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Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours

Soaring High After an Integrated Search Campaign

Noble Studios’ data-driven and integrated search strategy helped a helicopter tour company soar to sky-high ROAS, boost revenue, and expand into new international markets.

Soaring High After an Integrated Search Campaign

Industry Headwinds Made for a Bumpy Ride

Sometimes conditions come together in such a way that it makes it a serious challenge to get ahead. Such was the case for Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours, an award-winning helicopter tour operator and favorite among locals and visitors alike. After several years of pandemic restrictions and supply chain woes, Papillon found it difficult to meet the demand of its customers. To push Papillon to the next level, Noble would need to help boost longer-term bookings in a market where customers tend to book short-term.

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Key Opportunities

  1. Help meet demand in a time of ongoing supply chain and labor shortages
  2. Help lift a company out of post-pandemic woes
  3. Reach new audiences, regardless of what they were searching for


  • 114 %
    Increase in paid search revenue
  • 65 %
    Increase in ROAS ($11.69)
  • 46 %
    Increase in organic sessions from France
grand canyon

Taking the Long View

Papillon was buffeted by years of supply chain shortages — parts were often on backorder for months. This also made it difficult for the company to purchase new helicopters and hire new pilots. This capacity issue was particularly important because it increased the need for longer booking windows. Short-term tours are often booked out, so it was crucial to get visitors to plan their flights further in advance.

Before tackling much-needed SEO and SEM efforts, the first solution was to improve the client’s analytics dashboards. Noble began by migrating Papillon from Google’s Universal Analytics to GA4 as the former was sunsetted. Working together with the client, Noble set up new tracking within GA4 to gain NEW valuable insights into customer behaviors on the site that Noble previously didn’t have visibility into.

The Noble team then added a net new dashboard that is user-friendly and able to deliver detailed insights on purchases by booking window, revenue by tour, as well as search console insights, geographic traffic insights and a funnel visualization, among others.

U.S. and International SEM Efforts

Many of Papillon’s Google Ads were performing well, exceeding the ROAS goal of $8. Still, Noble began testing a new strategy, targeting a broader range of users that may not be thinking about helicopter tours yet or even know it was an option. Essentially, we sought to insert inspiration for future travelers to act upon.

Noble began by targeting new keywords outside of the realm of helicopters and started adding things to do into the mix. This was particularly critical in areas that we knew Papillon was struggling to secure bookings, such as the South Rim of the Grand Canyon as well as tours that departed from areas outside Vegas.

Our paid marketing team then took a new look at targeting, analyzing traffic and seeing where most of the users are located. From that, the team began targeting specific locations on the East Coast such as New York and various cities in Florida. As a result, Noble launched two U.S. campaigns — one that targets the entire country while excluding certain locations and another that only targets specific locations. Noble balances the two making sure that what is targeted in the specific campaign is excluded from the main U.S. campaign. By doing this, Noble saw an incredible improvement to both campaigns. Even with a reduced budget, the client was able to see an increase in revenue YoY.

Then, Noble turned its attention to global audiences. With the goal of longer booking windows, money was pulled from U.S. campaigns and added to international campaigns. So far, this has seen success, increasing ROAS and revenue to all campaigns. Case in point: Noble began targeting France, the country with the highest organic traffic. The campaign started slow with only $3 ROAS, after a few optimizations the campaign now has about a $13 ROAS.

Boosting Organic Traffic

In a recent SEO retainer with Papillon, the goal was to increase traffic and ownership of high-ranking keywords. Though Noble was initially able to increase keyword ranking year over year, the traffic hadn’t yet translated into bottom line revenue and bookings. Noble set a new course with the goal of maximizing potential of high-ranking pages and improving user experience to remove friction in the booking process. The current effort is to improve internal linking and place more tours in front of users, regardless of what content they’re looking at.

By shifting the focus from solely increasing traffic to maximizing the potential of high-ranking pages and improving UX as much as possible, we’re able to help compensate for the decrease in organic brand traffic.

Results + Looking Ahead

With this success, Noble is helping Papillon expand into more international markets.

As Noble’s Performance Marketing team puts it, the best part about the relationship with Papillon is trust. With many years of having a good partnership, the Papillon team trusts Noble and over the course of this year it seems like that trust has continued to grow. This has allowed Noble to take some risks and experiment with new ideas. Without the trust that has grown over these past few years, Papillon may not have allowed Noble to experiment and take risks. Without taking those risks, Papillon may not have seen the growth that it has.

In all, revenue has increased across the board, while the impact of paid search activities on organic performance is through the roof. By targeting international markets and emphasizing tours with longer booking windows through an integrated organic and paid strategy, Noble helped Papillon maximize its capacity and revenue potential in the wake of some very challenging times.

  • 114 %
    Increase in paid search revenue
  • 65 %
    Increase in ROAS ($11.69)
  • 11 %
    Increase in average transaction value
  • 46 %
    Increase in organic sessions from France


  • Search Engine Land Landies Best Integrated SEO/SEM Campaign, 2021
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