About a week ago, WordPress.com released a theme specifically geared towards Lodging http://theme.wordpress.com/themes/stay/. Since then I have received over a dozen emails from innkeepers asking what I thought about it for use for a B&B website, so thought I may as well share what I had shared with the innkeepers who have asked.
In one word? “Meh” i.e. I was not very impressed. It’s functional, but barely.
A. it’s on the free version of WordPress, which means support is going to be pretty much non-existent. So if you have a problem with anything, have fun waiting several weeks for a developer to get back to you, who may or may not have an answer or fix to your problem.
B. You can pay to play on it, meaning you can have support etc, and additional features, but by the time you finish paying for it, you may have well as gone with a .org installed template.
C. It’s very, very basic. Even dressed up with some nice pictures, it’s basic, as they even say in the description “minimal layout”. A good lodging site needs eye candy, even good pictures I think would have a hard time dressing this one up enough.
D. My biggest concern about the theme, is integrating a reservation system into it. While they have a widget for “making a reservation request” it’s just a submit form. In playing around with the template, it won’t accept most reservations systems HTML in the widget areas, which is a huge problem if you are using Resnexus or Webervations for example. It strips the code out on publication, see http://en.support.wordpress.com/code/ if you are not familiar with the issue. This makes having an external reservation system completely useless for use with it. If you are a call/email only B&B, this may work fine for you.
While I strongly recommend, if you are going to go with a WordPress themed or designed website, going with a company that specializes in lodging and WordPress like Acorn Internet, I realize many B&Bs don’t have the budget, or are tech minded, or are simply of the D.I.Y mindset and want to do it themselves.
With that in mind, here is a list of wordpress.org themes I have been collecting that small lodging may not be aware of, for use geared towards lodging.
Second tier ones: (they may not have as many options or may not be as customizable)