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What 70 Airbnb Stays Can Teach Anyone About Running Any Business

Anticipate needs, don't lose your cool, and manage expectations, just to start.

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This story appears in the December 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

When a four-foot snake slithered through our window, we screamed and hopped around, then chased it out with a broomstick. Next we emailed our host. We were at an Airbnb in Koh Lanta, Thailand. It took 24 hours to hear back. Locals, she wrote, believe "a snake in the home is good luck." Wrong answer! And wrong attitude. Let's get one thing straight: For all of Airbnb's live-like-a-local propaganda, it's about paying money to sleep in a stranger's bed. An Airbnb listing is a small business: Guests are clients, hosts are vendors. This simplicity makes Airbnb an instructive space to discover what makes a good business.

Illustration by Robin Davey

Related: How This Company Combines Qualities From Craigslist and Airbnb to Solve Staffing Issues

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