My husband and I used to own and manage a very successful vacation rental in San Diego....and we were always full. I usually thought everyone with a house in that locale was busy, but I recently found out how really important owner response is when I tried to book a rental close to our old neighborhood where our house was. (due to a death in our family, we had to sell after owning the cottage for 56 years....very sad). We tried the first place......close to our old neighborhood. I assured the owner that, since we own and operate a VR, we would be responsible and great guests. Told him we were ready to make a deposit to hold the dates, to sign a contract, etc. I let him know that this was a sure thing for a week's rental. It took him SIX DAYS to reply. And when he did, it was with information that made no sense to me at all...."you can rent a baby crib at this place" "the kids can sleep on the floor", etc. This was a reservation for just my husband and I. I have a full time job and reply to my inquiries within two hours, max. I take a quick break from work with my Blackberry, and if it's only to say "thanks for your inquiry! I would be delighted to tell you more about our place, as your dates are available....in a few hours when I get home from work, I will be happy to call or email you with additional information" or I just call them on my lunch hour or a break. So to allow 6 days to go by without ANY response was a huge red flag to me and we didn't rent from him. The next place was a super looking place, more expensive, and further from our neighborhood, but we sent an email and said we were ready to rent and sign, make a deposit, etc. The husband wrote back "call my wife and she'll take care of details". We called her at the number he gave us, and she said she was shopping and would call us back in 5 minutes. She called us back 7 hrs later and said we had to first send $350. in check or make credit card payment, and THEN we would get a contract. I thought this was weird. How do you know what you are agreeing to, if you haven't SEEN the contract first? And the fact that it took her 7 hrs to return the call made me shy away from this one, too. Our third choice was the winner....they replied like they actually CARED if we chose their place, they emailed a contract in a timely fashion, we paid the deposit, it was a done deal. NOW I know why our properties are rented regularly......we take it seriously and don't give the impression that we don't care when or if they rent from us. It was good to be on the other side of the fence to see some of the impressions being lax give a potential renter. I learned a lot and had some impressions solidified in regards to polite replies, timely responses and a sense of professionalism when contacting potential guests.