Lucky Owl's Story
The story of Lucky Owl Car Rental is one of dedication and perseverance of helping to provide an affordable option to those who need to rent a vehicle in Honolulu. The founder and owner of Lucky Owl, Sava (“Max”), always saw a need for a budget friendly choice for the visitors and residents of Oahu. Throughout the years Sava had been through good times and bad times, however he never let his goal of being Oahu’s premier provider of budget friendly car rental services. Here is the story of Lucky Owl:
Lucky Owl was founded in 2012. Sava was always a young entrepreneur who knew he wanted to create a successful business from nothing. He and his friend acquired their first seven cars and decided to begin renting out vehicles to clients. Working out of a parking lot near the airport to service clients, and a home office to handle the phone calls & contracts, the rental fleet began with just a small handful of cars with dreams to expand. Being a company of just two people they worked tirelessly as the reservationist, the customer service representative, the mechanic as well as the car washer. Over the next few months their hard work was paying off and they were procuring more vehicles monthly.
By early 2013 Lucky Owl had a small fleet of 20 vehicles which were being rented out daily. Despite having a fleet size that was a fraction of the national rental agencies they created a name for themselves by providing unparalleled customer service and support. Later that year they built their first customer service booth which they worked out of to minimize travel time from their home offices to where the customers were being serviced. This also meant that they had the ability to hire their first new employee to help with customer service. They helped hundreds of clients out of that booth and grew their rental fleet to over 35 cars in the next few months.
Skip forward to 2015 and Sava now had a company of five staff who helped clean the cars and provide customer support for the 75 cars being rented daily. As his business grew Sava knew he needed to change his customer service location. Being a small island with land at a premium he was able to work with a local landlord to secure his first lease by the Honolulu Airport. This is when Lucky Owl moved to their current home at 852 Mapunapuna St. Having a customer service area, mechanics bay and car washing station was a boon to operations. By the end of 2016 they continued their steady growth of acquiring vehicles and renting them out.
At the beginning of 2017 they had a fleet which resembles their current inventory. Economy “beach cruisers”, Compact “newer cars”, Mid-sized cars, Minivans, SUV’s, Large vans and Jeeps were all being rented out and they were servicing hundreds of clients monthly. Making a name for themselves, Lucky Owl grew in popularity to the college students, budget vacation travelers, travel nurses needing long term rentals and the only rental car carrier that would rent to people with a debit card.
2018 was a year that Lucky Owl started to expand and grow internally. Having a fleet of 150 cars was good, however they wanted to expand to other islands. This meant they needed to hire more staff including supervisors and managers to run things. With the new investments in newer vehicles and more staff, 2018 was a record year for Lucky Owl. Their online presence took off like a rocket and they were cemented as Hawaii’s premier budget car rental agency.
2019 saw another large milestone as increasingly more customers were renting from Lucky Owl. They began to partner with the University of Hawaii at Manoa and word of mouth on many online blogs & travel sites pointed customers to their piece of paradise. By November 2019 Lucky Owl was advertising on several TV stations, several Radio stations and was being mentioned on many social media platforms as the best car rental location in Hawaii.
2020 was going to be the year of growth and expansion after 8 years of hard work. With their eyes on locations in Waikiki, Maui, Kauai and the Big Island Lucky Owl was on the precipice of expanding to multiple locations. After partnering with local comedic legend Auggie T, Lucky Owl had its gears in motion to build its next location. However, things would forever change for Lucky Owl, and the world. In March of 2020 the Coronavirus decimated Hawaii’s tourism industry and changed the world. The Hawaiian government mandated travel restrictions, tourists were forced to stay away from Hawaii, and Lucky Owl saw its reservations fall to nearly zero. Shaken but full of resolve, Sava decided it was time to temporarily cut back on staff, cut all expenses and wait out the COVID-19 virus. Back to just one employee and no reservations for weeks, Lucky Owl used this time to upgrade their internal systems, de-fleet some of the older vehicles and focus their services to the residents of Hawaii during this turbulent time.
Tough Times Don't Last, Tough People Do
After several weeks of no new customers and looking forward to a forever changed landscape of travel to Hawaii, Lucky Owl saw a glimmer of hope. While hundreds of local Hawaii based businesses were closing down permanently, Hawaii saw a paradigm shift from patronizing mainland businesses to buying local. The “Buy Local” slogan helped Lucky Owl become the go to place for car rentals on Oahu. With the people of Hawaii renting from Lucky Owl and no tourists coming into the state, Lucky Owl was able to remain in business. With the added influx of sales Lucky Owl was able to weather the Coronavirus storm and leave it more efficient with better systems and nicer cars. While Hawaii and the world faced its worst economic times in history and hundreds of Hawaii based businesses closed for good, Lucky Owl was able to save itself and get through the hard times.
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Go Local, Get Lucky
Looking at the later end of 2020 and beyond, Sava & Lucky Owl are optimistic that it will still be able to expand to other locations soon. The trials and tribulations of 2020 have altered the business for many positive reasons and made Lucky Owl more resilient to unforeseen obstacles. With the launching of a new website, upgrading fleets and retraining staff, Lucky Owl is again looking at more locations to expand to in the future. While continuing to provide the residents of Hawaii, visitors to our island and military members with the best service around.