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11/25/2020

Why Travel Brands Should Take Advantage of Downtime to Invest in Antimicrobial Tech

Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor (Hotels)
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As we head into the winter, “holiday travel” will be more different than ever before. In fact, a whopping 72% of Americans will not be traveling at all around the winter holidays. Among the few who are, many feel uncomfortable traveling by both public transportation (78%) and plane (77%). From cruise lines and subways to restaurants and hotels, every travel company must make the right, sustainable investments to come out financially sound and ensure passenger protection. Now is the right time to invest in new innovations (while these spaces are rather empty) and to build credibility to gain consumer trust back. To learn what those investments might involve, Hospitality Technology spoke with Colleen Costello, Co-founder, CEO, Vyv – a health tech company that creates antimicrobial LED lighting. Recently Vyv inked partnerships with Delta Air Lines and the MTA in New York to create cleaner travel experiences for consumers.

How exactly does Vyv’s technology work?

At Vyv (formerly known as Vital Vio), we have created proprietary antimicrobial LED light technology that reduces and stops the growth of surface bacteria, fungi, mold, yeast and more. Our technology is used in overhead lighting products for virtually any application that’s looking to create an inhospitable environment for microbes and enhance overall cleanliness. Vyv antimicrobial light technology is also embedded in consumer products, industrial processes and anywhere there are microbial challenges that are contained in small or hard-to-reach spaces, such as behind elevator buttons for a 99.99% reduction in surface contamination.

Vyv is not UV light. Vyv is within the visible light spectrum that stops the reproduction and growth, and creates a deadly environment to microbes. Our patented technology serves as a source of around-the-clock automated cleaning that works in conjunction with traditional, intermittent cleaning methods, such as chemical clean and other methods.

What’s unique about Vyv’s technology is that our LEDs meet international standards for continuous use around humans, animals and plants, unlike hazardous UV lighting. When integrating Vyv antimicrobial LED lights as an added layer of protection, it can be used in its white Antimicrobial+Light Mode when people are present and performing tasks, just as with typical LED lighting. Vyv also provides violet Enhanced Antimicrobial Light Mode for extra dosing when areas are empty and illumination is not required. UV can only be used when no one is around, giving it a smaller window of time to utilize these tools and therefore creating opportunities for bacteria to grow and spread on surfaces in between cleanings.

Why was Delta interested in installing this technology? What do they hope it will accomplish?

Delta Air Lines has taken significant measures to enhance traveler safety and wellness by launching Delta CareStandard - a suite of upgrades and investments to increase cleanliness and protection for staff and customers.

Vyv’s antimicrobial LED technology will serve as an important additional layer of protection in jet lavatories when used in conjunction with standard wiping and spraying. The installation will accomplish the end-goal of improving overall cleanliness and killing bacteria and other microbes to allow customers to feel safe, confident and comfortable when traveling by air. 

Where is Delta putting this tech?

Delta is installing Vyv’s LED lighting in aircraft lavatories, above sinks and countertops, which are high-touch areas on board. Delta will roll out this technology in its fleet of 757 aircraft. In 2021, Delta and Vyv will further evaluate opportunities for Vyv technology and determine what its expansion plans will be for other aircraft in its fleet.

Is Delta advertising the use of this tech to the public to improve guest morale?

The lavatories that are outfitted with Vyv lighting will also have placards describing the technology above its sinks to raise customer awareness of the lights’ antimicrobial properties. The placard also includes a web link that customers can visit and learn more about Delta’s protection layers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What can hotels learn from Delta's example?

The travel industry is challenged with protecting a diverse population of people coming in and out of different places. When people travel, they are coming into contact with other people in high-traffic areas and high-touch surfaces. Hotels are also often the last stop from a journey of traveling - meaning people are bringing germs from the train, bus or plane and staying in hotel spaces for long periods of time. This is why hospitality companies are prioritizing combating germs and protecting customers. Vyv antimicrobial lights are ideal for elevators, lobbies and gathering places, kitchen and eating areas, bathrooms and guest rooms. When making necessary investments in new, innovative technology, these companies are looking for useful and effective tools that work continuously in the background without disrupting customers’ stay. Not only will this enhance overall cleanliness, but it also serves as an efficient way to protect customers and staff. And this is an excellent way for hospitality companies to differentiate themselves, while helping to ensure their customers are comfortable traveling once again.