Celebrate a Legacy Honoree Irwin S. “Bick” Bickson
It seemed that everyone in the Hawaiʻi travel industry knew Bick Bickson, the co-founder and longtime general manager of Budget Rent-A-Car in Hawaiʻi – and he certainly knew the Hawaiʻi travel industry. Behind his broad smile was a canny understanding of the changing needs of Hawaiʻi’s visitors. He rode the wave of that change, creating a rental car business that grew from fifteen vehicles when he started in 1961, to a fleet of over 10,000 vehicles in the Budget Rent-A-Car empire. By catering to the increasingly independent visitor – offering reasonable rates and quality service – Bick made car rentals a common feature in a Hawaiʻi vacation.
Bick was a natural promoter who introduced new marketing concepts to the industry, teaming up with other Hawaiʻi pioneers including Hung Wo Ching of Aloha Airlines to create “fly drive” deals and other promotions that are still models for the industry. He believed in the power of promotion, and backed his promotions with industry-leading advertising programs. His ability to “read” changes in the marketplace kept Budget as a market leader throughout his career.
Ever involved with the community, Bick was as fixture on Hawaiʻi non-profit boards. Budget Rent-A-Car became a training ground for local managers … and he was a pioneer in hiring and promoting women in his management team. Bick served twice as chairman of the Hawaiʻi Visitors Bureau and contributed his time freely as an advisor to the University of Hawaiʻi School of Travel Industry Management.