Albury motels are yet to reap the rewards of eased COVID-19 restrictions, but hope the NSW-Victoria border opening on Monday will make life easier.
Four family-operated motels north of the border have been scraping through the pandemic, some of which had multiple days without a single room booked.
Moteliers from Hume Country Motor Inn, Windsor Park Motor Inn, Meramie Motor Inn and Albury Townhouse are among a small group who meet once a month to offer each other support in what has been an awful year for accommodation businesses.
Wodonga motels have been booming since the removal of Melbourne's ring of steel and many are booked out Sunday night with guests keen to be as close as possible to the NSW border when it opens, but it's yet to translate to Albury.
Albury Townhouse owners Trish and Kevin Gordon said they had averaged between 10 to 15 per cent occupancy for their 21-room motel on Wilson Street since the NSW border first closed in July.
"We're probably averaging two to three rooms a day and you need four rooms a night just to pay the rent," Mr Gordon said.
"First of all we missed Easter, October is normally our best month of the year and it's gone and now we've got to wait for January.
"Most people think it won't pick up until school holidays and Christmas.
"There's definitely some bookings, but we expected a lot more. Maybe people are waiting until it gets closer."
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The motel has already lost its biggest week for 2021 with the cancellation of the Australian Country Junior Basketball Cup in January for the first time in its 35-year history.
It's a similar story for co-owner of Kiewa Street's Meramie Motor Inn Linda Powell, who has had bookings come in, only for many to cancel.
"A full motel for seven nights (for the basketball) is pretty good for the finances," Ms Powell said.
"Even Easter, we were full and it's all been cancelled and they're still not coming.
"At this stage we've only got half a dozen rooms out of the 29 rooms booked for Sunday night.
"We've pretty much been between one and half-a-dozen for ages and we've had none some days as well.
"Christmas we've got eight to 10 rooms a day, but we're usually chockers at that time."
According to the 2019 Albury Wodonga Visitor Economy Trends document, the Country Cup basketball tournament had an economic impact of $5.2 million.
"We normally don't have many basketballers here, but because so many teams come to town, they book out a lot of other motels and we take up all the overflow," Winsor Park Motor Inn owner Peter Jasko said.
"We all end up being busy for that whole period.
"The Margaret Court Cup (tennis tournament) is the week before as well and that's normally the saving grace in January for a lot of Albury because there really isn't a lot of other events on."
The majority of traffic for Mr Jasko's Young Street business is between Sydney and Melbourne, but he's been hamstrung by the closure.
"The advantage they've got on the Victorian side at the moment is people are free to move around," he said.
"It's easier for them to drive three hours from Melbourne to spend the day or weekend up here, or even the business reps because they can't come over the border.
"No-one is going to drive six hours from Sydney to spend a weekend, it's just that little bit too far."
Craig Wakley, at Hume Country Motor Inn, is out of the Albury CBD on Logan Road and needs a big school holiday period to get back on track.
"At the moment, late November into Christmas is looking really good and I hope it continues into the new year," he said.
"We're very different from a lot of motels. The private motels around town are 99 per cent queen and twin rooms, where as we have four spa rooms and seven different configurations of family rooms.
"We make all our money through school holidays because we have families staying in there."
Mr Wakley said he would need to have an average of seven rooms booked per night to cover costs.
Chryslers on the Murray at Wodonga's Gateway Lakes, which attracted a record 931 entries and welcomed around 6500 spectators in March, snuck in before the first COVID lockdown.
Moteliers are sweating on the event going ahead in 2021, with a final decision yet to be made by organisers.