A new campaign encouraging people to plan future visits to the region is giving motel owners hope for the future.
The Bendigo Motel Association launched its "Buy Now, Stay Later" Bendigo experience package on Sunday featuring a three-day, two-night stay that includes regionally-flavoured experiences.
Julie-Anna Inn owner Kristyn Slattery said with bookings down for the region's motels, the campaign allows visitors to book something they can look forward to when restrictions ease enough for travel.
"The idea behind it is to give us hope and light," she said. "I think we all had our fingers crossed (the pandemic) wouldn't last as long as has. Hopefully travel will resume and people will be confident enough to do so. Motels will be held to COVID-safe practices.
"But when (travel), who knows? I don't think it will get back up to the levels motel owners are usually at. It will be a slow return."
Ms Slattery said there had been almost no bookings for many motels for months.
"We're back with zeroes and ones in terms of rooms booked per night," she said. "The reasons to leave home include work but there is not the same number of corporate (customers) on the road, which is affecting a lot of motels around town.
"With the (road map) released yesterday, there are a lot of different steps (tom come). Being ahead of Melbourne is fantastic but we rely on corporate and leisure business from Melbourne, so it will take a while to build occupancy levels."
Local businesses have rallied behind the campaign to help produce the Bendigo Motels Association campaign.
"It has taken a lot of behind-the-scenes work with support from local businesses and tourism to pull it together," Ms Slattery said. "We're really hoping the locals get behind us and maybe choose a staycation or consider it a gift idea for someone in Melbourne."
The package allows visitors to curate their own Bendigo experience including local food and wine tastings, entry to a Bendigo tourist attraction and a $50 voucher for a future stay.
The two-night package can be booked for $350. For more visit https://offers.bendigoregion.com.au/buy-now-stay-later