agreement. Instead, they mostly reacted to their Sales team’s demands.

The Information Challenge: Cataloguing Contract Metadata

The second challenge was that even when the Legal Team was properly plugged into the deal cycle, they had no way to catalogue and collect all the valuable information inside the HSAs — things like governing law, tax rate, and margins. The result was that HotelTonight’s Legal Team was missing out on a valuable opportunity to collect important information about its business. 

HotelTonight’s Legal Team needed a way to proactively manage their most important agreement — both its process and the information inside them.

The Solution: How HotelTonight’s Legal Team Combined A Workflow Solution With Metadata Capture To Drive Business Value

Karen Klein, GC and Chief Admin Officer, and Elise Coffey, Legal Team Paralegal

Left to Right: Karen Klein, GC and Chief Admin Officer, and Elise Coffey, Legal Team Paralegal

We worked with Karen Klein (GC and Chief Administrative Officer) and Elise Coffey (Legal Team Paralegal) to implement a workflow solution that could simultaneously solve both the Process Challenge and the Information Challenge. Ironclad’s workflow solution integrates with Salesforce, DocuSign, and Egnyte, meaning business users don’t have to change how they work on HSAs and completed HSAs can be automatically stored and named in HotelTonight’s existing storage system, Egnyte. With Ironclad, Legal can proactively manage both the HSA process and the information inside these important contracts.

With Ironclad, Karen and Elise can ensure that business-critical metadata is automatically captured and fed to HTx, HotelTonight’s internal system for tracking properties and updating their app. This means that teams across HotelTonight can use contract data to drive their business decisions.

For business teams, for example, key property information can be used to plan finances and strategize sales. For the Legal Team, simply being able to catalogue governing law allows them to figure out which state laws they need to spend resources researching. Having metadata catalogued and Property Schedules stored gives Legal the confidence to know which contract governs what property. At a fundamental level, having this information under Legal’s purview enables Legal to more actively contribute to their business — delivering insights to business teams who need them and also to help them plan their own work.

"Ironclad was able to create an easy-to-use workflow that solved a complex set of issues we were facing, while maintaining a seamless process for our hotels. I don’t think any other service provider would have bent over backwards to help us the way that Ironclad has!" — Elise Coffey, Legal Team Paralegal at HotelTonight

The old workflow

  1. Starting in Salesforce, the business user clicks a button to start a Hotel Supply Agreement.
  2. The button takes them to DocuSign to select a template.
  3. Business user populates signers and sends out an e-signature request through DocuSign.
  4. The counterparty (Hotel Supplier) populates a Property Information Schedule (part of the Hotel Supply Agreement) and, if no changes are requested by the Supplier, the Agreement is signed and sent back via DocuSign. No structured information is collected.
  5. If the Supplier proposes changes, the business user needs to loop in Legal mid-stream.
  6. Legal catches up on the deal.
  7. Legal negotiates with the counterparty over email.
  8. Business user manually updates agreement completion status in Salesforce and a copy of the final agreement is saved in Salesforce. However, copies of completed agreements are not saved to Egnyte.
  9. A copy of the final agreement is automatically saved to the Supplier’s Salesforce record. Copies of completed agreements are not saved to Egnyte.
  10. Information needed to update HotelTonight’s internal system, HTx, is manually entered.

The new workflow

  1. Business users click a button in Salesforce to start a Hotel Supply Agreement.
  2. The button takes them to Ironclad, where they can choose a template pre-populated with information pulled from Salesforce.
  3. Ironclad emails a Property Information Schedule form to the counterparty (Hotel Supplier) for the Supplier to complete; Ironclad stores all key property information and metadata in Ironclad Records.
  4. Ironclad generates a Hotel Supply Agreement and Property Information Schedule and sends it to the Supplier for signature via DocuSign.
  5. Ironclad triggers Legal review if the Supplier has proposed changes to the agreement or if certain other thresholds are met; in these cases, Legal can review the Sales team’s comments and contract history in Ironclad and conduct follow-up negotiations over email.
  6. Once the Agreement is completed, three things happen automatically: (1) The signed document is automatically stored in Egynte; (2) Salesforce is updated with the signed document and completion status; (3) Key property information about the Hotel Supplier is passed back to HTx.

Customer SpotlightsCommunityLegal TeamsContract ManagementWorkflow Automation