Owners It seems as if more people are taking vacations at the drop of a hat than at any time before. The last minute vacation rental market has always been there, but this year it's been the most active I have known it. We had several cottages vacant for this upcoming week last Wednesday, and by yesterday they were all reserved. Unfortunately for one or two, the owners weren't quite ready to accept last minute guests and had to decline an unexpected high season booking. This really proves my point that in a competitive and changing market, it is important to be prepared at all times.I live 10 minutes from my rental cottage so it's easy to run down there and make any final preparations if we get a call or email from someone who has decided to take a vacation at the last minute. However, it's a little more of a challenge if you have a 2-hour drive and are in the middle of a family barbecue when the call comes to see if you have availability.I know it is all too easy to do a changeover when there are no guests coming in, and leaving the odd thing like replacing the propane, mending the broken paddle, or mowing the lawn, because it doesn't seem urgent at the time. Why not just leave it until the next trip up when the next scheduled guests are due. But that means you have no leeway in accepting a last minute booking unless you make another journey.When I was calling around owners on Friday to see if they were willing to accept a week-long booking starting on Saturday afternoon, it was great to find one or two whose place was ‘ready to go'. When it's case of another week's rental in your pocket because you made the extra effort, isn't that really worth it?