Wordpress is nipping at your vertical: Restaurants, weddings, and now hotelsNewsBy Nick Vivion | April 23, 2013Share This article was originally published on Automattic, the company behind the open-source blogging platform Wordpress used by millions, is steadily pushing into the domain of custom theme publishers with vertical-specific paid theme products.It started with weddings and restaurants last year. This week, the company forged into the independent hotel, bed and breakfast and room rentals.Independent hotel operators can head straight to the Wordpress source and use the theme to build a simple, elegant, and attractive website that showcases the property and provides reservations capabilities.The basic theme is available for free, with upgrades available to boost the core functionality.While the company is intimately connected with the open-source Wordpress platform, Automattic is also a for-profit entity. So it's not at all surprising that they would work to focus attention on the extensive content management capabilities of the platform.Beyond simply a blogging platform, Wordpress is being used to run even some of the most complex websites. Small businesses might be unaware or intimidated by the thousands of themes to choose from, and so this direct entry into the Wordpress ecosystem will most certainly appeal to many.The many entrepreneurs that have popped up to support these verticals on Wordpress, such as Restaurant Engine and Hermes Themes, and some that have created their own full-featured custom systems like buuteeq, are most certainly watching with interest.While these movements are clearly a move to bring more businesses into the Automattic ecosystem - including the myriad add-on products like JetPac and VaultPress, they do threaten the entry-level customer that might have a larger lifetime value as they grow into their online publishing needs.The limitations for small businesses might still be too great - especially if they are unable to figure out how to customize the theme. Hotels are offered one theme, Stay, while restaurants have two (Confit and Bon Vivant). If the customer does not like the look, they will then have to pay for the add-on. If they want to use their own custom domain, they have to pay for the add-on to customize - and someone to customize it. If they want to publish their own HD videos, they have to pay for the add-on. If they want more storage for hi-res images and videos, they have to pay.These costs can most certainly add-up, especially as they are at a yearly renewal. Obviously hosting and domain name registration is always going to be a cost for any site regardless of location; the rest of the fees should be carefully considered to ensure that this the best product at this price for ease of use.Sometimes using another service focused on the vertical - ie. a company that specifically makes hotel sites for Wordpress - will offer deeper integrations, better service, and more robust development times in sync with actual industry challenges. It can be a concern when a generalist company like Wordpress comes in and offers a skin of their product for a vertical they may not completely understand.All that being said, this is a simple, quick and affordable entry into a well-designed, useful and user-friendly website designed by the folks that started Wordpress. Businesses from stereotypically-tech unsavvy verticals across hospitality now have no excuse not to get up on the times and deliver customers the experience they have come to expect.Automattic sent their CEO Toni Schneider to TechCrunch to chat about their new restaurant vertical late last year.