WANDERERS have confirmed there will be changes to the online ticketing system next season.

Chief executive Neil Hart has announced a new “Virtual Venue” feature which will allow supporters to move around a 3D version of the stadium to pick their seat and see the respective view of the pitch.

His comments come after criticism of the system early last week when tickets went on sale for the play-off semi-final first and second legs against Barnsley.

Season ticket holders will be able to secure their seat at Wembley from noon today – with office staff expecting another deluge of requests once they go online.

Writing in the matchday programme, Hart said he sympathised with supporters who did not get a seat at Oakwell for the first leg. Just 2,163 supporters were able to see Ian Evatt’s side win 3-1 but the number of seats on offer was set by the Tykes.

He said: “The allocation we were granted for the away leg was outside of our control - this is a number dictated by the away club and one we then chose to replicate for the second leg here at the Toughsheet."

"The 2,163 tickets sold out in minutes, as has happened on other occasions over the course of the season.

“We understand this is a frustration for some supporters but with 16,500 season ticket holders and more than 10,000 supporters attempting to log on at the same time to snap up a ticket, there simply were not enough tickets on offer for all those hoping to attend."

Wanderers have offered an ‘away season ticket’ in recent years which guarantees the first crack at away allocations – which left the number of tickets realistically available to regular season ticket holders even lower.

Hart has held discussions with fans groups, such as the Bolton Wanderers Supporters’ Trust, with a view to establishing a points system which could be used to prioritise in the future fans who have attended regular games away from home.

But the CEO says the feedback he has had so far suggests the scheme would not be popular.

He said: "I'd like to place on record, as a club, we are open to establishing a priority points scheme for away fixtures that we can implement when the rare occasions warrants it. However, following multiple discussions with the Bolton Wanderers Supporters Trust and other supporter groups, we have been discouraged by them from pursuing this route.

"The demand for away tickets at the level we saw last week is not the norm and occurs only a handful of times over the course of a season."

"As an example, we did not sell out of our allocation when we played Peterborough away on Saturday, April 27, and had to return more than 500 tickets to Peterborough.

"In addition, were we to move into a higher league we would receive higher ticket allocations due to the bigger stadiums, and as a result we simply wouldn't be encountering the same issues."

A big crowd of 24,518 watched Wanderers edge past Barnsley to secure their place in the play-off final – but issues arose when home tickets for the second leg went on sale last week, with large queues snaking out of the club shop and into Middlebrook.

Many reported issues with linked accounts which could not be solved online but the problems appeared to calm down after the first day of sales, which also saw the club extend their deadline for season ticket holders to secure their seat.

Logistically, it was a tight turnaround for staff in the ticket office and the weight of online traffic after lines opened at 10am was immense, but Hart accepted that a technical error made it difficult for some fans to complete their transaction.

He said: "On launching the tickets last week we set a period of 24 hours for the season ticket holders to secure their current seat for the game. Overnight, close to 10,000 supporters purchased their tickets online without an issue."

"However, in the spirit of transparency, due to an aspect of the online system not allowing supporters to upgrade junior tickets to adult tickets, we did experience a surge of supporters heading down to the stadium or attempting to purchase via the phone lines."

"As a reminder, we have 16,500 season ticket holders and we had just a week's notice to turn the two games around. The ticket office staff have worked tirelessly to process the demand and, within the first 24 hours of sales for the home leg, successfully processed 16,000 home supporter ticket sales.

"We know some supporters had challenges purchasing their tickets but following the extension of the deadline, we are pleased all supporters managed to secure their seats."

Announcing the potential changes this summer, Hart hopes to bring Wanderers’ online system up to standard with some of the top teams in the land.

He added: "We continue to work closely with Ticketmaster and we have exciting plans in place to improve the online user experience for supporters over the summer. This includes the introduction of a ‘Virtual Venue’ to the online site which allows fans to move around a virtual version of the stadium to select their seat.

"The technology, along with the successful trial of the ticket exchange, will bring us in line with Premier League clubs like Tottenham and Arsenal."