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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.

By Ashlea Halpern

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

Illustration by Robin Davey

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.

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

I've been traveling full-time with my boyfriend for two years, staying in more than 70 Airbnbs around the globe. Each offers insight into why some hosts stand out while others fail. Based on my collective experience, here are seven ways to thrive.

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